As we age, many factors can inhibit seniors from maintaining social networks. Becoming home-bound, difficulty with transportation and fear of falls can prevent seniors from attending social events which may contribute to isolation, depression and loneliness. A study published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal found that seniors that engage in social activities in their aging years report less depression and an improved overall sense of health. It is important that caregivers support all aspects of senior health – including socialization. Some ways that caregivers can support seniors maintaining connection as they age include:
Assisting seniors with technology. Seniors can maintain connection with family living far away through video-chat, instant messaging or phone calls. Helping seniors use technology to stay in touch is an important part of supporting family connection.
Provide safe transportation. The inability to drive to social events reduces senior’s ability to maintain friendships or develop new friendships. Ensuring that seniors have the transportation they need to maintain safety, such as wheelchair friendly vehicles, can help seniors feel confident and safe to attend events.
Be involved in your local senior center. Senior centers have a variety of events that are wonderful ways for seniors to connect and explore new interests. Senior centers are typically able to accommodate a variety of accessibility needs so that everyone can attend and enjoy the fun.