Why Just “Being There” Is Important For Your Loved One's Health
I just had a conversation the other day with a remarkable woman who noticed her elderly neighbor’s memory was not what it used to be. She started spending time with her neighbor and realized that she had no family and limited friends. She had no one to help her with day-to-day chores and she was very lonely. This acquaintance now visits her every day and brings her food. She has conversations with her and makes sure she takes her medication. Being there for this woman has probably made a world of difference and she doesn’t even realize it.
A healthy social life is important for everybody. You may not realize it, but it is very important to be there for your elderly loved ones. Not only does being there help to ensure your loved one is being cared for properly, it can also help prevent social isolation. Social isolation and loneliness are quite common among elders and are linked to poor health outcomes and shorter life expectancy.
Visits with your loved ones can bring positive thoughts and memories, while reminiscing about past-times. Bring photo albums and music. Nostalgic conversations can be beneficial to those with dementia and memory loss, as well. Happy visits can help the elderly stay emotionally engaged and feel less lonely, while fighting off depression and isolation. Remind your loved one that you love them. Phone calls and greeting cards only go so far-take the extra step and be there in person-it will make a world of difference. Being there during the holidays is especially important. Stay in contact constantly. If you can’t be there in person, send cards and emails with family updates. Send photos or even photo albums. Plan visits with the grandkids or plan a special outing.
Depression and loneliness are health hazards for any person. Just imagine how detrimental it can be on the health of your loved ones who need special care. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s very important it is just to be there for them.
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