Seniors who live alone may not realize it, but they are often missing out on one of the great joys in life on a daily basis. Good conversation can invigorate the mind and body and keep a person feeling young and energetic. A lack of good conversation can make a person lethargic and lead to depression that can be detrimental to health in a number of ways if the senior can no longer summon the energy to take adequate care of them.
If a senior is able to tell a story or have a conversation, then obviously they are not alone. Companionship is important for people of all ages, but for a senior who may have lost a spouse of whose children have grown up and moved away, companionship may be the thing they crave most—even if they don’t realize it. A house that was once full of the sounds of a family can feel oppressive once it is empty. Loneliness can creep in without a person even realizing it, and once that happens, full-blown depression can’t be far behind.
It is an often-used stereotype that seniors sit around and talk about “the good old days” much of the time once they reach retirement. We joke about this characteristic, but it is well-known that sharing memories improves mood. Telling stories about how life used to be might seem like a triviality to a visiting family or friend, but often times, seniors live in their memories as much as they live in the present, and they take great joy in being able to share their past experiences with others.
Conversations, especially conversations between seniors and their grandchildren or other young children, can make seniors feel valuable. They are able to pass along knowledge to the younger generation, and assuming you can get your adolescent to put down their Nintendo or their iPad, they might actually learn something that they can’t find on the Internet. Conversations lead to friendships and deep relationships between seniors and children, and the memories of time spent together will be priceless for both.
It is important for a senior who is living alone to have someone to talk to on a regular basis. Going for days without having a conversation can lead to depression which can affect health in any number of different ways. Unfortunately, many seniors do not live close enough to friends and family to receive visits frequently. A home-care worker who is there to help a senior in more tangible ways may also be the conversational lifeline that a senior needs to help keep their mood afloat.