Some older adults have large social circles after retirement. Others find their circle of friends shrinks. Neighbors move away to warmer or more affordable areas, move closer to family, or head off to explore the world.
A shrinking circle of friends will bother some more than others. It can lead to loneliness and increase feelings of isolation, especially when you live in a rural area. If your parents are among those with a shrinking circle of friends, take steps to help them experience these four benefits of friendship.
Gives Them Purpose
With friends in your life, your parents have a sense of belonging. They have a purpose in their daily and weekly routines. Others are depending on them just as much as they depend on their friends. Being there to offer emotional support and compassionate care helps you feel needed, which also boosts your self-worth.
Gain Emotional Support
It’s good to have people supporting your parents with the things they need to get done, but they also need emotional support. It’s beneficial for them to be able to vent their frustration and fears. Friends can help cheer your parents up and support them when they’re upset or grieving a loss.
Reduce Chronic Stress
Loneliness and isolation become stressful. If a lack of socialization is increasing stress, it can make your parents moodier. Left ignored, increased stress affects health. It can lead to anxiety attacks, depression, and insomnia.
Studies also show that chronic stress increases the risk of inflammation that leads to diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Diet and exercise help, but socialization and friendship are the third part to a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to stay active and social as part of a care plan to stay healthy.
Your parents will become more active when they have friends to meet up with and join for walks or outside activities. With friends to meet, your parents have others to share meals with and can explore museums, parks, and attractions together.
How can you help your parents grow a new social circle? Volunteering is one of the best ways to make friends when you’re older. Joining a senior center, book group, or club are other ways. If they’re unable to drive or go far, it’s more complicated.
Caregivers offer companionship and many other services. Your parents can spend time with caregivers and form friendships that allow them to socialize, go out, and have fun. Call a senior care agency and ask about companionship services.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a caregiver in Miami, FL please contact the caring staff at Elite Care At Home today at (305) 231-0555.
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