Isolation and Loneliness in Seniors – Is it Time to Venture Out of the House?

senior woman outside with male caregiver

Venturing out of the house after social isolation can decrease loneliness, but not without potential health risks.

After months of isolating, quarantining, and distancing from friends and family, stay-at-home orders have been relaxed this summer. However, for older adults in particular, is it safe to head out?

Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dry answer, and a number of criteria need to be taken into account to arrive at the best decision for each individual. For instance:

  • What health problems does the senior experience?
  • How challenging has it been for him or her to be isolated from family members?
  • Is the incidence rate for the virus waning or increasing in your town?

As a family caregiver, the best place to get started is to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation together with the senior. If your family member is unwaveringly and strongly set on a specific activity, for instance seeing the grandchildren or going for a walk at the neighborhood park, make sure he or she completely understands the potential risks involved.

Make certain you are also up to date on the current news from trusted sources regarding any new recommendations and/or precautions. Consider this information as just one piece of your decision-making process, however, as opposed to an end-all perspective.

Broach the subject with the older adult’s medical practitioner for a professional opinion as well as for assistance with weighing potential risk factors against the benefits of increased socialization and engagement in the community. Getting out of the house can decrease loneliness in seniors, but not without health risks. It may be appropriate to consult with other loved ones and carefully consider their input as well, prior to making the final decision on how to proceed.

Most importantly, take enough time to make sure you’re doing what’s most suitable for your loved one’s all around health and wellbeing, as opposed to making a quick decision that you might later regret. If you are still uncertain in regards to what to do, it may be best to be conservative, to avoid going out with your loved one and revisit the matter at another time. And remember that you always have the opportunity to change your mind if for any reason you are uncomfortable with your initial decision or circumstances changes.

Whether both you and your loved one are comfortable with the decision to go out and about or make the decision to continue staying at home, you can rely on Midnight Sun Home Care to assist with accompanied transportation, companionship, running errands such as picking up groceries and necessities, and a variety of other types of assistance, always in compliance with appropriate safety protocols. Give us a call at (907) 677-7890 any time to learn more about the leading provider of Alaska senior care throughout the Mat-Su Valley area, or to schedule a free in-home assessment.

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