Senior Loneliness is an Epidemic - Here's How You Can Help

Senior isolation has been an issue in the United States for many years.

Long before COVID-19 appeared and social distancing became the norm, many of America’s elderly citizens were grappling with chronic loneliness. Under today’s strict guidelines for interaction, the issue has become even more problematic. Poor health outcomes are associated with social isolation in this population, so what’s the best way to balance competing recommendations? If an aging family member or friend is struggling with feelings of isolation, you can help them combat these difficulties.

In the following article, we’ve compiled some simple ways that you can stay connected.


Check-in frequently.

Contact your elderly relative as often as you can throughout the week via phone or video chat. Does he or she have enough food, household goods, and cleaning products? Even if the cupboards and fridge are sufficiently full, consider dropping off a special delicacy or basket of goodies as a pleasant surprise. If you have senior neighbors, check in on them, as well.


Share a virtual meal.

What type of cuisine does your loved one prefer? Order some tasty seafood or mouthwatering Italian fare for both of you through a meal delivery service like Doordash or Grubhub. When it arrives, call him or her so you can chat during the meal. Make sure your senior knows how to use the speakerphone feature on the cellphone or landline phone so the dining experience can be its most enjoyable.


Send a ‘snail mail’ greeting.

Older family members and friends are likely to appreciate handwritten cards and letters more than any other age group. When they feel lonely or blue, re-reading the correspondence can provide a needed pick-me-up and a reminder of your love.


Encourage your loved one to help others.

Using a skill to assist others can provide rewarding feelings of purpose at any age. Knitting, crocheting, and sewing are skills that are in demand right now. Older generations are often experts at these kinds of crafts, so it’s a wonderful time to put those talents to good use.


Send a jigsaw puzzle.

If your loved one is a puzzle lover, have one delivered that’s suitable for his or her abilities. While some contain 2,000 or more pieces, there are also jigsaw puzzles available with as few as 15 pieces, which may be more appropriate for individuals with reduced vision or less dexterity. Mail-order companies exist that specialize in custom puzzles from photographs, so you could even have created from a picture of your family, a beloved pet, or a favorite vacation spot. 


Motivate them to stay active.

We sometimes forget that our physical and mental health is intertwined. Spending months in isolation without exercise will have a detrimental effect on your loved one. Urge him or her to take up a safe, low-impact activity that can be done at home, such as Tai Chi or yoga. A daily walk around the neighborhood or on a treadmill is another good option.


Travel the world via the Internet.

Does your loved one have a smartphone or access to the Internet? If so, he or she can take a free virtual trip to almost anywhere in the world.  Museums, national parks, and famous landmarks are just a click away.  Check out Travel and Leisure’s Twelve Famous Museum Tours, for example.


Connect to religious services.

Mass gatherings are limited for now, but most churches and places of worship are holding services online. If your loved one is a member of a specific house of worship, check to see if they are streaming their religious services. Encourage your senior to tune in if they’re able. If that’s not an option, many radio and TV stations also air religious services.

Do what you can to help your elderly loved ones to remain healthy, active, and involved. The efforts you make today may ultimately serve to strengthen relationships between generations and across communities.


If you have concerns about senior isolation or want to learn more about how you can help a loved one, we are here for you. Please contact our compassionate, caring team anytime.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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