Last Updated: June 17, 2019
Spending time with family and visiting parents and senior loved ones has huge benefits for their health, primarily keeping them emotionally happy and physically young. Recent studies in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior have shown social isolation to be associated with cognitive decline, a decline in health and increased rates of infection and even mortality.
Learn more about how to help your loved ones avoid these issues by visiting with them more frequently.
Maintaining frequent communication and visiting with the seniors in our lives can help them ward off detrimental cognitive and physical problems as they age.
Learn more about how to help keep senior loved ones feeling happy and young through these six benefits:
If your parent lives alone, a visit can clue you into any signs of declining cognition, health or mobility. If they have home care assistance or live in a senior living community, a visit is a perfect time to make sure their living situation is keeping them happy and healthy. Learn the signs of common health problems as well as markers of abuse, so that you can detect any problems early.
Perhaps the most important reason to visit loved ones is the chance to check up on their happiness and health and make sure nothing has changed to concern you since the last time you saw them. If they suffer from chronic illness, how are they coping? Do they need extra help with care, chores, finances or medications? Do they just need a little encouragement to ensure healthy nutrition and fitness? Our “Senior Safety and Well-Being Checklist” can help you pinpoint any potential areas of need.
Just as visits can bring back positive memories, there are times when they can get us down, too, especially if your senior family member is grieving a spouse or living alone. A visit from loved ones can help everyone stay connected and feel less lonely, especially far-flung family members and can ward off any depression, social isolation or stress.
Just as reminiscing can help our parents and senior loved ones feel young and happy, taking the time to create new cherished memories will ensure that the entire family has good times to look back on in the future. Visits can do just that, whether it’s a cheerful and memorable party, a quiet group stroll or simply the joys of getting the family together for food and fun.
It may feel like a given, but sometimes it takes your physical presence to make your loved ones happy. Taking time out to spend with them throughout the year is a valuable reminder that you love them and are thinking of them even when you’re not able to be around. Let them know that you care about their long-term well-being.
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Visits also serve as a time to reminisce about past happy get-togethers with family. Albums, conversation, home videos, music and photos can prompt nostalgia. These memory prompts can be beneficial to those with dementia and memory loss, too — many of our strongest memories are connected with the sights, smells and sounds of visits which can bring back those happy times for our senior loved ones and ourselves.
Sometimes it’s impossible to swing an in-person visit, no matter how much we might want to check on our loved ones and spend some time with them.
Fortunately, there are other ways that we can, and should, remind our senior loved ones that we’re thinking of them, like through:
This correspondence can help us stay in contact throughout the year. Of course, we can simply pick up the phone, too — a simple phone call can do so much to help reduce loneliness. Also, thanks to modern technology, video chat programs like FaceTime and Skype can bridge the miles and enable us to see our loved ones face to face.
So, there’s no excuse to not visit a senior loved one, in person or virtually, and the benefits are enormous. Visiting loved ones makes them happy, makes you happy and is key to keeping them feel young.
Are you planning on visiting loved ones, virtual or otherwise? Let us know how you help keep your parents and senior loved ones happy and young in the comments below.