What can you do when you see the loneliness in your loved ones’ eyes? Loneliness is not just the state of being alone, but feeling sad that you’re alone.
For those who have loved ones that are elderly and alone, whether parents or grandparents, please consider the type of social life they had while they were younger. Were they active in their church or community? Did they play bridge or bingo? Making these activities possible again may make all the difference to your loved ones, and may give them a new lease on life.
Unfortunately, many seniors have limited or no access to transportation, so it is challenging to have a healthy and full social life. Many times seniors continue to live alone in the house they shared with a spouse or children and are faced with memories of happier times on a regular basis. While some may find such memories soothing, others may feel more alone than ever.
You may also want to help your loved ones to communicate via social media. Email, Skype, and Facebook are all wonderful ways to stay in touch and be able to share your life and experiences, across the miles.
If your family member has a difficult time being alone, consider moving them to an independent living community, where they can have interaction with other people in their age group, and opportunities to make new friends. Most independent living communities have activity centers for residents and offer workshops or classes, as well as exercise opportunities.
Encourage your loved one to join a club with others who share a hobby. A book club, a chess club, and kind of club at all will provide activities and companionship. Once they make connections with like-minded people, encourage those relationships.
Making time for relationships is important. At the end of our days, when we stop to reflect on our lives, the most cherished memories will be those spent with loved ones. It’s easy to lose track of time and forget to call grandma or to get so busy at work or school that staying in touch falls to the bottom of the priority list. However, every phone call and every visit is meaningful to your loved ones and will be the highlight of their day. If your own calendar is full, maybe you can arrange a schedule with other family members to ensure that your loved one gets a visit every single weekend. It will make a world of difference. And isn’t that how you will want to be treated when you get to that age?