Five ways to keep your loved one connected

Social connection is really important as your loved ones grow older; we share some tips to help them stay socially connected.

Long-term feelings of loneliness aren’t good for anyone’s mental or physical health; in fact, they’re one of the biggest risk factors for depression and anxiety. 
 
The good news is there is plenty you can do to help prevent social isolation and loneliness. We’ve put together some ideas to help you keep your loved ones connected as they get older.

Spend quality time together

Spending quality time with your loved one is important, particularly if you think they might be lonely. You can also encourage them to get together with other friends or family members who are important to them and who make them feel good. Time spent with those we love can help to establish and deepen rewarding, supportive and meaningful relationships. Beyond Blue’s Connections Matter booklet provides some suggestions for making the most of these relationships.

Keep in regular contact

Little things we do can have a big impact on emotional wellbeing. So make time to catch up with your loved one through regular phone calls or emails. Also think about how often you can engage them in everyday activities; perhaps you could help them attend more family meals, special occasions or outings within the local community. 
Father and son walking along beach

Join a club or two

Encourage your loved one to connect with those outside their existing social circle by perhaps joining a book club, taking some dancing classes or a short course to learn more about a topic they’ve always been interested in. 

Consider your loved one’s interests and level of mobility and perhaps do some homework together. Contact the local council for some great community ideas that can be help to widen their social circle.  Who knows – there may be an opportunity to forge long-lasting friendships! 

Volunteer

Volunteering can help boost mental health by making people feel needed and giving them a purpose. Whether your loved one is fit and mobile, or struggles with getting around, there is a range of volunteering opportunities to suit just about anyone. Ask around  local community organisations for suitable ideas, which could range from volunteering at the local visitor centre to knitting toys for underprivileged children.

Incorporate connections with other health benefits

Catch-ups with friends don’t have to be all about eating cake and drinking coffee (although that’s lovely, too!). We all need to take good care of our health, so  why not suggest they try a seniors’ gym class with friends? Or perhaps you could take the lead by heading out for a walk together next time you visit.

 With a bit of extra thought, you can encourage your loved one to have an active and healthy social life and stay connected with their friends, family and wider community.
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