Over the past several months, I have started to notice something about the customers who go to coffee shops in the middle of the afternoon. Many of them were older adults. Some sat chatting with others but many were seated alone reading, either on their phone, tablets or laptops.
I didn’t think very much about these folks until a friend of mine, a woman in her mid-seventies told me that after her husband passed away, staying home made her sad and that feeling then made it hard for her to leave the house. On days when she felt motivated, she would leave to attend a class but on most days she went to a coffee shop with her device to read so she could be around people. It didn’t help her feel much better but she knew to stay home all the time was worse.
I started to think more about the people I saw in the places I would go to for an afternoon shot of caffeine. Were they feeling the same way? Humans are inherently social creatures. Was being by yourself among strangers good enough? If my friend is right, it’s better than being at home and lonely. Good enough isn’t great either.
People want social connections that are meaningful and purposeful. For that to happen the contact or connection needs to bring quality to that person’s life. This becomes more difficult for older adults who do not leave their homes. The reasons for that are varied but what they have in common is that they are at high risk for the negative effects of loneliness and social isolation. The good news is that there are non-medical and non-clinical ways to address those issues with in-home recreation visits.
In-home recreation visits are more than a friendly visits program. In-home recreation visits are goal-oriented sessions that promote quality of life. They are based on past and current interests. They are multi-dimensional. They are individualized. They are designed to support and provide connection. They go beyond good enough.