As she ages, your mom’s social circle has dwindled. She used to have dozens of friends and coworkers, but now she’s lucky if she sees one person each month. Her mobility keeps her from going out, and she’s not at work and socializing each day.
Socialization is a vital part of healthy aging, yet it’s also something that changes as you age. The number of friends you have can change after retirement, as people move to other areas to be closer to family or in an area with a lower cost of living, and to illnesses and death.
An inactive social life increases the risk of developing health issues like heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. People who eat alone are more likely to choose fast, convenient meals or takeout, and those are often high fat, high sodium, and high sugar.
It’s clear that daily social contact benefits your mom’s mental, emotional, and physical health, so what do you do to help her build a stronger social network?
Get Her Involved in Her Community
Volunteering is a great way to socialize and develop an active social life. If your mom isn’t involved in her community, encourage her to do so. There are many ways she can join in.
She’s an excellent quilter. Your mom could start quilting classes at her local library or community center. She could join a community gardening group that grows vegetables for local food shelves.
If she cannot leave the home without a driver, there are still ways to join her community. Many senior centers provide free transportation if asked. She could attend a book group, afternoon luncheon, or Yoga class. You can hire a caregiver to drive her if that’s better for your mom’s needs.
Stop by After Work
If you live nearby, stop in after work and have your dinner at your mom’s house. If others in the family can also join you, make sure they do. If everyone brings a salad, entree, or main dish, no one has to take the time to cook a full meal. It saves time and boosts socialization.
Invite Neighbors Over
Does your mom know her neighbors? Do you? Get to know them. Host a barbecue and invite them over to meet your mom.
You might find that a new mom would love to have company on walks. If your mom could push the stroller while the mom chases after her toddler, it benefits both of them.
Arrange to Have Caregivers Visit Often
If you’re not close enough to visit your mom each day, make sure she has companion care at home. Caregivers can stop by each day, join your mom for a healthy, home-cooked meal, and take her on fun outings.
With a caregiver’s help, your mom can actively volunteer in her community, go for walks to get enough exercise, and safely spend time in her gardens. Reach out to a companion care at home specialist to learn more.
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