By Jeff Yurek, BScPhm
Regardless of age, we may know of someone who may have become more isolated and lonely. Either can have negative effects on one’s mental and physical health, and lead to a decline in their well-being. Here are some suggestions that can help those feeling lonely or isolated:
- Call often. Talk about what’s happening in the world, the country, the community and your life. Share your thoughts and feelings and ask about theirs.
- Encourage light physical activity — walking, swimming, or chair yoga. My Walk ‘N’ Talk sessions every Thursday at the Joe Thornton Community Centre at 10:00 a.m. is a fun way of accomplishing the first one.
- Visit frequently and bring along kids, friends, and pets to help make their day.
- Encourage them to socialize and engage in activities with others. This can include attending social events, joining clubs or organizations, or participating in group activities. The St. Thomas Senior’s Centre is a great example of an organization to join.
- If they live independently, spend an afternoon preparing food for the week.
- Invite them to your place. Even a short visit can be very enriching.
- Take them to visit a museum, library, park, or just a drive around town. Even taking them to the grocery store can be enriching.
- 8.Participate in a low-cost, gift-giving program, like Smile for Seniors, that helps spread positive energy to lonely and/or financially-challenged seniors.
- Help them stay connected by setting up technology for them. This may include a computer, smartphone, or tablet, which can be used for video calls, email, and other forms of communication. Technology will also help them stay informed about their communities, help them join online groups or forums, and participate in virtual events or classes.
In conclusion, everyone can benefit greatly from staying connected with others. By encouraging socialization, staying physically active, and using technology, will help others prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation. With the right support, everyone can continue to lead fulfilling and engaging lives, while they age.