If one of your parents has recently passed away, you may be looking for ways to help your elderly parent avoid loneliness and other concerns. Loneliness is now becoming an increasing problem and is particularly common among elderly people who have recently found themselves widowed after spending a large portion of their lives with a partner.
Understanding how to really help someone with loneliness can be quite difficult, since they don’t always show it – particularly if this person is your parent, they may feel somehow that they’re being a burden on you and don’t want to impose on your already-busy life.
However, it’s important to ensure that you make them aware that they’re not a burden and that you’re there for them to help and support them through this difficult time in their life and that they can overcome it with the right techniques.
In this post, we’re giving you some simple tips to enable you to better help your elderly parent overcome or avoid loneliness.
Make a weekly date:
You may have a busy life with kids, work, and everything else that comes with it, but even just taking time for a once-weekly date with your parent can make a big difference to them. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but simply going for dinner, going to the cinema, or even having them round for dinner will get them out of the house, spending time with someone they love and will be something they have to look forward to each week.
Involve them in your life:
This is not about involving your parent in every decision you make or your relationship, but simply including them in things to show that they’re a part of your family and not some extension of it. Even if you don’t particularly need their opinion about things, simply asking them to come with you when picking out a new kitchen or new paint for the bedroom will be a good way to help your elderly parent and for them feel like they’re included in your life.
Show them you need them:
Especially if your parent has been used to being self-sufficient and has been in charge their whole life, it can be a big shock to the system to suddenly feel that they’re not needed anymore. This can lead to things like depression and a feeling of having no purpose, so showing them that you still need them, even if it’s just for things like babysitting or asking their advice on things, helping them feel needed can go a long way to beating and even avoiding loneliness.
It is also important for you to do self care when taking care of someone else and not get burnout.
Look honestly at living arrangements:
Especially with aging and widowed parents, this is something that can be a sensitive subject, but it’s definitely worth having an open discussion about and seeing what can be arranged. For example, do you have the space in your home or money to build an extension for them?
If not, somewhere like Porthaven care homes could also be a good option. Many people instantly reject the idea of a care home, but nowadays they’re much different, and are actually seeing a lot of younger residents come in who have been widowed, and this could actually be a great solution for loneliness because of the variety of social events going on.