Combating Elder Loneliness

ImageIs loneliness a concern you have for a parent or an elderly friend? A recent study conducted by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago showed that elder loneliness can actually be just as detrimental to seniors as other health problems.

At Home Attendant Care, combating elder loneliness is a goal we strive to work towards – because we see firsthand how regular, consistent socialization can have a positive impact on the lives of NW Washington seniors who are aging in place.

In today’s busy world we can’t always be with our loved ones to provide all of the companionship they need, but there are ways to prevent loneliness in their life even when you’re not around. Here are some tips and suggestions:

• Enroll elders in continuing education courses at a local community college, hospital or local senior centers. Not only will this give them the opportunity to connect with others and have conversations, but the classes will keep their mind active. The feelings of accomplishment upon completing a course can also be highly beneficial.

• Get a pet. Dogs and cats are great pets for seniors; fish or birds can also have a positive effect (and they are easier to care for). Not only does a pet offer companionship, studies have shown that having a pet can actually lower blood pressure.

• Find a social circle that meets regularly, such as a church group or book club. Again, this is a great way for elders to connect with their peers.

• Urge other family members or friends to reach out to your loved one. This can be as simple as suggesting they send a greeting card, drop off a meal or simply call to chat for a bit each week. Just knowing that someone is thinking about them can be incredibly beneficial for senior citizens.

• Lastly, consider hiring a part-time caregiver for companionship and socialization. Professional caregivers help combat elder loneliness, monitor medications and check on the overall safety and well-being of seniors who live alone.

Contact Home Attendant Care to learn how our experienced caregivers can help your loved one live a full, active and engaging life from the comfort of their own home.

Upcoming events for Whatcom County seniors and caregivers

Whether it’s for a family member or for a client, caregiving is a demanding job, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We as caregivers should seek out and take advantage of community support and educational opportunities whenever possible.

That’s why it’s great when events like An Affair to Remember gala and the Passport to Care conference take place in Whatcom County. Each event provides a chance to have fun, connect with others with similar interests and concerns…and learn more about caregiving.

Alzheimer Society of Washington An Affair to RememberFirst up is the Affair to Remember gala, put on by Alzheimer Society of Washington (ASW) and partially sponsored by Home Attendant Care. It will be held on Saturday, March 1, 6:00 pm at the Lakeway Inn & Conference Center.

There will be a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, seated dinner, and music by The Atlantics. The cost to attend is $75 and proceeds support the mission of ASW, which helps local people who are impacted by memory loss illnesses. Affair to Remember is the perfect way to have a fun night out while supporting a great local nonprofit.

Elder Service Providers Passport to CareNext up is the 2014 Passport to Care conference is organized by Elder Service Providers and partially sponsored by Home Attendant Care. The event takes place on Friday, March 21 at Christ the King Church in Bellingham. This year, the keynote speaker is Anna Liotta, CEO of Resultance. She’ll be speaking about effectively communicating and developing relationships with people of all ages. The cost to attend is $25 and registration is required.

Lastly, remember to sign up for the workshop Debbie Gann will be teaching on February 19, 5:30pm at Skagit Valley Hospital. She will talk about a variety of services available to help seniors, whether they choose to live in their own home or move into a care facility. You can register for the class here.