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Emotional support for the elderly is extremely important because many of them, especially those who are separated from their loved ones, find themselves feeling lonely and detached from the rest of the world. Seniors who are limited due to mobility issues may find themselves even more isolated from others, especially when they do not have someone there to help them.
It is vital that all seniors receive emotional support as it helps them enjoy a better quality of life. In fact, seniors who do experience isolation and loneliness are at higher risk of becoming depressed or experiencing anxiety, which can then lead to a decline in their physical health.
Continue reading below to learn more about why emotional support is so important in aged care and what you can do to help your loved one.
Why Seniors Need Emotional Support
Just as you need emotional support when you go through a trying time in life, seniors do too. There are many aspects of life that a senior may find themselves in a position where they just need someone to talk to. For example, if a senior is experiencing any money trouble or they have recently lost a friend or a spouse, they can benefit from emotional support.
Seniors who do not feel as though they have emotional support may become depressed and this can lead to physical symptoms such as irritability, thoughts and feelings of suicide, restlessness, and more.
Your loved one needs you to be there to listen to them and provide them with the support they need, but if you are unable to be there at all times, do alert their care team. Aged care is not just about physically helping seniors, but it is about providing them with a life that they are proud to live.
How to Provide Emotional Support to Seniors
If you have never provided emotional support to a senior or you are unsure of how you can, there are things you can do to ensure that they know they can rely on you. First, help your loved one stay connected to you, friends, and family. If your loved one lives far away and cannot be with friends and family, do make it a point to share photos or even allow them to video call those closest to him or her. Simple things like this can help your loved one stay in good spirits.
You can provide support to your loved one by making sure that they are safe and that they feel secure. Some seniors may lose these feelings once they transition into a living facility and it is important to listen to their concerns and then address them. For example, maybe your loved one falls a lot or has in the past and they are afraid they may fall, and no one will be there to help. Reassurance can be something as simple as a life alert button that they can press.
Lastly, your loved one can receive emotional support in the form of community and social events. Social isolation is worrisome in older age demographics and studies have shown that its effects are the equivalent of smoking about 15 cigarettes a day. You should encourage your loved one to participate in senior group activities and to meet new people.
Be the Emotional Support Your Loved One Needs
You should be the emotional support that your loved one needs. It is vital that your loved one has someone they can talk to and confide in as they need to not feel alone in this world. Social isolation is a serious concern and can lead to further health problems.
If you are unsure of how to provide more emotional support to your senior, talk to their care team. There are resources in place to help them.