How to prevent social isolation with widowed men for Father’s Day – Expert shares tips

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the community, lockdown has become a stressful and lonely time for many.

 

According to health and research professionals, social isolation often has serious mental health consequences, particularly for men over 60[1]. And with 66% of men over the age of 80 in Australia being widowers[2] and many states in lockdown, feelings of social isolation and loneliness amongst men is exacerbated[3].

 

When faced with losing a partner, many older men endure chronic loneliness but don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings with others, ultimately resulting in deteriorating physical and mental health.

Photo credit: Bruno Martins

Father’s Day falls on the 5th of September this year (2021) and is the perfect time to check in on the wellbeing and mental health of the men in our lives, particularly those who live alone or reside in isolated areas.

 

Sarah Warner, Founder of Home Instead Australia says, “There is generally an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation for widowed men who lose their life partner. This is even more evident for those in areas of lockdown during the current pandemic and these men are not able to see their family and socialise with friends.

 

In light of Father’s Day, Sarah has offered her tips on how to help widowed men prevent social isolation:

 

1. Arrange a Zoom call or FaceTime –This Father’s Day, make time to reach out and hear the voice of those you love. This doesn’t just need to be a one off catch-up, implement regular calls into your routine to help ease the feelings of loneliness or isolation.

 

2. Encourage them to meet Up with friends and family – Socialising is one of the best ways to improve one’s physical and mental wellbeing. When not in lockdown, arrange a time and a place to meet (outside if you can) and enjoy one another’s company.

 

3. Get a fluffy companion – Pets, particularly dogs and cats, can ease loneliness and help to significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Having a pet has also been found to increase both cognitive stimulation and physical exercise.

 

4. Find your green thumb – Plants, herb gardens, flowers and gardening have also been found to relieve stress and loneliness. Giving a loved one/widow a plant will help them to combat their loneliness as they will be required to redirect their energy into caring for a living, breathing present. Plants also increase the amount of oxygen circulating through the air and brighten up a home.

 

5. Assist in finding a community group –When someone you love is dealing with loss, particularly widowers who are grieving the passing of their partner, it is necessary to help them to surround themselves with people and encourage them to maintain social interaction. Finding a community group of people with the same interests is a great way to relieve loneliness and find happiness and reignite passions in other areas of life.

 

6. Organise a helping hand - For widowed men who are elderly, it can help to organise and engage with a CAREGiver. A CAREGiver can provide support with day-to-day tasks, allowing seniors to live safely and cared for while at home. This companionship can also assist with feelings of social isolation and provide a listening ear.

 

[1] https://www.urologytimes.com/view/impact-loneliness-men-over-age-60

[2] https://aifs.gov.au/publications/demographics-living-alone

[3] https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tre.763

 

28 August 2021.