5 Ways to Deal with Senior Loneliness

Senior loneliness is a very real and serious issue. Especially over the winter months and during the COVID-19 pandemic when isolating at home is safer than traveling, seeing loved ones, or even going to the grocery store. Here is some helpful advice from the team at our independent living community, Bristol Glen, on how to manage senior loneliness and why it truly matters to us.

How to manage senior loneliness

#1 – Introduce new, social hobbies. Whether they bring back an old hobby or develop a new skill, hobbies bring a sense of purpose and enjoyment into life. They keep people busy and help to form strong social connections that fight off loneliness. There are endless hobbies available to seniors of all abilities, from knitting and crocheting to yoga, tai chi, and dancing.

#2 – Passing on skills. Seniors have rich histories filled with successful careers and useful skills that can be passed onto younger generations. Mentoring programs (even ones online) are a great way to share that knowledge, feel a sense of purpose, and take part in the community. Teaching is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It will reinforce a senior’s sense of worth in the community, while passing on skills to people who actually want to learn them.

#3 – Light therapy. The winter months, especially after the holidays, can get anybody down! With dark, short days, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can easily make you feel tired, unmotivated, unenergetic, and sad. It’s an easy disorder to treat – all they need is a little bit of light therapy! Going into the sunlight for as little as 20 minutes a day boosts serotonin (the happiness hormone) and increases Vitamin D production, which is important for bone and general health. It’s a bit cold outside for older adults at the moment, but sitting in a sunny spot indoors has the same effect. You can also get a SAD light that has a special lightbulb that emits the same light as gentle rays.

#4 – Adopting a pet. If your senior loved one is fairly fit and mobile, adopting a pet is a fantastic option. There are so many benefits apart from companionship. Seniors with pets have healthier blood pressure levels and pulse rates, report 21% fewer trips to the doctor, suffer less with depression and are more motivated to live healthier lives for their fur babies. Pets are also a great way to meet people, and to help someone through the loss of a loved one.

#5 – Creating a Support Network. Creating a network of family, friends, and neighbors will help keep your loved one to be an active part of your social group. Everyone has busy lives these days, but having a support network will help everyone stay connected more easily. Great ideas include a daily check-in call or text from a neighbor, nearby family member or friend, and weekly family video meetings to catch up on the latest news in everyone’s life. 

As a senior living community, we know the importance of connection and take steps to manage senior loneliness. It’s one of the reasons why the social aspect of a senior community is every bit as important as the medical aspect. Here at Bristol Glen, we do everything possible for seniors to live a life that enhances them – mind, body, and soul. 

For more information on our senior care services in Bristol Glen, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/assisted-living-sussex-county-nj/