Loneliness is viewed as a social matter. It is defined as an individual’s act of keeping away or withdrawing from people or peers and even oneself. It can be painful and traumatic. According to Shaevitz, loneliness is connected to declining health conditions and the social relations of the elderly. Physical health is more in question because loneliness leads to little or no participation in physical activities. Long term loneliness might also affect the health indirectly in that; the elderly may resort to drug abuse like cigarettes that may, in turn, causing more damage to their lives. The extent and quality of social relations are also associated with loneliness; for instance, lonely people are less or not at all social. Nursing residents can be lonely for many elderly; imagine having to live with strangers at that age. If not taken into account, loneliness can easily lead to depression. It is essential to identify the causes of loneliness to introduce better solutions and avoid adverse effects. This paper will focus on ways to reduce loneliness in nursing homes. National and international social care have been emphasizing and adopting policies to address loneliness in nursing residents. Different organizations have addressed loneliness and other interventions to overcome loneliness and isolation among nursing residents. Interventions provide social relationships and reduce loneliness among older people. Studies have been conducted to address intervention regarding their activities, support, servicing, and even the internet. This paper focuses on some of the ways that can be used to treat loneliness in the nursing residents. The different ways of reducing loneliness include expression of love, promoting a sense of purpose, and encouraging social interaction.
Expression of love
Expression of love is the first way that can be used to reduce loneliness. People are exposed to different life experiences. Some are traumatizing, and while aging, these memories can trigger emotions that might, in turn, lead to loneliness. To tackle loneliness in nursing residents, one can provide emotional support. Talk to the elderly; they feel better when they are asked about how they are feeling. If the person is acting irritated, it is okay to ask them how they are feeling. It is also vital that their feelings are acknowledged. Reaffirm the seniors that it is okay to feel the way they think. The elderly should also be given attention, so they don't feel rejected. Their families should visit them in these residents, and spend time with them, so they feel at home. Some programs can also be initiated to support the elderly for instance; some people volunteer to visit the elderly and give other services that are not provided by these nursing residents. These volunteers can befriend the elderly and help them with their shopping or transport. The elderly will feel appreciated and loved when they feel some sense of affection. It is also crucial to learn what these individuals like to spend some quality time with them—some like watching nature, others like knitting clothes. Lending a hand to nursing residents is another way of showing affection. Occasionally they may feel weak and exhausted, the care staff and family should prove that their wishes are respected, and they can be assisted in any way. This will make the loneliness to feel that they are loved and this will make them to be engaged and not feel so much loneliness.
Promote a sense of purpose
The second way to reduce loneliness is to promote a sense of purpose. The purpose of life means having or finding meaning to present and experience. It also means having goals in life. Old age is not a disability. The society should not give the elderly an impression that they cannot participate in activities like other people, commonly referred to as community engagement (Shumaker 1). Lack of attention and engagement can lead to loneliness. When an individual is busy, the mind is occupied and are not likely to be lonely, their attention is diverted to something else. Community engagement consists of programs that make the elderly occupied and active. These programs provide a sense of purpose to the elderly so they can participate in existing activities. These activities include sports, music, or library usage. They may also learn a few things from their colleagues or social workers to help spend their free time. These residents obviously have more experience in life, they could help people in the community, and for instance, women can be taught how to knit and making special meals. The elderly could also join volunteer schemes, such as playing music and performing specific ceremonies or events. Nursing residents should be equipped with social facilities like swimming pools and gyms so these individuals can be active both physically and mentally. Physical health reduces anxiety and loneliness. The more active the elderly are, the less lonely they feel. Studies have proved that life's purpose has been connected with better health, decreased pain, and less dementia. The successful purpose of life has been characterized by social support and flexibility.
Encourage social interaction
The last way of reducing loneliness is by encouraging social interaction. In nursing homes, the residents are brought together, and they interact daily. Interacting with fellow residents becomes a particular part of their relationship. Starting conversations can be awkward or intimidating, but in nursing homes, the care staff strives to promote social interaction among the elderly (Elder par. 6). To encourage social interaction, the team should develop ideas like planned social engagements where bonding and interaction can be upgraded. Examples of these social engagements are; churches or special events in the homes. The staff can organize these activities monthly or weekly to provide platforms for interaction between the fellow residents and society (Yeo 2). The care staff should try to make conversations with the residents, ask about their families, or even feel. Small talks are essential to the elderly; they feel loved and cared about. The families of the residents should be able to participate in these special events that are held in nursing homes to increase the socialization chances of the seniors. Pets are essential to many people in society, including the elderly. Nursing homes allow a variety of pets to visit their families. Pets' companionship helps reduce the rate of anxiety and improve the residents; they groom, feed, or even walk the pets. Interacting with animals usually is a good experience when carried out carefully. Technology is another way to treat loneliness by encouraging social interactions. The modern innovations have promoted independence among the elderly. These technologies include mobile phones and GPS enabled devices. The elderly can link up with the community and family using mobile phones. Communicating with family can provide a sense of belonging, reduce anxiety, and decrease loneliness as they keep connected and engaged (Breeding 8). The elderly can be taught how to use these new technologies so that they can reach their loved ones when they need to.
The population of adults is increasing around the globe. As they age, they get vulnerable and need special care. Their health declines, so they may need the care to carry out daily activities like cleanliness and domestic duties. Families are adopting the nuclear family structure, so they opt to take the elderly into nursing homes. For these homes to provide better and efficient care, the specialists should consider their feelings and emotions. The most common feelings that should be considered are loneliness and solitude, as social relationships are essential for the health as well as physical well-being. Many older people tend to prefer nursing homes compared to individual therapy. However, this does not guarantee that they will not be lonely. Their families and society at large should be able to support and provide care for these residents. The community has the power to help residents tackle loneliness, and it has taken initiatives to assist the care staff in attending to them. The primary ways of addressing loneliness among the lonely are showing affection and care, providing a sense of belonging, giving purpose of life, and promoting social interaction. Governments around the world have adopted policies to reduce loneliness in these homes.
In order to provide proper treatment on loneliness, the care staff should strive on building an open and non-judging relationship between the residents. The nursing homes also need to have essential days on the calendar where their loved ones can visit the elderly. Some volunteers should be allowed to visit the elderly and engage them in different activities like playing music, spending quality time with the residents, and helping them daily. The elderly are our loved ones and should not feel rejected or lonely, and this is why this step would help to reduce loneliness.
Families and the nursing residents should also consider other forms of treatments like therapies, such as the group therapy. It aims at reducing the loneliness of individual or families by regrouping them such that they do not feel neglected. When regrouped, this promotes social interaction and a spirit of togetherness hence distraction from their mere thought of loneliness.
Breeding, Brad. "The Senior Loneliness Epidemic & Solutions to "Cure" It." My Life Site, 2017, https://www.mylifesite.net/blog/post/the-senior-loneliness-epidemic-solutions-to-cure-it/. Accessed 1 Sept 2020.
Elder. Why one is the Loneliest Number for The Elderly. https://www.elder.org/the-elder/one-is-the-loneliest-number-for-elderly/.
Shaevitz, Morton. "Defeating Loneliness: Stay In Touch With a senior." Psychology Today, 2018, p. single, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/refire-don-t-retire/201806/defeating-loneliness-stay-in-touch-senior. Accessed 1 Sept 2020.
Shumaker, Wendy. "Combating Loneliness in seniors." Homeland at Home, 2020, p. single page, https://www.homelandathome.org/combating-loneliness-in-seniors/. Accessed 1 Sept 2020.
Yeo, Samuel. "A Review of Emotional Support for Our Elderly." Coddlehealth, 2017, http://coddlehealth.com/review-emotional-support-for-elderly/. Accessed 1 Sept 2020.
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