Assisted living is one of the best elder care options a person can choose, especially when they need support on a regular basis. Many seniors will turn to their immediate family first. This might be a spouse, but can also include adult children, grandchildren, siblings, neighbors, and close friends.
Too often, though, even if that elderly person is receiving support from family or friends, that doesn’t negate feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is compounded when that elderly person can no longer drive or get around with public transportation as easily or readily as they did in their younger years.
Not being able to visit with friends, play games, go for walks, visit the parks, and so forth can lead to deeper feelings of isolation.
Just choosing assisted living doesn’t mean those feelings will stop.
Yes, assisted living is one of the best elder care options a person can choose in their advancing years, but that doesn’t mean it is automatically going to stop those feelings of loneliness.
When a person moves, even if they move into a community, they may not know anyone at all. This aging senior might not have a clue who any of their neighbors are going to be. They might not know a single person at a specific assisted living facility.
Some people are inherently shy. They have a difficult time getting out and meeting new people. Others may feel a sense of dread at just stepping out of their room to go to the cafeteria or dining facility.
There are a few things that family and friends can do that might just help this aging senior experience connection, make friends, and discover the true value assisted living can offer. Let’s look at a few things right now.
1. Encourage the senior to explore the facility.
Again, this can be easier said than done, especially for somebody who is extremely shy. How can you help them overcome this?
With a visit. Even if you are physically unable to go there and visit with the senior when they first move in, find a close friend, family member, or a family friend who lives in the area and is willing and able to stop by and spend some time with this senior.
When they visit, they can walk around the grounds with the senior, pointing out the different facilities, options, amenities, and so on.
That could help the senior become more comfortable with their surroundings, ultimately leading to them not being intimidated by exploring it on their own.
2. Speak to the administration at the assisted living facility.
Staff are often highly experienced at helping residents get the lay of the land and encourage them to get out and explore different activities, entertainment options, dining options, and even meeting some of their new neighbors.
3. Avoid the temptation to call our visit too often (at first).
This elderly person might be counting on you or whoever is calling or visiting frequently as their distraction. They will simply wait in their room for those visits or calls rather than getting out to explore.
By limiting the number of calls or visits, it may encourage the senior — especially with these other two factors in place — to discover their surroundings and meet and make new friends.