According to mental health professionals, a record number of seniors are experiencing loneliness, depression, and anxiety. When seniors don’t get the social interaction that all people need in order to stay happy and healthy, their mental health can really suffer. But it’s not realistic to expect that their children are going to be able to always provide the social connections that seniors need. Having a social safety net of people who can step in and be there for your senior loved one when you can’t is essential to their mental health. A few good ways to do that are:
Bring in Elder Care
A great option for the kind of regular social interaction that seniors need is elder care. When your senior loved one has elder care a provider will come to the house on a set schedule to help your senior parent around the house, talk with them, share meals with them, and more. That’s exactly the kind of routine social interaction that seniors need. And if you can’t visit your senior parent more than once or twice a week because you work or have children or have other responsibilities you can supplement your visits with elder care.
Reach Out To Neighbors
Neighbors can be another good piece of the social safety net for seniors. If your senior loved one is aging in place in the family home there’s a good chance you know some of the neighbors already. Check in with them to see if your senior parent can call them for a chat or if they need something. Offer to be the same point of contact for them if they need it. Then create a list with all the phone numbers for the numbers in large print and put it next to the phone so that your senior loved one or an elder care provider can reach out to the neighbors if they need to.
Enlist Other Family Members
Your siblings or cousins may live too far way to help with the daily care of your senior parent but that doesn’t mean that they can’t provide some social support from wherever they are. Set up a phone schedule so that your senior loved one is getting regular or even daily calls from a different member of the family each time. Checking in with your senior loved one on a regular basis will make them feel cared for.
Encourage Your Senior Parent To Get Professional Help
Getting senior parents to open up to a professional is tough because many of them were taught growing up that they shouldn’t talk to therapists or counselors. But professional psychiatrists and counselors can really help seniors as they struggle to find purpose when they retire and start to get older. Talk to your senior parent and strongly encourage them to get some professional help to help manage any symptoms of depression or anxiety.