Q. I don’t have a lot of family living near me, but I have a few good friends that I can always rely on for support, help when I need it, and for having fun. As we were making plans for the July Fourth holiday, we thought about those that may not have family or friends close by. Any suggestions about what my friends and I could do?
A: What a great idea! Summer is that time we are getting outside, planning trips or gatherings, and just generally looking for fun and relaxation. But you are correct, there are many older adults who don’t have relatives or a group of friends to get together with.
Loneliness and social isolation can be harmful to a person’s physical and mental health, and research tells us that in person (and even online) interactions go a long way to making a difference.
The good news is there are lots of ways to connect with those who might be isolated at home on holidays (or any time). Sometimes it’s just simple things like offering to take someone to a neighborhood parade, block party, or fireworks display.
There are lots of local events happening to choose from so check out your town’s Fourth of July events or those listed on social media sites. If you have a neighbor or acquaintance who would prefer to stay home, consider spending some time together watching the fireworks or a Fourth of July concert on TV.
Taking a trip or visiting a historical site? It may be you have some extra room to bring someone else along – it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if you aren’t or cannot travel, take a virtual trip and share the experience. The Boston Freedom Trail, Museum of the American Revolution, the Statue of Liberty, and the monuments in Washington, D.C., all offer virtual tours.
No matter how you celebrate, Independence Day is a great time to connect with others and celebrate this country.
Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email email@example.com. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.