Everyone needs a little “me time” now and then, the opportunity to be alone, enjoy some peace and quiet and relax. But what happens if that solitary time stretches on for days, weeks, or even months? As much as we might long for alone time when our lives are hectic and fast-paced, for older adults, social isolation can be an upsetting and all too common, part of life. Our experts in marketing for home care agencies recommend emphasizing how your services can address and alleviate this problem.
Many older adults have lost a spouse, live alone, or live at a distance from their children and other family members. Others are homebound because of injury or illness, or are unable to drive to visit friends and family.
Social isolation is linked to serious health issues, such as heart disease, cognitive decline, institutionalization, stroke, re-hospitalization, depression, and increased risk of suicide. It has even been linked to faster tumor growth in cancer patients. According to PLOS Medicine, seniors who are socially isolated are twice as likely to suffer premature death than seniors with strong social ties. So what can your agency do to help protect seniors from the dangers of social isolation?
- Enlighten: Adult children of aging parents have a lot on their plates: work, children, and managing their own homes, just to name a few of their many responsibilities. Often, a visit to Dad’s house or even a regular phone call can get pushed to the back burner. Your agency should enlighten families about the risks of social isolation. Provide tips to help incorporate social interaction with their loved ones into their busy lives. A quick FaceTime with the grandkids before bed or a visit while waiting to pick the kids up after dance class can help the older adult feel loved and valued.
- Encourage: Prolonged social isolation can become a habit, and after a while, some seniors might resist going out or even inviting others over to visit. Part of every caregiver’s job is to offer gentle motivation to help the senior push past reservations such as these, and to remember how good it feels to engage with others. Start off slow with just a conversation, and then work up to a regular outing, such as a weekly trip to the senior center or a religious service, and continue to encourage family members, neighbors, and friends to stop by and visit as well.
- Engage: The monotony of staying at home alone day after day can quickly become depressing. Find ways to engage with the older adult, even if leaving home is not an option. Play games, read their favorite books out loud, listen to music together, find a craft or recipe to make together, or create a small indoor garden.
Want to make sure your clients know how your agency helps seniors stay social and active? As a leader in marketing for home care agencies, the team at MOST offers award-winning and eye-catching marketing materials that make your agency shine. Contact us today online or at 800.370.6580, to learn more!