Growing old can be a very daunting prospect for many people, as can watching your loved one’s age. It is important to make significant steps to help make this stage of life as easy as possible. In the society we live in today, there is a danger of isolation and depression among senior citizens. This is because ageism causes many people to lack respect for those in aging communities. Not only this, but the rate technology is advancing means many older people find themselves lost when it comes to engaging in technological advancements, thus losing the respect of those around them.
This should not be the case; as one ages, it is important to hold optimism for life and make the experience as positive as possible. Take the bull by the horns, as it were, and ride this final quarter with as much style and grace as possible. However, this is much easier said than done, so it is important to make changes to improve your lifestyle and hopefully avoid loneliness and isolation.
Learn New Things/ Embrace Technology
Due to the social stigma of ageism, the idea of senior citizens learning new things is often put on the back burner. As technology advances and the digital divide between senior citizens and younger generations grows. There is a common thought that seniors do not want to engage with technology; however, more often than not, this is not true. Excluding senior citizens from technological advancements can be very isolating; technology is a lifeline, and thus should be a way for seniors to connect with their family and loved ones rather than excluded.
Learn to embrace the digital age. There are a lot of options for lessons around new technologies—ask around to see what is out there. For example, there may be classes on how to use Zoom as a way to connect with friends and family. If you are not interested in classes, ask your grandchildren for a lesson on the latest social apps. Technology is a friend, not a foe. It is a fantastic way to avoid feelings of loneliness.
Embrace Community Living
Loneliness and being alone for long periods can have a detrimental impact on your mental and physical health, particularly senior citizens. In the United States, over 40 percent of older citizens experience loneliness. Loneliness, a feeling of separation from others, can be isolating, especially if you are living alone. Sometimes you may go days or even weeks without talking to someone.
One way to avoid this feeling is by embracing a new style of living, perhaps moving to a senior living facility where you will be surrounded by a community of people. Frontier Senior Living offers facilities in 120 locations across 19 states in the US. At these facilities, you will find a living experience that aims to enrich your quality of life. From Assisted Living to Memory Care, several options are depending on your needs.
At a community living facility, you are much more likely to be surrounded by people and carers who want to connect and enjoy your company. The experiences offered are modeled on Montessori ethos and culture, which prioritize inclusion and engagement, which will inevitably help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Tell Your Story
There have been several studies and workshops that highlight the benefits of the oral history tradition, particularly for senior citizens. Oral history is a way for an individual to share their stories, personal testimonies, and experiences. These get recorded and can be a wonderful way to learn about a person’s life. As a senior citizen, your story matters, and your life experience is invaluable to the next generation. It is really important to speak up and share.
Oftentimes, stories of aging go unheard, and thus policies around aging get written by those who have no experience in the matter. Sharing your story can be a beneficial way to have your voice and needs heard.
There is a lot to be said about swapping stories with another individual. It is a way to empathize and share common ground and feelings. There is nothing like feeling heard and understood. Many community facilities or centers offer memory workshops and reminiscence sessions where you can swap and share stories with other individuals. You can also do this by connecting with your friends and family and asking to share your life story with them. Many people will be very interested in hearing what you have to say.
Not only is reminiscence good for seniors with memory conditions it can be a wonderful way to combat isolation and loneliness.
There is a tendency in older generations to be stoic, as well as slightly in denial of the aging process. This can cause them to isolate themselves from friends and loved ones. However, this is a time in your life in which accepting and receiving support is paramount to your wellbeing and health.
Listen to your body and mind; if you feel like there might be something wrong, seek out support and care. Go to your doctor to be checked out, and have any health concerns addressed. Leaving health issues at this stage of life can be dangerous.
Do not shun family and friends; they only have your best interests at heart. Let them help you. Being surrounded by those that love you has such a great benefit on your overall mental health. Do not shy away from care and support on offer. If you do not have access to friends and family, there are many support lines available to senior citizens in need. Reach out if you are feeling lonely. Connecting with people can be a lifeline in times of need.
Aging can be a very scary prospect, as well as a very lonely one. There are many ways in which you can fight loneliness and isolation as a senior citizen. Make sure you make the most of this time in your life.