March 6, 2012

When considering the most important areas of their lives, men and woman age 65 and older consistently rank relationships with friends and family second only to health. Keeping your loved one active and socially engaged is important to his or her mental, physical and emotional health.

But with declining physical abilities and the resulting drop in confidence, your loved one likely feels less motivated to get out and get social. Here are some ways to keep your loved one engaged, at this time in his or her life when isolation poses greater risk:

1. Senior center – Check a local senior center for events and activities that would interest your loved one. If you aren’t aware of any centers, do a quick search online – you may be surprised to find that there is one around you. Most senior centers provide transportation and lunch for low (or no) cost.

2. Video chat – We’re lucky, in this age of technology, to have so many methods of communication available. Talk to your loved one about using Skype, or some other form of video chat, via computer. Introducing him or her to the latest technologies not only opens up new forms of communication, but also shows your loved one that you care enough to bring him or her into your world on a regular basis. It’s very likely that your loved one’s confidence will also be enhanced by mastering this “techy” tool!

3. Simple visits – You have a busy life with your own obligations and responsibilities, but it’s very important to find time to visit your loved one. If you have children, bring them along. One of the most exciting things for an elderly person is a visit from the grandchildren. Not only does it make them feel loved, but it makes them feel young! Of course, if in-person visits are not possible, the next best things are phone calls and/or video chats.