Technology has made it very easy to stay connected through instant messages, virtual tours, and emails. While these changing modes of communication are standard to your teens and younger adults, they may feel weird to your parents. They don’t find emails or texts to feel the same when it comes to socializing.
As families move to new towns, states, and countries, older adults often stay behind with the goals of aging at home. The feelings of isolation and loneliness can become a major issue. If your parents are struggling to stay social as others move away, it’s time to step in and help them stay connected in a world where activities shift to virtual means.
Talk to Them About Volunteering
They may not be able to get out of the home, but they could volunteer remotely. It will give them a sense of satisfaction that they’ve helped someone else. From their home, your parents could transcribe historical documents for the government. They could knit hats and blankets for cancer patients in hospitals.
As they help out, it will help them expand their circle of friends, too. They might find themselves making friends who live close by.
Create New Social Circles
It’s easy to give up making friends as you age. Your parents retired and lost touch with co-workers. Neighbors moved away. Long-time family friends moved out of state to be closer to grandchildren or children.
If your parents’ social circles are getting smaller, they don’t have to give up. They should start making friends in new places. Volunteering is one way to do this. Joining a local walking group, senior center, or support group are other ways.
Hobbies can be another way to meet others. Hobbies like bicycling, bird watching, and orienteering get your parents out into nature and meeting new people.
Find Fun Ways to Communicate Online
Video chat, email, and instant messaging are not the only ways to stay in touch online. There are game sites and systems that allow you to “friend” each other and play games online. The games don’t have to be fighting games that your parents don’t find appealing. They could play word games, trivia games, or detective games together.
You may not be able to visit your parents as often as they’d like. Instead, arrange elder care services to make sure they have regular social visits. Caregivers provide companionship that prevents those feelings of loneliness. Elder care is also a good way to make sure your parents have help setting up video chats with their grandchildren, children, nieces/nephews, and family friends.