Our Aunt Mary never learned to drive. She took public transportation, walked or relied upon relatives. When she and those relatives both began to age, her ability to leave her home lessoned. This is more common than you would think and can become not only a safety risk (if no one visits and the senior is home alone and falls, etc) but also puts them at risk for depression and other behavioral issues.
Socialization is important for all humans and seniors are no exception. Interaction affects mood, health and even longevity. If you have a loved one who is experiencing barriers to leaving their home, there are options in the community. Some of those options are:
- Adult Day Care Centers – where your loved one can interact with other seniors, enjoy a good meal, socialize, read, and enjoy activities. Many will pick you up for a small fee and there is normally a fee for attending the Day Care.
- Senior Centers – they have lunches, activities and exercise programs specifically for seniors. Many have volunteers who will pick you up.
- Private Duty Aides – there are several companies who provide companionship and care for seniors. Many of these companies work to match seniors with aides who share in their likes and experiences. There are also companies who hire seniors to work with seniors.
- Senior Living – there is also the option to move to an independent or assisted living situation where your loved one is surrounded by their peers and the communities provide activities.
- Pet Therapists – there are organizations who provide trainers and their pets for a fee (or in the case of some senior centers, senior living and day care centers – free visits provided by those centers).
- Companionship Services – see Private Duty Aides above. There are also some school programs that match seniors with students (these programs are normally in senior living or day care settings).
- Grocery Shopping – see Private Duty Aides (they are able to grocery shop for your loved one and will do their best to include the senior in the experience). There are also services available for errands such as grocery shopping.
- Family – if family is close by, setting up a schedule and dropping in can go a long way for your loved one.
Your and your loved one are not alone. There are organizations and companies out there that can help with your concerns about being alone.