Isolation is a concern as some seniors opt for aging at home. Both physical and mental health are found to be better in those who interact with others regularly.
A 2003 European heat wave drew attention to the dangers of isolation and loneliness. Over 40,000 elderly men and women aging at home died in the heat. Statisticians noted that the percentage of seniors living in independent or assisted living communities who died in the heatwave wasn't close to being similar. Far fewer seniors living in community settings died.
The Dangers of Isolation
Mental stimulation diminishes when there is no one around to play games with or talk to. If family members don't often stop by, your dad may feel neglected or disliked. When you do stop by, he may become needy when you are there. You might feel frustrated as a result and stop by less frequently.
Seniors who are isolated may become depressed. Even if your dad isn't depressed, is there a chance of him falling and laying helpless for hours or days before someone notices?
It's clear that you need to make sure your dad isn't isolated. It's also difficult. You work 40 hours a week. Your commute adds another 10 hours each week that you're away from home. You have your own household chores waiting for you. Your kids need help with homework or have extracurricular activities in the evening hours and weekends. How do you fit in making sure your dad is not isolated, too?
Involve Your Children
Your kids can help you get your dad out of the house and socializing. Invite him to their games, debates, concerts, and theatrical performances. When they're not busy with school and friends and live close enough, have them visit your dad. An older teen can drive, bike, or take the bus to your dad's house and keep him company.
You might think your kids and dad have little in common, but they can develop similar interests. Set your dad up with a gaming system and they can find similar interests in games. Your dad can share his interest in games by introducing your teen to favorite board or card games. They can take turns each day playing someone's favorite game.
Other Ways to Avoid Isolation
Have you considered caregivers? With elderly care services, your dad gains companionship, help around the house, and safe transportation. To get started, reach out to an elderly care professional at an agency.
Wherever their home may be, our caregivers can help keep your loved ones safe. Call our local Niagara office at (289) 434-4704 to learn how elderly care services can assist your family.