10 Benefits of Companionship for Seniors
Most adults interact with several people regularly. From our co-workers to our spouses, we have plenty of opportunities for social engagement. Unfortunately, as we get older, things begin to change. But one thing that remains constant is the importance of companionship for the elderly.
Whether we stay involved in the community or simply have a regular conversation with a family member every day or week, socialization is important. Companionship in old age has numerous benefits. Read on to learn why companion care services may be a good idea for your loved one.
- Prevents Loneliness and Depression
Sometimes, an older person will outlive their loved ones, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. In the United States, approximately 35% of adults between ages 60 and 69 are affected by loneliness. Additionally, 25% of adults over age 70 are affected, as well.
When seniors cannot have regular social interaction, their personal care habits and diet can decline, and they stop enjoying life. Eventually, these feelings of isolation can lead to clinical depression. When a companion is there to be with them, seniors will feel loved and supported. Elderly companionship is one crucial way to help them uplift their mood and feel more energized about life.
- Helps with Grieving
The loss of a loved one is never easy on anyone, especially the elderly. During the grieving process, some may lose their appetites or develop poor sleeping habits.
Sharing the memories they had with their spouse, child, or best friend often helps seniors heal. Having a companion gives them someone to share with and encourages the healing process.
- Creates a Connection to the Outside World
The elderly often have trouble getting from place to place on their own. Another one of the many benefits of companionship for seniors is having a connection to the places they need or want to go.
A companion, whether it’s a loved one or not, can encourage seniors to attend social events and doctor’s appointments. They may also need to provide transportation or make other arrangements, but it keeps the elderly connected to the important events in their lives.
A companion may also schedule weekly lunches, attend the theater, or make any other social arrangement. Sharing activities with other people will stimulate the mind and keep their memory sharp. Of course, due to COVID-19, companions should make sure their activities are safe and incorporate sufficient social distancing.
- Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
A study published in 2016 by Harvard Medical School shows that people who suffer from loneliness are at a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. They are also at a 32% higher risk of having a stroke. These statistics show that loneliness is as much of a factor for heart disease as smoking and obesity.
- Reduces Stress
When a senior has companionship in old age, it can help reduce stress. A companion gives them someone to complete simple activities with, like playing cards or painting. Companions also help control a senior’s stress level and reduce the risk of depression. Furthermore, lower levels of stress will add to an increased quality of life.
- Faster Recovery
Another benefit of companionship for seniors is faster recovery from the pain associated with surgical procedures. Neuroscientists have concluded that seniors who have a friend or companion close by after medical treatment suffer less nerve-related pain.
Additionally, inflammation levels decrease faster, which helps with the recovery process. Companionship in old age can also prevent accidents that require medical attention.
- Boosts Confidence
Having a companion or friend can give the elderly back a sense of purpose. Encouraging friendships they’ve maintained will help them feel accomplished and enhance their self-esteem. Confidence is crucial to seniors because it can decrease feelings of fear and doubt.
- Protects Against Physical and Mental Illness
We’ve all heard for many years that physical health is important to staying healthy. But for some seniors, that daily walk with their daughter is more than just a physical activity. Those 30 minutes are an opportunity to engage and connect with someone they care about. Getting physical with a companion also gives seniors a chance to talk about their feelings in a low-stress environment.
Physical activity is important for various reasons, but social interaction has many other benefits on their mental health and “brain” health, such as:
- Lower risk of mortality
- Decreased risk of dementia
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- A feeling of safety, belonging, and security
You can give companionship to the elderly in so many ways. Whether it is a friendly conversation or completing a puzzle together, just 10 minutes of social interaction can boost their memory.
- Helps the Elderly Keep Up with Correspondence
Some people think that sending letters or Christmas cards is a thing of the past. But it might be just the perfect thing to help keep an older person happy. A companion can be there to give them some extra help with figuring out who to send cards to or even how to upgrade and send an email. Encouraging seniors to maintain correspondence with their long-time friends and family may lift their spirits.
- Spreads Happiness
A smile and laughter are infectious. When children, friends, and other family members surround a senior person with joy, they’ll have almost no choice but to surrender to the feelings of gratefulness and happiness. This energy can spread throughout the community among residents.
Ready to Provide a Companion for Your Loved One?
The importance of companionship for seniors is undeniable. At Advanced Nursing +Home Support, we have a team of compassionate and skilled providers committed to making the elderly feel confident and empowered. If you have a loved one in Maryland or the D.C. area who could benefit from having a companion, contact us today.Tags: companion care, home health care, senior care