A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study finds that about 33 percent of older adults feel lonely. Around a quarter of adults over the age of 64 are isolated. Hearing loss, shrinking social circles, and chronic illnesses all help to heighten feelings of isolation.
Being alone and feeling isolated impacts your health. One study found that social isolation increases the risk of dementia by as much as 50 percent. It also is believed to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke by around 30 percent.
To keep your parents from feeling lonely, you stop by each weekend and spend the day with them. On a rainy day, it’s harder to find activities that engage them. When you’re stuck inside, how do you keep your parents entertained?
Baking is good for working out kinks in arthritic hands. It’s also an excellent way to stock the freezer with baked muffins, bread, and rolls. Instead of letting a stand mixer do the work, let your parents knead the dough or stir batter by hand. It exercises the joints, helping to ease arthritis pain in the process.
You can also make crusts for pies and tarts. If you do, make the filling for pot pies at the same time. Fill a crust with the pot pie filling and wrap it in foil. When you need a hearty dinner and don’t want to spend time on food prep tasks, bake a frozen pot pie in the oven while you do the chores.
Pull out a board game that takes time to play. Chess, backgammon, and Monopoly are all good choices. If you want to try something new, games like Apples to Apples get you laughing. Ticket to Ride requires some logic and reasoning skills that help exercise the brain.
With an indoor hydroponic garden, your parents enjoy gardening inside their home. There are kits that make it easy to get started growing herbs and vegetables inside.
The growing tank is placed on a counter near an outlet. The water flows and provides nourishment to the developing plants. Many have attached LED lights to give the lighting the plants need to thrive.
Break out a puzzle and make it a complex one. Don’t go for a quick and easy 300-piece puzzle; choose one that will take time to assemble. A 1,000-piece puzzle will take more time and help stimulate the brain by tapping into spatial reasoning skills.
Talk to them about the benefits of companion visits from their local elder care agency. With elder care providers stopping by as often as they’d like, they have someone around. They can play games, watch movies, or join their caregivers for outings. Call an elder care professional to arrange services.