If you have an elderly parent, you undoubtedly prioritize his or her physical well-being. While keeping your mother or father physically fit is certainly important, you cannot forget about your parent’s mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor mental health can lead to a variety of physical ailments. While many factors may cause a person’s mental health to decline, loneliness is particularly dangerous for the mental well-being of seniors.
Why do seniors experience loneliness?
Older adults are increasingly vulnerable to isolation and loneliness for a couple of reasons. First, they often develop empty nest syndrome as children grow and move away from home. Furthermore, elderly Americans may have to leave their homes to move into nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Doing so, though, may deprive older adults of their sense of community.
What improves loneliness?
As a caring child, you have a role to play in your parent’s psychological health. If you discover your mother or father is struggling with isolation, it may be beneficial to increase your visits and phone calls. You also may want to encourage your parent to participate in social activities.
If your parent’s loneliness is extreme, you may not be able to combat it on your own. That is, you may need to seek professional help. A licensed counselor or therapist may not only uncover the source of your parent’s loneliness but he or she is also likely to recommend coping strategies or even medication.
Ultimately, because mental health therapy is often expensive, it may be advisable to include it in their estate plan.