What to Do When Your Loved One Is Isolating

senior shut in

senior shut inIsolation is a common occurrence with seniors. There are many reasons this occurs, but what most seniors agree on is that isolation just seems easier for them. You probably don’t agree with that since you fear that isolation is causing additional distress for your loved one, but that’s not always the case.

Why Seniors Want to Isolate

The reasons seniors want to isolate are:

  • They don’t feel as though they need to meet anyone new.
  • It can be exhausting to leave the house.
  • With age comes aches and pains, which can make it hard to get out and about. Even when they make it out, they end up not enjoying themselves because they become tired and suffer from pain.
  • When a senior loses his or her spouse, going out can be sad for them because they no longer have that lost loved one to share in the fun.
  • Some seniors simply are happier at home. They may have always been homebodies.

When It’s Time to Worry

Isolation comes in different degrees. Some seniors will remain in their home, but will leave to shop for groceries, pay bills, or attend a church service. Other seniors end up voluntarily shutting themselves in their house – also called “shut in.” This can be a problem if the senior doesn’t have the services they need to survive, such as food delivery. In addition, it can be quite cumbersome for family members who care for these seniors. Doing everything for your older loved one because he or she won’t leave the house can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration. This is a time when you should worry, and start to put together a set of services to help your loved one.

What to Do for a Shut In Loved One

You cannot make your loved one leave the house. It’s not a good idea to argue about it. Instead, come up with a solution that pleases the both of you.

  • Set up food delivery such as Meals on Wheels.
  • It’s also important to ensure all of the bills are being paid on time, so nothing is turned off that could put your loved one in danger. You can set up automatic payments for some bills, and others you may have to work with your loved one on mailing them or paying them online.
  • Ensure that your loved one receives the medical care he or she needs with a home nurse. This is someone who can come by the home as much as you would like.
  • If there isn’t a home nurse to check on your loved one each day, try to visit him or her or call. There should be some communication, so that you know your loved one is okay.
  • Consider personal consulting for your loved one. A personal consultant can speak with your loved one for an hour or more as often as needed. Many shut in seniors love to have a personal consultant because they are able to vent to someone who will really listen. Remember, he or she is spending a lot of time alone, and that can be quite lonely. A talk with a confidant, like a personal consultant, can make all of the difference when it comes to quality of life.

As you’re putting together your plan for your loved one, consider including me – a personal consultant. I am happy to speak with you more about this service. Simply contact me through my website. We can set up a time to talk and I can speak with your loved one to see if it would be a beneficial addition to his or her life.

Image courtesy of Borya from Flickr Creative Commons

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