We know as we age isolation is a risk factor, we lose friends, family, loved ones. Marcie Fraser stresses how to keep senior citizens engaged and socially active.
A major concern for senior citizens is isolation and a problem that is way too common for many people. There are more senior citizens now than ever, depression and loneliness is prevalent.
"It’s actually about seventy percent of seniors have some level of depression.”
"I have few friends."
"I'd be bored being at home, there is only so much cleaning your house or whatever you can do."
Many shut in seniors go days even months, without a visitor.
Maureen Hopkins, Home Instead Senior Care Coordinator said, “Everyone knows that families get busy now and sometimes don't get a chance to visit mom or dad as often, so sometimes they get depressed and they become isolated."
Loneliness can also affect them physically, their nutrition can suffer.
"They don't like to eat alone and they don't eat enough or eat all,” said Hopkins.
Beat loneliness by volunteering. For the past eleven years, Peggy's volunteered at Saratoga Hospital every week.
Peg Abbondandalo, senior volunteer said, “I go around and visit patients. I like to get a smile when I see a patient. Some are very lonely here and I let them know somebody cares for them."
Same goes for Per Staubo, it gives him a reason to get out of the house.
"Sitting home and doing nothing makes you feel useless. Volunteering makes you feel useful,” said Staubo.
"Ninety nine percent of senior volunteers say the most important aspect of being a volunteer is they feel they are making a difference,” said Hopkins.
While many people are interested in volunteering, some are resistant. It's important to encourage them to keep an open mind.
“They fear of not fitting in with the group, the social outlet of that. Sometimes they get nervous, they do not get along with other seniors but generally people who are volunteers are alike and all get along” said Hopkins.
When Per volunteers, his objective is to speak to every patient.
Staubo said, “It's relaxing. It gives me a purpose, brings me happiness, no question about that."
"We are strong components of being active, mind, body, soul and volunteerism can do all three of those,” said Hopkins.