Did you know that social connections keep us healthy as we grow older? Perhaps you already knew that, but you are wondering *how* you can encourage your senior parents to socialize more often. Sometimes older adults can be homebodies or get stuck in their ways, missing out on creating real social connections that could improve their mental and emotional well-being. If this scenario sounds a little too familiar, we have compiled some tactics to help you encourage Mom or Dad to socialize more.
Open communication. Start with an open and honest conversation about your concerns. Explain to your parents how staying connected with others can improve their overall well-being and quality of life. Highlight stories of others in your shared circle who have benefited from more social opportunities through a local community center or a senior living community. Make sure this is a true two-way conversation with Mom and Dad, not you telling them what to do. Address any concerns or questions they may have and try to sympathize if they express how difficult socializing may be for them.
Identify their interests. Discover what activities your parents enjoy and try to find groups or organizations that cater to those interests. Whether it’s joining a book club, gardening group, or art classes, finding activities aligned with their passions will make socializing more enjoyable for them.
Encourage volunteering. Volunteering is a win-win because it’s gives older adults the chance to socialize while also making a positive impact on their local community. Suggest volunteer opportunities that align with your parents’ skills and interests. For instance, if mom loves cooking, she can help serve food at her local food pantry. Not only will your loved ones meet new people, but they will also gain a sense of purpose.
Offer more help with transportation. Limited mobility or lack of transportation can often be a major obstacle for seniors who would like to be more social. When possible, offer to drive your parents to social events or help them arrange for transportation through Uber or Lyft. This may be just the support they need to stay connected with friends who may not live close by.
Set a regular schedule. Help Mom and Dad establish a weekly routine that includes regular activities with other people their age. Having a predictable schedule will make them more likely to commit to and look forward to socializing. For example, have Dad join a local Trivia night that takes place every Tuesday and ensure he has transportation each way.
Remember, encouraging your elderly parents to socialize regularly may require patience and persistence. They may be resistant at first, but by emphasizing the benefits and gradually introducing them to social opportunities, you can help them break out of their comfort zones.
Senior activities that improve socialization at UMC at Pitman
Group activities provide a chance for seniors to meet new people and build a sense of belonging. At our assisted living community in Gloucester County, we offer a range of activities like chair yoga, group meditation, bible study, trivia, gardening, and movie nights – to name a few. If your senior parents have mobility limitations, there’s no need to worry – we have caregivers onsite 24/7 to help escort them to scheduled activities and help foster connections between other residents who share the same interests.
In addition to group activities, UMC at Pitman provides amenities like a spacious community dining room where residents can gather for three nutritious meals a day. Shared meals not only promote healthy eating, but also create a more comfortable setting for seniors to engage in meaningful conversations with one another.
To learn more about our social senior activities in Pitman, NJ, please give us a call or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/pitman/
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/pitman/blog/five-tips-for-encouraging-your-senior-parents-to-socialize/