Loneliness and isolation are common problems among aging parents. They usually experience this because of circumstances in life, such as their children moving out and starting lives of their own. Sometimes, they also find themselves in melancholy as their friends pass away. Social isolation, while involuntary, happens to aging parents because of mobility issues, health problems, and other impairments.
According to a study by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), 59% of older adults’ mental and physical health are at risk because of loneliness. This is because their loneliness causes them to lose motivation to live their lives and enjoy their days. Physically, loneliness triggers the production of more stress hormones, and it is seen to have a relation with Alzheimer’s disease.
As their child, it is your responsibility to care for their overall health. Little gestures can help them feel a little less lonely. Here a few ways to help them feel like they’re not alone:
Reach out to them
Whichever part you are of the world, technology has given us ways to keep in touch with the people we love. A simple 15-minute call to your parents can already brighten their day.
If you don’t know where or how to start, just think about it like you’re giving them updates about your life. Reaching out is a process, and it can be overcome. Start small. Ask them how they are. Maybe they picked up a new hobby or made a new friend.
A phone call will make them feel like you still think about them, and they still matter to you.
Help them adopt a pet
A pet provides companionship and love as well as mental health benefits. According to a survey, 75% of pet owners think that a pet has significantly improved the mental health of a friend or a family member. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “pets and therapy animals can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation.” Owning a pet reduces the production of stress hormones while increases happy hormones. If your aging parent is looking for a constant companion, a dog or a cat may be the way to go.
Let them stay near you
Even though parents need companionship, you still need to value their independence–if their health still permits them. However, moving them to a house that is near and more accessible to you can help them cope with loneliness.
First, they can easily come to you for help if they need it. Second, you can visit them more frequently to check on their health and needs.
You can build a tiny house within your vicinity. It’s like living with your parents, but not really because you live in a different house. There are granny flat kits in Melbourne that can help you carry out this idea.
Parents have devoted a huge chunk of their lives to taking care of their children. At one point, the roles will reverse. Despite busy schedules, we can make time for them to help them get through their days. A simple phone call or a kind gesture can make them feel loved and significant.