FAQ Friday: My dad has become withdrawn socially, what can I do to help?

Social withdrawal may be related to many geriatric syndromes including hearing impairment, medication side effects, anxiety, early dementia or depression. Some of the signs can be avoiding travel or giving up driving,  reducing hobbies, giving up going out to restaurants/events, or making up excuses to avoid social time with friends or family. The loss of social contact, especially if they had once been really outgoing and active, can become a significant issue where the lack of social stimuli can lead to spiraling depression.

What can you do? once deciding if the depression is not physically or medically related, there’s definitely a lot to liven up that spark that you once knew.
Give your loved one new opportunities that might suit them.. there’s a possibility that they can find a sense of purpose in a related hobby that they once knew well, or they can volunteer their time with their fellow seniors, and find a place to catch up on social opportunities they have recently been lacking. Encourage exercise and bloodflow as this boosts metabolism and the heartrate to ensure that they stay heart healthy and are getting proper circulation to keep them from being vitamin deficient or feeling weak and unable to pursue the things they once loved.

Try to really get a sense of what they are going through and really understand how it is they are feeling.. don’t assume immediately there’s an easy pharmaceutical answer.. but try to understand the root of the problem from their perspective and what you can do to support them in a loving and giving way. Such as being there visiting, doing the activities that you used to do together or activities that will help them reminisce. Visiting often can help you observe from experience how any necessary prescribed medications are affecting your loved one in a physical and psychological way. It may be that they are suffering anxiety or sluggishness due to accidentally doubling up their dosage while at home.
What if I cannot be there as often as I would like? This part is actually pretty easy since we at AEC Home Care do provide companion care at reasonable rates. Even if it’s just to check up on your loved one occasionally if they are living alone and they can observe their physical and mental states, and make sure that their needs are being met or they would need to be referred to higher levels of care in our company or assigned a more advanced caregiver. If you’re interested in getting more detailed professional help for the person you love, contact us.