Design For Life

How do we motivate our 70-year-old mother to connect more with others?

This week, Dr Mark Rowe advises a reader who is concerned that their mother, who lives alone, has reduced her social activities and is becoming more isolated since the pandemic

Human beings all need social connections, not just to survive, but to thrive

Dear Expert,

I'm getting in touch because my siblings and I are concerned about our mother, who lives on her own in a rural setting. She has never been very sociable, but in recent years (and particularly with the pandemic), her circle of friends has shrunk. None of us lives close by. We do visit as often as we can, but it's obvious to all of us that she has aged considerably and also become increasingly forgetful. She’s 70 and pretty mobile, so we're not concerned about any immediate risks to her health. But we want to find a way of bringing some sense of community back into her life. She has left behind old hobbies such as bridge and golfing that she used to love. We think she’s acting as though she’s much older than she is. How do we get her to motivate herself?