8 Ways to tell if your family member is feeling lonely or isolated

July 27th, 2017 No Comments

Lonely womanLoneliness and Isolation Pose Serious Health Threats to Seniors

Family get-togethers are perfect times to take note of your older family members’ behaviors that signal isolation or loneliness. Is your older parent or other older loved one struggling with loneliness or isolation?

How to tell if your family member is feeling lonely or isolated:

  • 1. Your family member experienced a loss of a family member or close friend recently, either by death or by relocation
  • 2. Your family member often complains that they don’t have any friends, that they miss a deceased friend or spouse, that they never go anywhere, that they have no one to talk to, etc.
  • 3. Your family member consistently shows signs of depression, such as being irritable, not sleeping, not having an appetite, not doing things they used to enjoy, etc.
  • 4. Your family member doesn’t eat well, or doesn’t eat enough
  • 5. Your family member’s personality has changed; for example, your normally social mother is now quiet and withdrawn; your normally quiet aunt is now emotional and tearful
  • 6. Your family member now gets upset when it’s time to end a visit; they may hug people longer than usual, or shake hands longer than normal
  • 7. Your family member experiences health problems and pains that physicians cannot explain; it may be a subconscious way of getting attention, or it may be a physical response to being lonely
  • 8. Your family member has started having trouble doing regular daily tasks, or has trouble with financial tasks

How to help seniors beat loneliness:

  • 1. Get them to laugh. Watch a TV show or movie that makes them laugh, tell some jokes, share funny stories…laughter will improve their mood
  • 2. Get them moving. Walking or other physical activity for about 30 minutes a day is ideal
  • 3. Introduce them to new people. Talking with someone new is a good way to make connections; it benefits the other person, as well
  • 4. Encourage them to volunteer. Create a list of ideas/places they may like to volunteer; this will give a sense of purpose
  • 5. Persuade them to learn something new. Your local parks & recreation department or community college may offer classes such as tai chi, financial, cooking, etc.

While loneliness can create serious health conditions for older people, it’s a very treatable condition with some mutual effort and encouragement.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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