Aging is associated with many arising problems, which include both physical difficulties and complex psychological issues. Given modern families’ nature, in old age, people are often left alone, as children and grandchildren leave to live separately. Even in those cases, when the family lives together, retirees have an excess of free time, which potentially leads to the development of a sense of loneliness. This paper aims to investigate the case of Mr. and Mrs. Arahan and formulate answers to such a scenario’s problematic central points.
First of all, it is necessary to understand that a financially elderly couple has a reasonably stable condition. From a material point of view, the Arahan couple is not in danger. In this context, improving the quality of life affects rather the spiritual part related to communication. At the moment, Mr. and Mrs. Arahan are suffering from loneliness, as the life and leisure of their children and grandchildren do not coincide with their own. Simultaneously, they do not experience complete social isolation since the married couple lives with their children and grandchildren and has a certain amount of social ties (Perissinotto et al., 2019). This situation is dangerous because it can potentially cause the accelerated development of many severe conditions: from anxiety and depression to cardiovascular diseases (“Loneliness and social isolation,” 2020). However, this can be prevented by using several strategies to combat feelings of loneliness and improve life quality.
The simplest solution is to build and maintain active social relationships. Although this method seems too commonplace and is often challenging to implement, it gives the most efficiency. Since loneliness consists of the subjective feeling of being alone and the discrepancy between expected relationships and reality, it is necessary to strive to build the desired social relationships (Perissinotto et al., 2019). The Arahan family’s case is complicated because they are immigrants and arrived in the United States not so long ago, leaving family and friendships in another country. However, the development of modern technologies makes it possible to ignore distances since there is the possibility of free voice and video communication via the Internet (“21st-century strategies,” 2020). Besides, similar technological solutions make it possible to find new contacts, for example, in Internet groups by interests, which can then be transferred into real communication.
Another strategy, partially related to the previous one, is the use of various community resources. For example, there are special programs designed to bring lonely and older people together. Such events aim to build new social ties based on existing common interests, or through the formation of new affections, from books to art clubs (“21st-century strategies,” 2020). Besides, there are many volunteer programs aimed at helping older adults.
Finally, there are many large-scale national resources available to help those suffering from loneliness and social exclusion. For example, Area Agencies on Aging AAA is a network of more than 600 organizations across the United States (“Loneliness and social isolation,” 2020). The programs on this list focus on providing information, connecting people, observing nutrition, support with caregivers, and more. AAA branches can be found in almost all major cities in the United States. The Arahan family lives in the metropolis; therefore, they can find one without much difficulty.
Help can also be found much closer, without the need to go online or travel somewhere. First of all, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arahan can affect the growing feeling of loneliness. There are many ways to show affection; however, even a banal reminder that parents are loved and appreciated can cheer them up and brighten their days (“10 ways to help seniors,” n.d.). In addition, it is necessary to increase the amount of time spent together. At the moment, even the number of shared family dinners has decreased due to the focus of children at work and grandchildren at school. Although these reasons are understandable, it is necessary to try to devote at least a small part of free time to the elderly, thereby encouraging social interaction. Besides, honest and open conversations on this topic and joint discussion of everyday things can help. If the daughter can find a common language with her parents and discuss the situation, this will help the elderly rethink their life and adapt to the changed conditions.
Finally, she can help parents stay physically active by actively promoting various kinds of gymnastics and exercises. There is no need for complex heavy training, as research shows that even a little constant physical activity helps retirees stay in good physical and mental condition (“10 ways to help seniors,” n.d.). Many of these techniques are being promoted through the community resources mentioned above. For example, local AAA branches can provide Tai Chi classes (“Loneliness and social isolation,” 2020). Besides, such events allow finding new acquaintances, which, again, is one of the critical aspects of dealing with loneliness. Finally, even simple activities like walking and climbing stairs are considered extremely beneficial to health. Consideration should also be given to a healthy diet and proper medication, if available. In this, the Arahan family can be helped by both her daughter, since she lives directly with her parents, and various community services that promote healthy eating.
Thus, the primary strategy for dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation is to increase the amount of communication. This process can proceed through relatives through strengthening contacts and finding new common interests and public resources of various scales. Finally, another factor is engaging in various recreational activities, including light exercise and diet monitoring.
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Perissinotto, C., Holt‐Lunstad, J., Periyakoil, V. S., & Covinsky, K. (2019). Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 67(4), 657-662. Web.