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Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home

by Richard Bitner
Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home

Do you have an aging parent or grandparent who rarely leaves the house? If so, you may be worried about the emotional, mental, and physical toll that social isolation is taking on him or her. Social activity has a range of benefits for seniors, and seniors who isolate themselves often suffer from their lack of social interactions. Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home
According to data by the NIH, seniors who have social interactions more frequently are consistently healthier than more isolated seniors. Other studies have backed up these findings. Studies of highly social senior communities show that seniors who live in these communities are more mobile and more likely to practice healthy behaviors. Meanwhile, further studies have shown that social activity slows cognitive decline and lowers the risk of developing disabilities.
With so many benefits tied to social interactions for seniors, it is important to encourage social activity in the elderly. Looking for ways to get a senior loved one out of the home? Here are some suggestions and strategies you can try, with advice from Visiting Angels President and CEO Larry Meigs:

Going Out for Lunch

One way to get a senior loved one out of the house is a weekly lunch date. You could suggest organizing a regular lunch date between your loved one and their friends. If your loved one’s friends can’t make a weekly commitment, you can take the initiative of taking your loved one out for lunch yourself each week. Or you can organize taking turns with family members.
“While it might seem like a small thing, a weekly meal with friends or family at the local coffee shop can be enriching seniors — especially for those who rarely leave their homes,” says Meigs. “Being out of the house and around other people helps relieve feelings of isolation, and the weekly routine of a meal and a chat can become a valuable touchstone for isolated seniors.”

Senior Exercise Classes

Senior exercise classes are more than just a great way to get seniors out of the house, offering a range of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. “Light exercise is key for seniors, and senior exercise classes are a great way to keep seniors active,” says Meigs.
Popular senior exercise programs include dance classes and water fitness. In addition to the exercise benefits offered, these classes are a fantastic place for seniors to meet other seniors. “These classes are an excellent social hub for the elderly because they’re specifically targeted at seniors,” says Meigs.

Game Nights & Events

“Many times, your local community center is your best ally in getting an elderly loved one socially active,” says Meigs. These centers often host game nights, like bingo games, which are a great way for an isolated senior to spend time among others. These centers also sometimes host special events that are put on for elderly community members, such as dances, dinners, and speaking series. Centers sometimes even schedule day trips or short group vacations for senior community members.

Bring Social Interactions Home

Often seniors who find themselves cut off socially aren’t isolated by choice. “Many of the seniors we care for at Visiting Angels are housebound as a result of disability or age related challenges,” says Meigs. “In cases where seniors can’t leave the home, social interactions need to be brought to them.”
If you help care for a housebound loved one, there are a number of ways that you can encourage social activity. Speak with other members of your family about visiting your loved one more frequently, or contact your loved one’s friends to have them come over once a week.
Alternatively, you may might consider care from a local home care agency. Home care services, such as those offered by Visiting Angels, offer a way to bring daily companionship into an elderly loved one’s life, along with support for activities of daily living. For a free in-home care consultation, contact your local Visiting Angels office.

Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home

Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home Getting a Senior Loved One Out of the Home

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