Almost 30% of America's older adults live alone. Many of them are socially isolated. As family members move to other states or countries seeking a warmer climate, lower cost of living, or better employment opportunities, older adults can end up being all alone. Your mom lives alone now, and you're not close by. Will in-home care help her feel less lonely or isolated?
Ask Family Members and Friends if They Have Time
Start by asking any close family friends and family members if they have time to stop by each week. If your cousin can take your mom shopping each Saturday and your mom's pastor is happy to visit each Wednesday, that's two days when she will have the chance to socialize.
Join a Support Group or Senior Center
You may find that a support group for other widows or widowers is ideal for your mom. She'll have time to talk to others who understand what she's going through. There are support groups for people with cancer, dementia, and many other chronic health conditions.
Senior centers are another great way to be able to socialize. Your mom can join a knitting club, book reading group, or attend a dinner and dance.
Get to Know Her Neighbors
When you're around, get to know your mom's neighbor. If she has a new mom around, she might find that new mom would love to have someone to walk with each day. There could be other older adults nearby who need someone for companionship, and they could start a walking group together.
Talk to Her About Volunteering
One of the best ways for older adults to stay social and avoid isolation is by volunteering. She could volunteer to read to children at the hospital. Hospitals also need people to greet patients and provide directions to the right floor or wing, deliver gifts and flowers, or help in the gift shop.
Your mom could volunteer at her local library. They often look for people to put books back on the shelves, check that books are sorted alphabetically, and check patrons out. Volunteers also read to children, tidy up, and run computer software updates.
Some volunteer opportunities are available without having to go out. The Smithsonian looks for people who can transcribe documents or tag photos. The National Archives has similar projects.
Arrange In-Home Care Visits
Isolation is best avoided by making sure your mom has someone around to help her out and keep her company. In-home care is the perfect service for this. Caregivers stop by, see how she's doing, provide companionship, and can take her out shopping or for a walk in a park.
Talk to an in-home care specialist about your mom's health and abilities. You'll discover the range of services and prices before arranging the visits your mom needs to prevent isolation.