Some of my clients are returning from visiting their aging parents over the Thanksgiving holiday. For some, it was an annual trek out of state. The holidays can be a wonderful time of year. Yet for some families it can be a wake-up call. If a senior is struggling with their independence, it may come to light during a family visit.
In the October/November issue of AARP magazine, they reported on a recent survey on “Why do I feel isolated?” 15,000 people returned a two-page survey, and the results may surprise you. Here are the biggest contributors to seniors feeling alone and therefore at risk:
- Family and friends too far away – 48%
- Family and friends too busy – 42%
- No access to internet at home – 29%
- No longer drive or don’t have a car – 17%
- Caregiver responsibilities – 13%
- Physical limitations – 12%
- No public transportation – 10%
Helping Aging Parents
One of the biggest factors in helping aging parents with their health has nothing to do with medical assistance. It’s staying in touch. Feeling socially detached can be as bad as smoking. Spending time with family and friends is literally good for one’s health. Short of moving Mom or Dad closer, consider their social circles and ideas on how to strengthen them. It may be as simple as finding transportation to a local senior center. Getting involved with activities and staying in touch with loved ones may truly be the best medicine.
If you haven’t visited an aging loved one yet and intend to do so during the year-end holiday season, there are a few signs to look for during your visit. Aging parents may try to hide any issues, not wanting to put a damper on your time together or they are worried about remaining independent. Of course every situation is unique, but there are 10 common indicators a senior may need assistance.
If you find your loved one struggling, there are resources that can help. Here in the Bay Area, the Council of Aging provides information caregivers can immediately use.
Need a sounding board? Remember, you are not alone. I invite you to call me and we can chat about your situation.