Taking Care of Something
Many experts note that the act of nurturing can relieve feelings of social isolation. Caring for a pet taps into one’s nurturing instinct. Obviously, before giving a pet as a gift, you need to make certain that the person is capable and willing to properly care for one. Tending a garden can also satisfy a person’s nurturing drive, therefore giving a senior a plant or gardening supplies as a gift can be helpful too.
Positive Body Image
As with all of us, compliments and positive reinforcement goes a long way toward boosting the self-esteem of a senior. Seniors can become self-conscious to the point that they avoid social interactions. Discourage them from fretting over their appearance or the cosmetic effects of aging. For seniors who are genuinely overweight, addressing the root problem by encouraging weight loss through healthy eating and exercise can be helpful too. Just remember to always be positive and sensitive in your efforts to address these particular issues.
Hearing and Vision Tests
Seniors with undiagnosed or untreated hearing problems might avoid social situations because of difficulty communicating or potential embarrassment. Encourage seniors to have their hearing checked regularly and have any problems treated. A hearing aid may be the only thing standing in between a senior and better social health. Vision tests are important too as sight problems might also limit a senior’s social interactions.
Availability of Adaptive Aids and Devices
Adaptive aids and devices, ranging from walkers to the already mentioned hearing aids, help seniors compensate for age-related deficiencies that may impede social interaction. Many seniors do not take full advantage of the devices available to them. Sometimes they may be embarrassed because they don’t want to appear or feel old. For others the device may be overly expensive and not covered by insurance. Both as a society and in our own families we need to encourage and facilitate the use of adaptive aids that make it possible for seniors to have active and involved social lives.