Aging and Socialization
My elderly parents were fortunate to have local friends and neighbors who frequently stopped by their house. These visits may have been short. But hugely beneficial to see another friend, hear another voice.
Unfortunately, many elders are much more isolated. They don’t have local friends. And, they may be housebound.
Most older adults have a decided preference…and that would be to remain in their homes as they age. But social isolation affects as many as one-third to one-half of our aging parents. Elderly remaining in their homes may be particularly vulnerable. Indeed, to a significant extent, our ability to keep older adults at home—to allow the aging in place that most seniors prefer—may depend to some degree on our ability to accurately assess – on an individualized basis – an elder’s degree of social engagement and risk for social isolation.
Many seniors may have strong family relations. But not all family is local, nor has the time to provide frequent visits. Services such as home care, where staff is available through a local home care agency, can help fill the void with scheduled hours for personalized assistance.
If practical and possible, it is important for seniors, or family members, to look in to other resources for “senior socialization”. Group social activities have been found to be very effective in alleviating social isolation. Enroll in a local art/bird/photography class? Join a club. Organize a weekly lunch group, or card playing foursome. Volunteer at church or other local organizations. Visit with peers at a senior center or adult day care center.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164