Loneliness in seniors can contribute to a number of health issues – especially during times of social isolation. For seniors who live alone, have mobility challenges or need to practice social distancing due to illness or other health issues, loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety. Here are five ways to help combat senior loneliness.
1. Try something new
As people get older, daily routines can provide stability. But seniors can also experience boredom if their routines become too monotonous. By creating new routines, seniors can acquire an appreciation for new hobbies or advance skills they already have. Trying something new, whether it’s playing a new instrument, taking up crossword puzzles, flower arranging or attending an online book club, seniors can break out of the routine-ruts that may be adding to their loneliness.
2. Connect with family and friends
More seniors are becoming familiar with services like Skype, Facetime and Zoom. After a little effort familiarizing themselves with the platforms, most seniors navigate the systems with relative ease. Through these virtual services, seniors can have real-time access to family and friends, which can maintain a crucial connection to the outside world –– especially for seniors who are housebound. Another benefit of virtual meetings is that seniors can connect to family and friends almost anywhere in the world.
3. Take an online class
Online schools can keep a senior’s mind sharp and introduce them to new people. Classes often have team projects and lectures in a virtual environment, which may help even the most introverted seniors socially interact with others. More importantly, most schools offer free online classes to seniors, so there is very little risk of overspending on courses.
4. Become mindful through meditation
Getting centered through mindfulness is a technique that many people are using to focus their minds and bodies. For seniors, it’s an effective way to manage stress and depression. Meditation can actually help change the way the brain responds to stress, anxiety and depression. It can also be done anywhere, at any time.
Seniors who are intimidated by meditating solo can purchase DVDs, download apps or find guided meditation websites for free sessions.
5. Get physical
Exercise can sharpen the mind as well as the body, so it’s essential to stay active – even while doing it indoors. Many online workout videos offer tutorials to seniors of all activity levels, and most require little-to-no equipment to join along. Chair exercises or stretches can be low impact ways for sedentary seniors to get moving more.
And seniors who want a workout buddy can have a virtual workout session with a fitness friend. This is a great way to keep connected while getting or staying healthy.