Holidays can bring on feelings of isolation in seniors

ACTi-KARE Responsive In-Home Care is a locally owned company that specializes in providing professional and highly individualized non-medical services to help seniors maintain their independence and dignity while still receiving the assistance they require.  As we rapidly approach the Christmas holidays, we need to be acutely aware that while this is a joyous season, it is also a time when many people including seniors, feel isolated and alone. 

It is important, as family and friends, that we watch for signs of feelings of isolation and depression.  The following thoughts and ideas will help us to take better care of seniors, both family and friends.

Defeating Isolation
There are many reasons for the elderly person to feel isolated.  Isolation can occur because of the person’s geographical location or because of feeling detached from family and friends. Isolation can cause exaggerated reactions to pain and illness, suicidal thoughts and diminish the ability to adapt to life’s changes.

Personal factors
Elderly people living on a fixed income may avoid social activities because they want to minimize their living expenses. Elders who are introverted by nature may not have any interest in joining activities.

Family
Families are often separated by distance and because of that cannot always be available to visit. Adult children get busy with their day to day lives and contact decreases.

Environmental
If the elder has moved to assisted living, senior housing or a residential care home, this may reduce the contact with family, friends and neighbors.

Health
Parkinson’s disease, joint disease, stroke or other illnesses that impair mobility, can result in the elder not being able to attend social events or travel to visit friends and relatives. This can result in social isolation and can lead to depression.

Solutions
Keep in touch with relatives and families. Many people communicate via the computer. This is a great way to stay connected.  But while computers are good to use, there is nothing like a telephone call or a visit.  All of us, seniors included, want to interact with friends and family, and the need for this interaction is often stronger during the holiday season.  

Join social activities and visit the local senior center. In addition to social activities, some senior centers have meals and health checks. Though initially it may be uncomfortable, this is simply a period of adaptation when meeting new friends.

Self help groups can help the elder reduce their feeling of anxiety and loneliness. Sharing similar experiences and learning stress management techniques can help reduce the pressures that arise from changes in life.

Hiring an in-home care service can help with the following:
• Transportation to appointments, meetings, lectures, classes, bingo, worship services
• Planning for outings & visits
• Morning wake-up calls & evening bedtimes
• Assistance with walking & mobility
• Mail letters, correspondence, & bill paying
• Crafts & hobbies
• Gardening
• Grocery list preparation & shopping

ACTi-KARE Responsive In-Home Care can help seniors of all ages with the issues of loneliness, isolation and depression.  Our caregivers are trained to deal with these situations and are all involved in this industry because they have a real love for seniors.  Our caregivers are often the bridges between the family and their senior.  When you can’t be with your loved one, we can.  For more information about ACTi-KARE Responsive In-Home Care, please visit our web site at  HYPERLINK “http://www.actikare.com” www.actikare.com, or call and speak to Paul or Heidi Williams at our Fayetteville location, 770-461-7881.  

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