Loneliness is a common problem and it can have serious consequences for both physical and mental health in people over 65. Studies have shown that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, as well as a higher risk of developing conditions such as dementia and depression.
There are several reasons why elderly people may feel lonely. For many, the loss of a spouse or close friends can be a major cause of loneliness. Physical mobility issues and a lack of access to transportation can also make it difficult for older people to socialize and engage with others.
So, what can be done to help elderly people overcome loneliness and maintain a sense of connection and purpose? Here are a few suggestions:
- Encourage socialization: Encourage the elderly person to participate in social activities, such as joining a club or attending community events. This can help them meet new people and build relationships. The Meals on Wheels Central Coast Community Restaurant is a great way to connect with other people over a meal and some fun. To find out more, check out the Community Restaurant page on our website!
- Promote independence: Help the elderly person maintain as much independence as possible. This may involve assisting with tasks such as grocery shopping or running errands, but it’s important to also encourage them to do things on their own whenever possible. This is a core value of Meals on Wheels Central Coast! We want all of our clients to remain as independent as possible, which is why our range of meals enables them to do just that. Select from great options like Butter Chicken, Lamb Roast, Rissoles and so much more! Check out our full menu here.
- Use technology: Technology can be a great way for elderly people to stay connected with others, even if they are unable to leave the house. Consider setting them up with a smartphone or tablet and helping them use social media or video chat to stay in touch with loved ones. We love connecting through technology with our clients and volunteers and feel it’s a valuable way to keep in touch. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to connect with us!
- Offer companionship: If the elderly person lives alone, consider spending time with them on a regular basis. This could be as simple as stopping by for a visit or going for a walk together. This is a core part of what sets Meals one Wheels Central Coast apart from many other food delivery services. Our volunteers don’t just drop the delivery and run, often they will come inside, have a little chat, even unload the order into the freezer for you. By doing it this way, we also act as a connection point for family, friends or carers. Our volunteers enable us to do what we do, if you would like to know more about volunteering with us, then click here!
- Seek professional help: If the elderly person is struggling with loneliness and is unable to find ways to connect with others, it may be helpful to seek the help of a mental health professional. A therapist can help the person identify the underlying causes of their loneliness and develop strategies for overcoming it. There are a range of services we recommend reaching out to if you or a loved one is in need of professional help, you might find some of these links helpful.
Loneliness is a serious issue for many elderly people, but it’s important to remember that there are steps that can be taken to help them overcome it. Encouraging socialization, promoting independence, using technology, offering companionship, and seeking professional help can all be effective ways to help elderly people maintain a sense of connection and purpose.
To find out more about how Meals on Wheels Central Coast can help you find independence through nutritional meals and social activities, reach out to us here.