Resources to Help Seniors Who Have Few Relatives Nearby
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Aging brings many challenges as well as joys. While it’s generally good fortune to have a long life, it’s even better if you have family nearby to offer help and companionship. Sometimes, seniors live far from family, though. In these cases, Polish Care Services suggests you make use of the following resources for managing daily life.
Maintaining a Social Life
Loneliness can be a risk factor for health issues, and we all need companionship. Here are some ideas to help seniors develop and maintain social connections.
- Consider volunteering. After all, seniors can and do contribute an enormous amount by tutoring, mentoring, helping prepare or distribute food to those in need, fundraising, assisting with tax preparation, or working the polls during elections.
- Take a class. Post-retirement is a wonderful time to pursue interests you may not have had time for while working. Whether it’s a non-credit history or language class at the local university, or a dance or crafting class at a community center, you’ll meet others with common interests and get to explore something you enjoy.
- Take a part-time job. Although not everyone is eager to return to the nine to five grind, sometimes working a few hours a week can enhance a senior’s life by providing social connections, as well as the satisfaction of contributing effort to an important cause.
- Join a church, mosque, temple, or other organization that supports your spiritual beliefs. If you’re already a member, look into getting more involved there. It’s a great way to get to know others who share your values.
Health and Wellness
Good health is important to people at every age, and there are always things a person can do to increase their chances of staying well.
- Join an exercise class. The connection between exercise and improved mental health has been documented increasingly over the past decade. Many forms of exercise are appropriate for seniors, ranging from swimming to no impact aerobics and gentle weight training.
- Consider a mind-body practice, such as tai chi, qi gong, yoga, or mindfulness walking. These disciplines can improve cognitive functioning as well balance, strength, range of motions, and stress relief.
- Get an exercise or healthy eating buddy. Having another person counting on you can help with motivation and increase fun, whether you’re cooking a healthy meal together or meeting for a walk.
- Laughter is good medicine. It can increase the release of endorphins, and alter serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. Whether it’s a funny movie, a cartoon in a magazine, a hilarious book, or a podcast, finding reasons to laugh can make life more healthy, as well as more fun. This is yet another activity best done with a buddy.
Financial Assistance is Available
Most people worry to some degree about running out of money, managing money, or calculating and paying taxes in a timely and accurate manner. There are many local, state, and federal programs to help with planning and managing financial concerns.
- Help with the cost of prescriptions can be found via the Extra Help program through Medicare in some states. Other states have their own programs.
- Seniors and all adults may experience stress when faced with financial and other types of decisions.
- The IRS sponsors free tax help clinics for seniors. These can be quite helpful since many seniors have complex situations involving pensions, IRAs, or pre-death insurance benefits. Having free help from an expert can make the challenge of tax preparation less daunting.
Use Technology to your Advantage
While it’s difficult to visit in person fr
equently, if you live a great distance from your loved one, the internet can be a great help. Using Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, or another online program you can be in touch with family members who live almost anywhere. The internet is also a good way to shop, learn, and connect with others.
- Take some time to make sure your loved one is comfortable using the internet. Sometimes technology classes for seniors can be helpful, as well as social opportunities.
- Click for info on a useful tool for combining digital documents for your loved one so that they’re easier to find.
- Having a weekly online call with your senior loved one is a great way to stay in touch, share family news, and monitor how they are doing. While “Zoom fatigue” is something that happens to people of all ages, there are ways to counter it.
- Although an online meeting is better than no connection, it’s important to supplement it with ordinary phone calls, letters via email or US mail, and the occasional in-person visit.
Although living near the senior you care about is the easiest way to stay in touch and be of help, there are many resources for those who are at a distance. Make sure that you keep your loved one in the loop when making decisions that will affect them, and take advantage of the many programs and options available.
For exceptional services for seniors, those with disabilities, and those needing companionship, visit Polish Care Services today.
Credit: June Duncan