Staying mentally fit and engaged can be challenging at any age. For the elderly, it can be especially difficult to stay active and motivated. Think about it, contemporaries and loved ones are starting to pass away and old age is having its effect on being able to move about easily and even to drive. This can be a particularly hard time if the person is living alone.
Feeling lonely and isolated can have a very negative impact on a person’s health, both mentally and physically. We have all had those moments where we have felt the pain and dread of being so alone. Family and friends visits can help, but they are often a perfunctory visit, or one done because the relative feels obligated. There can also be time constraints with work and other activities, or distance that makes frequent visits from family difficult.
There are some things that can be done to encourage continued social engagement and activities to help an elderly person stay active and interested.
- Trips to a Senior Center or Elder Day Care can give the person a chance to participate in organized activities and associate with peers.
- Having a Social Companion come in a few times a week. These warm hearted caregivers can help with errands, play games, or assist with routine home activities. Often someone who provides Social Companionship is younger, so it can be a more interesting.
- Encourage them to volunteer. Some local hospitals look for volunteer grandparents for sick children. Or maybe helping out at a soup kitchen or charitable organization is more interesting.
- Learn a new craft, language, or skill. Learning more about computers, or taking their lifelong interest in woodworking to the next level, can keep their mind sharp.
Companionship is so important to all humans of any age, and especially for those approaching their later years. Studies have shown that companionship keeps the mind sharp, boosts immunity, and helps physical strength and agility. It is an important aspect of life, and one we should share with each other while we can.
“The delight of opening a new pursuit, or a new course of reading, imparts the vivacity and novelty of youth even to old age.” – Isaac D’Israeli