A strong friendship with a best friend is often one of the longest relationships that people have. A true best friend provides support and love, and it means there’s always someone there that understands them. Elderly people with a best friend are certainly fortunate because their friendships have spanned decades. However, as seniors age, they become less mobile and more susceptible to the illnesses and injuries associated with growing older. All this means that elderly people are often lonely because their social networks are shrinking with every passing year.
Loneliness is a serious problem among elderly people. Fortunately, loneliness can be overcome, especially when there is a best friend or two that seniors can stay connected with. Family caregivers can be a big help in assisting elderly relatives in staying in touch with best friends, whether they live close or far away.
Here are 8 ways that seniors can stay in touch with best friends…
-1.) Hold regularly scheduled phone calls or video chats at about the same time every week. This helps seniors gather information they want to share with each other during the week, and gives them a social opportunity that they look forward to.
-2.) Introduce them to social media and communication technology, such as texting, email, and social media. Depending on the elderly person’s abilities and aptitudes, this can be an excellent way to stay in touch with best friends.
-3.) Seniors can prepare thoughtful gestures for the best friend, such as sending a card to commemorate an event or birthday, or sending a small gift just because they care.
-4.) Anyone can set up a long-distance book club or movie club. Simply agree on the book or movie to view and then get together, in real life or online, and discuss it.
-5.) Coordinate meetups at community events such as the local senior citizen’s center, church or other location that they two friends have in common and where others in their social network might also be.
-6.) Family caregivers can help arrange outings between the two elderly friends by coordinating with family members, elder care assistants and others to make it happen. It can be at a park, restaurant or in each other’s homes.
-7.) It’s never too late to learn a new hobby together, such as gardening, knitting, building models, crossword puzzles or video games. Seniors can get together to work together, or try things separately and then compare notes.
-8.) Plan a trip down memory lane for two best friends by gathering photo albums, home videos and other mementos. Then have them reminisce about their friendship as it is being recorded for posterity.
No matter what age, best friends provide each other with support and companionship through the ups and downs of life. Elderly people that are best friends have likely weathered some of the biggest challenges and greatest triumphs possible, and that friendship should be nurtured as much as possible.
Family caregivers that see their elderly relative’s social network fading out over the years need to make a special effort to help them combat loneliness and devote themselves to their long-lasting friendship.
If you or an aging family member are considering hiring a caregiver in Marietta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Caring Companions of Atlanta 470-514-5954.