Having a strong support network is vital for seniors to maintain their overall well-being and quality of life. By cultivating meaningful connections and fostering a sense of community, seniors can experience emotional support, social engagement, and a greater sense of belonging. In this guide, we provide you with tips on how to build a support network when caring for an elderly relative.

How to Build a Support Network When Caring for an Elderly Relative

Benefits of a Family Support System

Increased Life Expectancy

When older adults maintain social connections with their family members, this can increase their life expectancy compared to those who are socially isolated. It may not be an obvious benefit, but a family’s presence can improve their overall health in their remaining years. This is also true for those with dementia.

Stronger Immune Systems

Older adults who have a family support system and regularly connect with others typically have stronger immune systems. This is a major benefit, especially since older adults tend to have weaker immune systems as they age. In turn, a healthier immune system will be better equipped to fight off illnesses that older adults come in contact with.

Improved Mental Health

Another benefit for seniors who stay close to family is having improved mental health compared to those who aren’t close to loved ones. It’s important for older adults to socialize with their family and to be reminded that they are loved and valued. This can help seniors be less likely to suffer from mental illnesses like depression.

Higher Levels of Cognitive Function

Older adults who stay socially connected also benefit from having higher levels of cognitive function. Studies have shown that those who enjoyed participating in social activities were more likely to have better memory and thinking skills. On the other hand, older adults who did not enjoy socializing experienced a decrease in their cognitive health.

Decreased Stress

Like any family, the type of support and interactions change over time. A parent who once supported and took care of their child will eventually have the roles reversed as the adult child cares for and supports the aging parent. This is a normal part of life.

For many aging parents, financial support is necessary to receive the medical care required as they age. When their family is able to offer this support, this can melt away some of the stress that an older adult may feel. This is important, especially when stress can weaken an older adults already weakened immune system.

Emotional Support

Additionally, emotional support is another major benefit of having a support system. It helps to have someone to talk to and listen to them about their good and bad days. This shows them that their family cares, which can have a positive impact on their outlook on life.

Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Another type of support is to help older adults perform daily activities, such as cleaning their house, going shopping, or even cooking. If an older adult has a bigger family, the family can take turns helping the older adult out. These simple acts can make a big difference in helping seniors not feel alone.

A family support system isn’t just beneficial, it’s crucial when caring for an elderly relative as it improves their mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being. For those who do not have nearby family, a close group of friends can still provide the same benefits.

Social Connections

Since not every older adult has family near them, they can still benefit from social connections and support from old and new friends. Studies have shown that having strong social connections has a positive benefit to seniors’ health, whether that is with friends or family.

If an older adult wants to make new friends, there are quite a few tips to achieve this great goal. Older adults can visit their local pool, volunteer at a local organization, take a community class for seniors, or join a gym. There are plenty of options to discover new friendships and stay connected with others. Here are a few ways for aging adults to make social connections,

1. Social Clubs or Organizations

Firstly, look for clubs or organizations in your area or within your community that align with your interests. Whether it’s a book club, gardening group, or sports team, these kinds of gatherings give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people and form long-lasting friendships built on a mutual interest.

2. Engage in Faith-Based Activities

Sharing faith can be a powerful way to connect with others. When people connect with others who share the same beliefs and values, it can be easier to create deeper, more long-lasting friendships. So, whether it’s attending religious services, joining bible study groups, or engaging in prayer circles, it can be the perfect way to build a supportive community that can offer spiritual guidance and solace during challenging times.

3. Try New Things

Many local communities offer a wide range of activities and programs you can take part in that are specifically tailored to older adults. So, why not try something new? From exercise classes and educational workshops to support groups and hobby clubs, community programs can provide a supportive environment to interact, socialize, and build connections with peers. People who try new things together can benefit from the camaraderie of shared experiences and resources available in these community-focused settings.

4. Technology for Social Connections

Embracing technology can certainly be daunting for older adults. However, it can open up a world of possibilities to connect with others. Online platforms, social media, and video chat applications enable you to stay connected with family members, friends, and distant loved ones. Additionally, virtual communities, discussion forums, or online interest groups tailored to your passions can be a great way to make new friends all from the comfort of home.

Building a supportive network is crucial for everyone, especially those in their senior years. By actively participating in faith-based activities, joining social clubs, attending community events, utilizing technology, engaging in senior center programs, and seeking support from family and friends, you can cultivate meaningful connections, foster a sense of belonging, and enhance overall well-being.

Who Should I Include in My Support Network?

Getting people to help you with certain tasks works better with a well-thought-out plan rather than trying to find help in an emergency situation. This plan will provide you — and the people assisting you — with confidence that the assistance you need will be there when you need it.

Family, friends, neighbors, professionals, and your community are all part of your care team. Start building your support network by identifying a decision-maker you trust. Often this person is a family member or friend. Have a conversation with this person about the type of help you may need and your long-term priorities. Build up your team with other helpers.

Your care team should include:
  • Family members, whether living with you or living across the country
  • A close friend(s)
  • Neighbors or others who may help with your day-to-day tasks
  • Your general practitioner, neurologist, counselor, and/or other specialist
  • A volunteer from a community organization, members of your church, or other social group

Tips to Develop Your Care Team

  • Identify which friends, family, and neighbors may be willing to help you.
  • Discuss the help you may need. Have a conversation with each person who may be willing and able to assist you.
  • Be specific. State clearly what help is needed or may be needed in the future.
  • Ask if you could do things together. Examples include shopping or preparing meals.
  • When asking for help, seek individuals who are willing to listen and who care. Avoid people who seem judgmental, critical, or blaming.
  • If someone isn’t able to help you, don’t blame yourself. It’s usually not because of anything you did but has more to do with what’s going on with the other person.
  • Say thank you! Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and thanking people makes it more likely that they will help again in the future.

Having a supportive network of family and friends does not mean that one should seek to make as many friends as possible for the sake of doing so. Instead, one should strive to focus on the several important relationships with a handful of people in their social circle and strengthen these relationships.

It is about building and maintaining a network of people that you can trust and fall back on in times of difficulty. By putting in the time and effort to maintain your relationships, you will enjoy the positive returns from the strong connections you have with the people in your life. Show appreciation for your loved ones from time to time to remind them of how important they are to you. Very often, a simple ‘How are you?’ or ‘I’m glad that you are in my life’ note shows that you care and value them.


Being a family-owned business, the owners of Promedcare are engaged in the day-to-day operations and get to know both clients and caregivers on a first-name basis.  Having both owners and staff present vs. working remotely with our clients creates a feel of FAMILY and allows Promedcare to create an environment of care that reduces turnover and increases dedication to the brand.  We provide 24/7 service with the ability to interact with Senior Management and the owners as needed.

Promedcare has evolved into a caring business that focuses on individuals’ specific needs and preferences. This type of care fosters independence, happiness, and a sense of familiarity by acknowledging older individuals’ desire to age in the comfort of their own homes.

For some, it’s to provide extensive ongoing care for an aging senior. For others, we offer a much-needed break or, respite care – such as a night out with a spouse, vacation, or simply a few hours of quiet time at home – for family members who provide regular care. We offer a wide range of care services customized for each individual client.

Promedcare services include Personal Care Services, Companion Care Services, Dementia / Alzheimer’s Care Services, and Respiratory Solutions.

Contact us today to see how Prodmedcare can help you!