How Live-in Care Can Combat Loneliness
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The Live in Care Company pride themselves on finding the right live in carers for the individual. This guide looks closely at some of the key ways a live in carer can combat loneliness in later life. Loneliness in the elderly is an issue that can be combated with a caring companion, offering company and comfort for those who cannot manage on their own.
Causes of loneliness in later life
Loneliness in the elderly is a considerable problem that your loved one may face if they are without a partner, have lost friends or if they take ill and are no longer able to access social connections at the frequency they used to. This is not only difficult to manage in terms of coping and coming to terms with loss and death but it can be very isolating and lonely to know you have less people to depend upon.
Mobility and physical health
As we age, there is also the barrier of having less energy and poorer mobility, which can lead to reduced attendance at social occasions and therefore less opportunity to develop and maintain social connections. This can lead to loneliness. A live-in carer can help support with getting to and from social occasions and they can help with any mobility difficulties that may be an obstruction. For instance, if someone is bed-bound then a live-in carer might be able to setup a Skype call with loved ones to help that person feel closer to others. If they are in a wheelchair, a carer can help with getting them to and from friend’s houses.
They may not live near family and friends, particularly if they live in residential care homes for older people, where choices of location might be limited. Family and friends may then visit less frequently which can result in more isolation. This is one of the reasons why live-in care is a popular option for elderly people since they can remain in their communities with people they know around them. A care home may seem like a social place with lots of people but often the connections made in these homes are not comparable to those your loved one has within their own community.
Lack of transport
Many older people will eventually stop driving and if they live in a rural area, public transport might be limited. Not being able to leave the house as often as they would like to reduce opportunities for social contact and can lead to feelings of social isolation. A live-in carer can help drive the person to and from places, including social occasions, helping them to maintain these connections and feel less isolated.
Older people tend to be retired and therefore they will be missing out on the day-to-day contact with colleagues and they will not have the routine of getting ready and going to work. It feels very different being on your own seven days a week, rather than just at weekends.
Problems because of loneliness
Loneliness is different to being alone. Loneliness is the unpleasant emotional response you get when you feel socially isolated. Loneliness can be harmful to both our physical and mental health, as well as being a deeply painful experience. Research studies suggest that loneliness increases the risk of premature death, hypertension, poor sleep and onset of disability.
Loneliness impacts an individual’s mental health making them more prone to depression, cognitive decline and dementia.
Old people are particularly vulnerable to loneliness since they may have fewer opportunities for social connections given that they are likely to no longer attend work or school. They may have recently lost someone close to them and be struggling to leave the house. This can result in a decline in mental and physical health, perpetuated by loneliness and it can often be a time when family members look to bring in someone to support their loved one. A live-in carer can be a fantastic way how to help lonely elderly which may not only improve their quality of life and mental health but also improve their physical health. Research found that bringing in a carer for someone who is lonely helps to reduce the number of GP visits, medication usage and incidence of falls.
Benefits of live-in care
One way in which family members can help their lonely elderly relatives is to provide them with a companion who will help them feel less isolated. A carer is often a preferable choice for many since the carer can help with other aspects of the person’s life that they may be struggling with due to age or illness.
A live-in carer will benefit someone’s loneliness is the following ways:
Increase mental alertness
By maintaining social interactions, this helps keep a person mentally alert and may help to stave off Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A live-in carer can help them to engage in conversations more frequently than if they were alone and they can participate in games and activities together, which can help stimulate the brain.
Socialising has been shown to boost physical wellbeing not only through improved mood but also through the joint involvement in more sports, activities and duties. A carer may be someone that your loved one feels motivated to go to the shops with or do the hoovering with or your loved one may be helped by a carer to meet friends for a yoga lesson or walk in the park. A live-in carer will try to motivate your loved one in order to help them remain physically active in their daily lives.
Loneliness can cause severe bouts of depression and feelings of hopelessness. Social contact with a live-in carer can be protective against these feelings and help your loved one to enjoy life more through encouragement, companionship and support.
Relieves physical discomfort
Chronic pain can be a part of growing old. Joints may worsen, arthritis may set in and other health challenges may be present. Pain can feel worse if we are depressed and lonely. A carer can help keep your loved one’s mind off their physical ailments and help them to focus on other things, relieving some physical discomfort.
A live-in carer can be an essential support system for an elderly person especially if their family and friends do not live close by and they are feeling the effects of loneliness. A live-in carer will build a close relationship with their client and be on hand to talk to them and support them when they need. This can be incredibly reassuring for the person who may have felt alone for some time and it can help them feel that they have someone there at all times who they can depend upon and speak to about any concerns.