Loneliness: How to Care for Ageing Parents
Loneliness can profoundly impact the health and state of mind of older people. Sometimes it can be due to the death of a spouse or a close friend, or it could be that they just don’t have enough of the meaningful social contact they need every day.
If you think that your elderly parent or loved one is suffering from loneliness, then it’s important to take action sooner rather than later. The misery and depression that result from prolonged periods of loneliness can have a profound impact on your loved one’s mental, physical and emotional health.
Experts even believe that over time this can exacerbate the symptoms of dementia, so it’s key to tackle the subject, no matter how much your loved one may insist that they are alright.
Some older people get a reputation for being cranky, but this could be because they don’t want to admit vulnerability and it’s important not to be discouraged by a curmudgeonly attitude. There are a number of things that you and your family can do to combat the situation, so try some of the following ideas.
Your loved one may not be able to drive - or if they can, and still have a licence, they may be fearful of taking to the roads as they age. There is a huge volume of traffic now compared to 20 or 30 years ago, and older people can be put off getting in the car as their reaction times slow down.
Regular visits give your loved one something to look forward to. You could plan days out with other family members, perhaps to go shopping, visit an interesting place or simply to get some fresh air. Even just dropping by for a cup of tea and a chat can help to break up a lonely day.
Research shows that older people who expose themselves to new stimuli retain more of their faculties, and for longer. It can be helpful to encourage grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together, as both generations can learn so much from each other.
A good bonding exercise is for grandchildren to help their grandparents with computers, enabling them to communicate via a shared interest and activity.
If You Can’t Visit, Talk Often
There are many ways to stay in regular contact with your loved one, even if you live on another continent. Digital technology offers options for talking over the internet, and mobile technology means that you can chat or text from just about anywhere in the world.
Hearing another voice in a day can have an uplifting effect for a lonely older person, so pick up the phone regularly, and encourage other family members to do the same.
Employ a Companion
An excellent option for loved ones who need daily assistance such as Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia care is to employ a live-in carer. A reputable provider can carefully match your loved one’s requirements with a dedicated caregiver who will provide assistance around the clock.
This could include personal care and help with cooking, grooming and personal hygiene, shopping and outings - the benefit to your loved one is that they retain a sense of independent living while benefitting from 24/7 care. The constant companionship keeps loneliness at bay, and a warm and respectful friendship can often develop on both sides.
There are plenty of private care companies who can provide assistance with high-quality elderly care. Home care can be arranged for as many, or as few, hours a day or week as you and your relative wish.
Home care packages can be designed to suit a care recipient’s exact needs, and don’t have to involve personalised live-in care, although it is always a useful option.
Dulcie’s care story
Duclie is one of our longest serving customers. In this video her and her family talk through their decision to arrange care in the home rather than the care home.
Join Local Clubs and Societies
There are events up and down the country that cater for the older person in need of social interaction. Encourage your loved one to get involved with local charities, societies and clubs that fit in with their interests.
Getting out and about and interacting with others is an excellent way of making new friends and helping to stop loneliness.
If your loved one is reluctant, offer to accompany them at first while they get to know the people. Or perhaps surprise your loved one with a trip to a place or event in which they have previously expressed interest.
When loneliness sets in, the older person can seem to lose interest in former hobbies and pastimes. If your mother used to knit or crochet when she was younger, then ask her to teach you now. Passing on a skill helps to foster self-respect in the older person, particularly when the process of ageing has turned the parent-child relationship on its head.
Whether painting, photography or line dancing, there are opportunities available to indulge a hobby or pastime across all sorts of platforms. You could even encourage your loved one to learn a new skill. Constant learning is a valuable tool in keeping mental faculties alert. If you find you’re short on time, it might be worthwhile considering dedicated quality home care for your loved one.
Keeping Seniors Active: How to Care for Ageing Parents
As people age, it’s inevitable that they begin to slow down, but this shouldn’t mean they cease to be active. Keeping fit and healthy in old age is important, for both physical health and emotional wellbeing, and finding ways to keep your loved ones active is a positive step in caring for them. Staying active can help preserve a sense of independence too, as well as helping to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression or dementia - all conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Preventing Falls: How to Care for Ageing Parents
With the majority of people wanting to live at home for as long as possible, the best way to care for your ageing parents is to ensure that their home is as safe as possible, with the aim of preventing any falls from occurring. Falls can also happen outside the home, especially in winter, so it is important to consider all the areas that you can have some positive influence over.
Care for the Elderly: Grooming and Hygiene Guide
Maintaining good personal hygiene is important as your loved one ages, but it is not always easy to intervene if you feel they are not coping well. Poor hygiene can result in uncomfortable infections and skin complaints, so to avoid this, you or your loved one’s caregiver may have to encourage them tactfully to accept some assistance. They may be more willing to agree to the support on offer if they realise that it will enable them to retain a level of independent living.
Live-in Care: The Questions You Need to Ask
If you are considering live-in elderly care for looking after a loved one, you will want to carry out some research before to help you make an informed decision on the best care solution that suits your specific needs. Here are a few of the questions you should ask when selecting a qualified care provider.
Staying in Their Home: How to Care for Ageing Parents
Independent living is important to many people as they grow older, and most say they want to remain in their own home, even when they need help to manage their day-to-day tasks. There are many ways of supporting your elderly parents to stay in their familiar surroundings, from providing extra equipment to arranging 24/7 care.