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Ways to Combat Isolation and Loneliness for Seniors Aging Without Family or Close Friends

Updated: Jul 11, 2023


Seniors who are aging without family or close friends can often feel isolated and neglected. As they grow older, they become more dependent on external support, making it increasingly difficult to build meaningful relationships. In many cases, this can make them more susceptible to elder abuse or exploitation.


To help these seniors, there are a variety of public and private resources available, including senior centers, adult daycare services, home care assistance, and elder advocacy groups. These services can provide social interaction, transportation, and assistance with basic activities of daily living, such as shopping and meal preparation.


Many communities also offer recreational activities designed to engage seniors and help reduce social isolation. These activities may include art classes, educational lectures, and even travel opportunities. With the right resources and support, seniors without kin can still enjoy a positive, meaningful lifestyle.


As we grow older, many of us are faced with the challenge of aging without family or close friends. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, as we grapple with the lack of companionship, support, and social interaction. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these feelings and to remain connected with our peers, even without family or close friends.


With a little creativity and determination, seniors can benefit from activities, community services, and technology that can help to ease the burden of aging without family or close friends. Whether it’s joining a local senior center, exploring online activities, or taking advantage of support services, there are many ways to combat isolation and loneliness for seniors aging without family or close friends.


At Phlex65, we recognize the trend that a growing number of seniors without kin will need help for short-term recovery from surgery and falls or for long-term diagnosis of chronic illnesses. Reach out to a member of our team at www.phlex65.com for more information.


Benefits of Staying Connected


Many seniors who face isolation or loneliness often find that staying connected with family or friends helps to ease the pain and suffering. The benefits of keeping in touch include strengthening social connections, building stronger networks, and maintaining a sense of identity and purpose.


Staying connected with family and friends can also help to relieve stress and lower one's risk of depression and mental illness. If you are facing aging without family or friends, staying connected may provide a sense of purpose that can ease the pain and suffering. Making time for close friends and family members can be especially therapeutic when one is feeling lonely or isolated.


Finding ways to stay connected with loved ones can help to provide a sense of purpose and happiness, even if you’re aging without family or friends.


Joining a Local Senior Center


Many seniors who are isolated or face feelings of loneliness often find that joining a local senior center can provide a sense of community and connection. A senior center is a great option for seniors who are aging without family or friends, as it provides a low-pressure environment where people can meet others who have similar experiences while avoiding the pressure of social interactions.


Many senior centers also provide recreational activities, events, classes, and programs that can help to ease feelings of isolation. They may focus on a specific demographic and provide a great opportunity to meet others who share your age, gender, and interests. Some senior centers also offer low-cost transportation services, so you can easily access activities and meet new people without incurring expensive transportation costs.


Apart from the local senior centers are the Adult Day Health and Social Day Programs. These are licensed by the state and cater to seniors who may need a little more help personally and use walkers and wheelchairs.


The Adult Day Health Center is a comprehensive program that provides both healthcare and social services. The healthcare programs include therapies for physical, occupational, and speech, along with doctors, nurses, and social workers who can assist or facilitate food and transportation services. There is an activity portion and nutrition/meals on-site for seniors who prefer to socialize with peers.


The Social Day Programs are strictly recreational activities that include exercise, music, arts, and education, along with the nutrition and food program offered on-site. The group settings help stimulate physical and mental activities that stave off senior isolation and depression.


Attending a social day program is beneficial for seniors who may experience challenges both physically and mentally, where there is support from trained staff members, and the continued interaction sets the tone for living a certain quality of life.


Joining a local senior center can provide a low-pressure environment where people can meet others who have similar experiences while avoiding the pressure of social interactions.


Exploring Online Activities


Online social networks, interactive computer programs, and online websites can provide a low-pressure way for seniors who are aging without family or friends to stay connected and make friends.


Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter give older adults an opportunity to connect with others from all over the world. Most social media sites allow users to create groups that allow for the sharing of content and the creation of online friendships.


Social media has become an important part of our daily lives and has the potential to help to ease feelings of loneliness and isolation for older adults. Many seniors find that using social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with others who share common interests and experiences can provide a sense of community and belonging.


Taking Advantage of Support Services


Many senior centers and community-based organizations provide services designed to help to ease feelings of isolation and loneliness for seniors aging without family or close friends. Some of these services include partner resource programs, social activities, support groups, and home visits.


Some communities offer partner resource programs, social activities, and support groups focused on older adults. A few senior centers may offer transportation services so that you don’t have to drive or pay for expensive transportation costs.


Additional transportation services are funded by the government (local and state) to make them affordable for seniors. Support groups are mostly facilitated by trained professionals where seniors can share their experiences and find helpful tips.


Joining a club, community group, or volunteer organization can provide the opportunity to meet others who share common interests and make connections, especially at the end of life.


Developing Healthy Habits


Many seniors who are aging without close friends or family members often find that developing healthy habits, such as exercising, reading, and socializing, can help to ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Active and creative hobbies, such as creative writing, drawing, or painting, can provide an opportunity to express feelings and thoughts while also providing enjoyment and positive affirmation.


Other healthy habits that can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation include cultivating positive relationships, keeping a journal, and engaging in mindfulness activities.


Engaging in nurturing relationships, such as friendships with neighbors, co-workers, or family members, can provide a sense of purpose and connection that prevents feelings of loneliness and isolation. To maintain a healthy sense of intimacy, try to spend time with those who provide a sense of connection, love, and support.


Maintaining Social Connections


Social connections can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, helping to ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Try to make time each day to cultivate positive relationships and friendships, whether it is a meal with friends or colleagues.


Social connections can be made while participating in volunteer activities, attending religious services, or participating in civic or community groups. The goal is to strengthen social connections while avoiding the potential for loneliness and isolation.


Physical activities such as walking, gardening, or yoga can provide a low-stress way to make social connections while providing a healthy form of exercise. Other activities such as potluck dinners, bird watching, visiting museums, or attending cultural events are not only educational but enrich the lives of seniors who continue to learn and grow even as they age. Time goes by fast when you are learning and engaged in activities that you love.


Exploring Technology Solutions


Many seniors who are aging without friends or family members find that exploring technology solutions such as online social networks and computer programs can provide a low-pressure way to stay connected. Online social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn can provide an opportunity to connect with others from all over the world.


Most social media sites, such as Twitter and Pinterest, allow users to create groups for the sharing of content and the creation of online friendships. Some seniors may also find that online computer programs, such as computer games and social games like chess, word games, and language, are great ways to make friends and stay connected. Other technology solutions now have virtual and chat platforms where seniors can stay connected with friends.


Seeking Assistance From Caregivers


Many seniors are seeking assistance from caregivers and other family members to stay connected. Seniors prefer to live in their own homes as they age and sometimes, this can be difficult when faced with physical and mental health challenges. Having a caregiver to support them with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like personal care, meals, and walking is not only crucial but is safe for seniors. This allows seniors to age in place or live in their homes instead of a skilled nursing facility.


Finding a caregiver is often helpful when other friends or neighbors can provide a referral. The caregivers are mostly vetted based on the interactions and experiences of a close network. Other times the social worker or discharge planners at skilled nursing facilities or hospitals will provide a list of homecare agencies prior to discharge.


The homecare agencies are responsible for facilitating and managing the caregivers who come into the homes to provide short-term or long-term help. Most of the care is paid for out of pocket, and a few will have long-term care insurance to pay for home care.


At Phlex65, our goal is to provide the care that you need whether it is for a few hours or 24 hours a day, and we have a flexible contract that does not lock you into the 2-day minimum that most homecare agencies require. The flexible schedules are our main differentiator because seniors may need the support for a short term and intermittently or long term on a daily basis as they age.


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Many communities provide partner resource programs that provide transportation services, meals, and companionship so that you don’t have to drive or incur expensive transportation costs. Transportation is subsidized by local cities through block grants from the state or federal government making it feasible for seniors to venture outside their homes.


Meals can be delivered to the homes of seniors, and certain protocols are in place to alert the local social services agencies if there is a need for additional care.


Companionship programs facilitated by non-profit organizations can be done in person or through a virtual or phone call as a way to remain socially connected and to track the changes in the living conditions and health of the senior.


Conclusion


Aging without family or friends can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially if you don’t have a spouse or children who can help to provide companionship and support. Staying connected with family and friends through community services and activities can help to reduce these feelings over time. In addition, exploring technology solutions, such as online social networks, interactive computer programs, and online websites, can provide a way to stay connected and make friends.


Social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn provides older adults an opportunity to interact with others from all over the world and the potential to have rich lived experiences. Finally, seeking assistance from paid professional caregivers can provide a low-pressure way to stay connected, as it doesn’t require you to socialize or make new friends.


Chances are that whoever is helping you, whether a friend, social worker, or meal and transportation service delivery person, will want to stay connected with you as well, and have the means to connect seniors with other resources if needed, so this is a win-win solution.


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