Loneliness - Problem for Aging Parents. How to Help Them Enjoy Life Now

Do you have to be lonely when you get older? Those who are socially active enjoy greater longevity and better health. Longevity, however, leads to higher risk of long-term health care. Planning is essential before aging ‘happens’.

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Loneliness - Problem for Aging Parents. How to Help Them Enjoy Life Now
5 Min Read August 25th, 2021
Jane Stinson

A relocation specialist who has worked with many seniors over the years.

Loneliness and old age - these two words have unfortunately become almost synonymous today. The elderly start to feel unneeded at a certain age, which is why they often fall into despair. They get constantly reminded of the absence of a loved one nearby, the feeling of helplessness, and at the same time hopelessness. As paradoxical as it may sound, the problem of loneliness in old age occurs even in those who live with family. If you want to help aging parents deal with loneliness, these are our best tips.

Loneliness in old age - how does it occur? There can be many reasons for loneliness, and they are all closely interconnected, which only makes the situation even more unfavorable.

Retirement

Perhaps the first step towards the path of loneliness. There is a cessation of socializing with colleagues - the person often feels out of purpose and lost. The retiree should have a hobby and be surrounded by loved ones. If they can still be active, maybe an extra job would keep them socially engaged.

Otherwise, loneliness becomes an integral part of life, especially when someone "gives up." We should always have in mind that TV and books cannot replace live conversations.

Personality Sometimes Changes with Aging

As we all know, personality often shifts with age, and in most cases - not for the better. Many psychologists note that we are not the same person throughout our life. 

Some people become more generous and trusting individuals as they get older. Willpower increases, and they have a better sense of humor. Even emotions can be in better check for some with age.

That is not the case with others who, in their later years, show problematic character traits which are often hard to control. Grumpiness and sarcasm appear, which is why relatives and friends try to communicate with them as little as possible.

Social Isolation

Over time, people gradually lose their loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, especially when they reach old age. In addition, their children often leave home to start their own families. At the same time, it is not easy to make new acquaintances with many older people. 

Not all older people become easily isolated. Conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness can lead to greater longevity, according to some research. 

Which group an older person may fall into is hard to tell. Families might be able to help their loved ones adjust to older age which can benefit their mental and physical health. 

3 people sitting together.

Social isolation is a big factor that contributes to loneliness.

When an older parent lives away from their adult children, it can cause emotional hardship. There is emotional distress and even physical health problems in elder loved ones. A lack of communication can lead to bad feelings. Even feelings of loss and bewilderment can be expected when there is limited communication between parent and adult child. 

If your parent or other close family member lives far away, it might help them move closer. This way, you can be near in case anything happens, or if they need some company. It will be better for their overall well-being and even benefit the rest of the family.

Your aging parents will surely need some help with the local move, so it's crucial to find ways to support them in the process. Contact the movers instead of them, help them declutter their home, and make sure their new place is ready and adapted to their needs.

Conversation Topics

What do older people want to talk to someone about? Their joints hurt, market prices have jumped, or maybe the government is not doing its job right. There is, of course, dissatisfaction with the behavior of today's youth, politics, neighbors, etc. But this is more of a generalization than how it is.

Indeed, sometimes it takes a lot of patience to talk and socialize with them. But don't be quick to judge - the elderly have many great things to say if you give them your attention and listen carefully.

Disease

When people get older, they have a reduced ability to remember and react quickly. Decreased cognitive function in old age leads to dementia, which can be very difficult to deal with

In addition to cognitive decline, the body also declines, which affects mobility. Your loved one may need help with daily activities. Their decline in health, body, and mind may require formal or informal long-term health care.

Being closer to your older parent may allow you to provide some of the care, if required, more easily. If they own Long-Term Care Insurance, be sure to use the benefits from their policy. Most policies provide resources to pay for in-home care, not just long-term care facilities. That will allow you, and the rest of the family, the time to spend good quality family time with your loved one instead of being a caregiver.

You can get help in processing the claim and finding quality caregivers by using the resources offered by LTC NEWS - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.

Help Them Deal with Loneliness

The modern rhythm of life is very hectic - sometimes you don't even have enough time to call your parents, let alone visit them. At the same time, you are constantly trying to deal with feelings of guilt.

Psychology Today suggests these hints to communicate with your older parents. When you communicate effectively, you will help eliminate some of the loneliness they feel, benefiting them and you at the same time. 

  1. Exercise Patience and Compassion. 
  2. Ask Instead of Order. 
  3. Ask Instead of Assume. 
  4. Use "I" instead of "You" Language. 

Sometimes we need to take a moment out of our hectic urban lives and really think about our parents, especially if they are alone. How often do we regret not having time to tell our parents that we love them? But it's never too late!

A person preparing food in a kitchen.

Daily activities do help our elderly feel better, but that doesn’t replace human contact and kind words.

Remember, even if your parents live with you and you have resorted to family caregiving, they can still feel lonely. You are at work all day while the children are at school, and grandma and grandpa are sitting and waiting for your arrival. 

Seemingly, they have everything - food, heating, all the conditions are there, but still, something is missing. It is communication and the feeling that they belong.

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About the Author

Jane Stinson is a relocation specialist who has worked with many seniors over the years. Having seen how hard some of them have taken it, she has decided to start blogging about helping seniors, and younger generations, move to their new homes. Jane aims to make the whole experience more comfortable. In her free time, she enjoys reading and gardening.

LTC News Contributor Jane Stinson

Jane Stinson

Contributor since March 26th, 2021

Editor's Note

Longevity is both a cash flow problem and a family problem. As we get older, the need for help with daily activities increase. These changes in our health, body, and mind may lead to the need for long-term health care.

You can prepare your family and finances for these changes that will occur in the decades ahead. Aging happens, and we need to have a plan to safeguard savings and reduce the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on those we love.

For many families, an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy is the solution. When you own a policy, you will maintain control and independence. You will have access to your choice of quality care options, including in-home care. Your family will have the time to remain family and not caregivers.

The ideal time to obtain coverage is when you are in your 40s or 50s. LTC NEWS can help you in your research.

Planning Resources on LTC NEWS

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is also an outstanding resource to review. 

Find a Trusted and Qualified LTC Specialist

Be sure to seek the right type of professional help. Premiums can vary by over 100% between insurance companies, so a skilled and trusted professional can help you navigate the many companies and options.

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will help you obtain the best coverage at the best value. Discover a licensed and trusted pro to assist you and your family - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan

You or your loved one may have limited resources when they are older. If most of the assets are tied up in their home, today's reverse mortgages might help as the solution for either funding Long-Term Care Insurance or paying for care - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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