As many people grow older and enter their senior years of life, the world around them can begin to grow into a lonely place, and that goes for your parents as well. As they slowly begin to lose the friends and family they grew up and grew close with, meeting new friends and maintaining any aspect of a social life can become a challenge. This sad reality is only made more difficult if your parents are no longer together, or one parent has since passed.
As many studies have shown, staying social is imperative to our mental health and emotional well-being. If your parents are struggling with isolation or loneliness, here are five ways to help encourage Mom and Dad to stay social.
Seniors Fitness Class
Senior fitness classes can be found just about anywhere, provided by numerous gyms and facilities. And of course, staying active should be an essential part of every senior’s daily routine. So what better way to encourage them to keep up that active lifestyle than by meeting news friends at the same time? It’s the perfect way to boost both physical and mental health. The City of Ottawa has a range of recreation programs for seniors, from dance classes to swimming lessons to outdoor activities like hiking and snowshoeing.
Cruise ships have long been a favourite go-to activity for seniors, and with the increasing comforts they remain one of the most exciting ways to add some adventure, new sights, and new friends, all wrapped up in the convenience that is tailored specifically for seniors. It’s also a great way to escape the harsh winter months in Ottawa, when icy roads and knee-deep snow can be a further cause of social isolation as it is difficult or dangerous for Mom and Dad venture outside.
Who doesn’t love to curl up with a good book to pass the time? If your parents are avid readers, encourage them to get out and get social while sharing their love of reading with others. Book clubs can combine that much-needed social factor for those senior bookworms.
Have you considered companionship services? A companion is carefully selected to mesh well with Mom or Dad’s personality, interests, and needs. Whether it’s playing cards, chatting about last night’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, or simply reminiscing about the glory days, companionship care can help bridge the gap and avoid social isolation.
Take Advantage of Tech
The wonderful world of the Internet makes connecting with others so simple. Facebook is a great way to access a network of people. If your parents don’t already know how to access this, spend some time showing them how to use and take advantage of the online world. On Facebook, they can find and join various groups, and even find and reconnect with old friends. If Mom and Dad have smartphones or tablets, they can connect with the grandkids via FaceTime or Skype, or catch up with friends and family halfway around the world with a click of a button.
Get your parents outside and breathing in that fresh air and warm sunshine by participating in a gardening club. They can get their dose of vitamin D, while making friends and getting a little messy in the garden. Why are we talking about gardening in December? Even in the cold winter months, Mom and Dad can start an indoor herb garden!
No matter what club or activity it is, the point is to encourage your parents to get social by finding what their particular interests are. So whether it’s gardening, dancing, swimming, or hopping on a Caribbean cruise – the best way to get them to stay social is by connecting them with something that they will enjoy. So if you’re searching for a few ideas, use these five tips to get you started!
- Stephen Bleeker