Senior Adults and Loneliness

caring for our lonely elders

By Rethemious K Lynn-CEO It’s Adonai

The world is more complicated than most of us have ever experienced. The ways that we have learned to communicate have changed so that we are now charged with finding creative ways to talk to and be with others. For those of us who continue to work and see others outside of our homes, we have established a normalcy, including mask wearing and social distancing. We go to virtual meetings, have conference calls and make the best of what we can’t change.

For senior adults who either live at home or in a senior residence, life is not quite so normal. Many are quarantined and unable to see those peers who have become an important part of their lives.

We have learned many things during this Pandemic. Perhaps among the most important, is that most of us need the company of others to be emotionally healthy, and senior adults are no exception. We never, no matter the age, lose the desire to be with those most like us. Senior residences are often effective in helping create home-like communities. We see senior adults flourish in situations where they can be with peers as they enjoy activities and build friendships. But quarantines and other necessary safety measures leave some feeling lost and alone. A general fear shared by many professionals is that at the end of COVID, the residual effects will prompt depression. When there is nothing but time and more time to think about an issue, we can wear it out. Isolation from others gives us that kind of time.

How can we help with this crisis?  How can we be instruments of hope for those who are on the brink of depression because of isolation? The following might be helpful.

• Make a telephone call just to say hello. No agenda, just an “I was thinking of you”. Give them an opportunity to talk about what they are feeling. This can be healing for them. Let them know that you will call again.

• Send a card. Work with an elementary school, a daycare or a Sunday School class to send cards or pictures that they have drawn to a senior residence.

• Some senior residences play hall bingo. Donate prizes.

• If a senior is home bound, drop off meals or a special food treat.

• If they read, make sure that they have books. If they like word puzzles, take them some.

• The holidays bring special opportunities to show a senior adult that someone cares for them. A decoration that can brighten their room or a special food treat might be just the thing to get them through the day.

• Share by sending an uplifting devotional thought or reading one to them by phone.

Senior Adults need what we all need; to know that someone cares. We are always blessed when we reach out to those who need us. Inside that blessing, we will forget about ourselves and the worries around us, if just for a bit.

For more information about a different way to care for your loved one please contact It’s Adonai Family Home Care 256-429-0893.

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