Up to 77% of seniors say they’d rather age in place, and around 33% of seniors live alone. But living alone can make patients feel isolated. This is especially true when aging in place is compared to living in more communal situations, such as in a senior care facility, or an apartment or condo complex focused on senior living. 

While loneliness is hard to measure, one report cited by the CDC says that more than 25% of seniors are considered to be “socially isolated.” Because of this, it’s important for caregivers to understand how to make their senior patients feel less lonely, especially when they’re aging in place. In this blog, we’ll take a look at 4 great ways that your caregivers can help senior patients feel less lonely as they age in place.

Set Up Video Chat Sessions With Friends And Family

Every cloud has a silver lining. And in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, one silver lining is that most people are at least somewhat familiar with Zoom meetings, Skype sessions, Facetime, and other ways to video chat with friends and family. Compared to a phone call, video chat is a more engaging and fun way for seniors to catch up with loved ones, so caregivers could consider setting up regular video calls for their patients.

Encourage Them To Get Active In Their Local Communities

Just because a senior patient isn’t living in a senior community doesn’t mean they can’t engage with their own local community. This could be as simple as taking your patient out for a walk, helping them meet their neighbors, or even getting them to attend community meetings, or a local church or charity. Seniors who feel more connected with their communities will feel less lonely, since they’ll be surrounded by people they know.

Explore New Hobbies And Activities That Seniors Can Do At Home

Learning new skills and engaging in hobbies and activities helps keep seniors active. You could explore things like gardening, sewing, learning to play new games, and learning other new skills. 

As they learn a new skill or get back into an old hobby, caregivers can even help seniors connect with like-minded people online. Facebook groups and other websites for certain hobbies like gardening are great places for seniors to connect virtually with people who share their interests.

Consider Animal Therapy, Or Even A Pet Or A Service Animal

In one recent study, 80% of pet owners said their pet makes them feel less lonely. Owning a cat or dog can help reduce feelings of loneliness. And in some situations, service animals like service dogs can also help improve the day-to-day lives of disabled seniors, such as those with poor vision.

If pet ownership or a service animal isn’t an option, visiting an animal therapy center may be a good choice, too. Animal therapy lets seniors get the benefits of engaging with an animal without the complexities or complications of owning a dog, cat, or another pet.

Help Seniors Stay Engaged And Fight Against Loneliness With These Tips 

There’s no “silver bullet” for mitigating loneliness in seniors, especially those aging in place. But we hope these tips have helped. Whether you’re a caregiver or you run a home care agency, taking these steps can help with loneliness, make things easier for senior patients, and even improve health outcomes, too!