It’s getting harder for your dad to go out alone. He can no longer drive, and public transportation isn’t an option. You try to visit often, but how do you make sure he doesn’t feel isolated or lonely?
Proximity to Family and Friends
Having friends and family members nearby and able to visit often can greatly reduce the likelihood of your dad feeling lonely or isolated. But it’s unlikely the entire family lives near him, which can often make visiting hard and infrequent.
Discuss with siblings and other family members when you’re able to visit with your loved one in order to spread out visits rather than all visiting together infrequently. This is especially helpful for family members who don’t live near your dad, because these trips are generally planned further in advance. Planning visits ahead of time with dad can also give him something to look forward to.
If he doesn’t already, help your loved one get to know neighbors so more acquaintances are nearby. Neighbors can easily check in on your dad and might quickly notice if something is wrong. Ensure your dad has phone numbers for neighbors in case he needs help when others are unavailable. Be sure to inform neighbors of the situation and give them signs to look out for.
Animals such as dogs and cats can provide companionship for individuals living alone. Trained dogs can also provide protection for your loved one by alerting neighbors that something may be wrong. Large dogs can also ward off thieves, keeping your dad and his belongings unharmed. Before getting a pet, ensure that your dad is able to care for the animal or a caregiver can provide pet services.
Include your dad in holiday celebrations by holding the family gathering at his home. If a family gathering is not in the plans, ensure that someone will be able to visit with your dad on big holidays so he does not have to celebrate alone. This is especially important if your loved one has a distinct love for the holidays.
Because visiting in person is not always a possibility, make sure your dad has the technology to keep in touch with those who can’t visit. Purchase easy to use cell phones and computers for quick and easy communication. Make sure to teach your dad how to use the technology and leave him instructions in case he forgets. If he has a caregiver, also leave instructions for these devices with them so they understand and can help if necessary.
Finding a few hobbies your dad can enjoy alone can help pass the time between visitors. Arts and crafts, bird watching, games, and reading are all possible hobbies to try out.
Hire a Regular Caregiver
If your dad is regularly alone in his home, it can be beneficial to have a caregiver who visits on a regular basis. This individual should be more than just a care provider, but should also be willing to have friendly conversations and meals with your dad on a regular basis.
If it is difficult for family members and friends to visit, or if your dad lives in an extremely rural area, you may want to consider relocation options. This may include a care community or moving in with a family member or friend.