Benefits of Companionship for the Elderly
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Companionship can do wonders for the elderly. Regardless of whether you live with your loved one or not, there are ways you can bring a source of comfort and company to your loved one’s life. One way is live-in care. This, of course, is particularly beneficial if your loved one is in need of assistance when it comes to aspects of their independence. From incontinence care to catheter care to 24 hour care, live in care can provide the perfect solution, both offering companionship and assistance.
Below we take a closer look into some of the main benefits of companionship for the elderly, which are generally acknowledged to provide reliable answers to concerns when it comes to combatting loneliness in the elderly.
Peace of mind
Keeping the mind healthy
Peace of mind
Knowing that your loved one has someone there to not only support them with activities of daily living but to also be a companion for them can be incredibly reassuring for you. Nobody wants to imagine that their loved one is struggling alone and for many family members it can be challenging to visit their loved one as often as they would like to. It can help you have peace of mind that your loved one has someone by their side, who they can communicate with and participate in enjoyable activities with. It can also be important for you to see that they are enjoying themselves and it can take the stress away from knowing you may not be able to help them as often as you would like. Most of us live busy lives and the thought of leaving our loved ones by themselves can be devastating. Having a live-in carer who becomes not only someone you can rely upon to help your loved one with their everyday duties but also someone who is their companion, can provide you with that much needed peace of mind that someone is there for them when you are not able to be.
Another answer to the question of why is companionship important is that for many people who require care, safety has previously been a concern when they have been left alone. This may be with regards to a potential to fall over or to leave the oven on or front door open. These safety concerns can be reduced if you know that a reliable carer is present and on hand to ensure that these risks are minimised. A live-in carer can communicate any challenges or concerns they have around your loved one’s safety and work with you to develop a way forward in keeping them safe. A carer who is also a companion will have a better relationship with your loved one and they may feel able to share more about their concerns, health or wellbeing with the carer. This can be incredibly important for the carer to know about as they can then communicate to you or a healthcare professional if it is of any concern.
Keeping the mind healthy
Companionship is important to help keep the mind healthy and active. When we are lonely, depression can set in which can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing. By having someone as a companion, can boost mood and encourage more motivation to engage in activities, which in turn positively benefits mood.
Having a companion in the form of a carer can lower anxiety for your loved one. It can be anxiety-provoking to go out into the world as a less abled person than before, which can lead to some people being put off from engaging in social activities or not going out to the shops as often. Since the carer can be on hand when your loved one leaves the house, this can help reduce anxiety and may help them to keep up with activities they enjoy. Without a carer present they may feel more vulnerable and less able to do certain things, which can lead to anxiety, especially in new situations. It can be reassuring to have someone by their side in case things do not go as planned.
Having an elderly companion can help maintain social skills, particularly for those individuals that live alone and may not have many visitors. Socialising is a natural human need that does not disappear as we age. Even the most introverted among us crave social contact from time to time and if a loved one has recently lost a partner or lives alone, then they may be feeling particularly vulnerable and alone. Research has suggested that face-to-face human communication is key in helping regulate stress and anxiety. This means that quite often a phone call or an email is not adequate enough to combat feelings of loneliness and the positive benefits that socialising provides for humans is not accomplished satisfactorily through electronic communication devices. Retaining a social life as we age is also thought to be protective against cognitive decline since parts of our brains are activated by social connections.
A carer can provide crucial companionship and help keep your loved one socialising daily. A carer can also support your loved one to meet others within the community and encourage them to keep engaging with their social connections. Socialising does not only ward off negative feelings but it also creates positive ones that can help keep mental wellbeing levels high.
A companion in the form of a carer can be an important part of keeping your loved one’s brain stimulated. They can engage in conversations more frequently than if they were alone and they can participate in games such as chess, scrabble or bridge, which can help stimulate the brain. A carer can also free up more time for your loved one to read or focus on mental stimulation, by taking care of household chores and more mundane tasks. A carer can also keep your loved one’s brain active by asking them questions and talking about relevant topics in the news, just like you would with a friend or family member.