Imagine a world without any companions … it would be reasonably lonely, right? But the sad truth is, seniors are most prone to feeling lonely than any other age group.
So, what is companionship?
Companionship probably means something different to everyone. It involves more than just somebody being there; it’s about wanting that person there, enjoying their company and developing a relationship that comes naturally to you.
Companionship is extremely important for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Having good company around should make you feel relaxed, comfortable and keep your mind positively engaged.
For many people, companionship can help transform their motivation (or lack thereof) to participate in everyday activities. Cooking and eating are much more fun as a group activity, and engaging in exercise with friends and peers makes the effort seem a little less grueling. Giving everyday activities a social spin helps us accomplish necessary tasks and enjoy ourselves simultaneously, but some people are not fortunate enough to have this company and support.
Older individuals can have a difficult time staying busy and active, especially if they are retired and living alone. For some, leading a mostly solitary life can result in less of an incentive to keep a residence tidy, cook decent meals, and engage in self-care. A lack of interest in these activities can also be a sign of depression, or there may be other factors at work. For example, if an elder has mobility issues or painful arthritis in her hands, then she is unlikely to do her physical therapy exercises, gardening, ironing, or baking without some help.
This is where assistance can make all the difference to loved ones who wish to be active, but may not have the support or supervision they need to do so comfortably and safely. Family members often step up to take on this responsibility, but depending on the level of assistance a loved one requires, this can involve a large time commitment. If you are unable to regularly spend time with an elder due to your work schedule or family duties, companionship services can fill this role. Even a few hours of conversation and company each week can make a significant impact on a loved one’s attitude and behavior.
Other mental benefits of companionship are to:
- Prevent loneliness;
- Avoid social isolation
- Maintain social skills
- Increase a sense of purpose;
- Encourage healthy mental stimulation;
- Stimulate positive thoughts and interactions;
- Engage in memory exercises such as reminiscing.
Some of the physical benefits of companionship are to:
Participate in enjoyable physical activities together such as a walk in the park;
Identify unhealthy habits;
Assist with appointments or prescription collection;
Encourage you to get out the house;
Support you in achieving your goals.
Now we have established the importance of companionship and why finding the right companion matters, what can be done about it? Often seniors are relocated to a care home for company, with other options either overlook or unrecognised. Caregivers are more than just a carer, they are a companion. Caregivers s encourage social interactions and enjoyable activities to promote healthy mental and physical health. Home Instead takes the time to match every one of their Caregivers s to their clients preferences and requirements.
Some companionship activities you can enjoy with your Caregivers include:
- Preparing, cooking and eating meals together;
- Social outings;
- Visiting family and friends;
- Playing creative indoor games;
- Participating in hobbies such as knitting;
- Enjoying old pastimes;
- Reflecting on past expereince and memories.
If you or a loved one could benefit from a companion, a little help from a friend could be just a phone call away.