As we get older and move closer towards retirement, everyday tasks can become more challenging and we tend to lose a lot of the physical connections and social bonds that we once had.
This can be a difficult situation for most people. Humans aren’t meant to live in isolation and feelings of loneliness can lead to all sorts of negative consequences, including illness and risk of early death. As neuroscientist John Cacioppo said, “loneliness is like an iceberg — it goes deeper than we can see”.
While connecting digitally can certainly help, it’s no replacement for in-person human connection. Having a social support network has been proven to improve mental health outcomes and increase longevity in seniors.
For seniors living in isolation, companionship care can be a practical, sustainable solution.
What is companionship care?
When people think about home support, they often jump straight to medical assistance. But there’s an important non-medical component of health and wellbeing: social connection and a feeling of belonging.
Companionship care is a non-medical service that supports seniors’ wellbeing through at-home activities, social interaction, and physical exercise.
For seniors, companionship care empowers them to continue participating in everyday activities. From simple chores like washing dishes to more personalized tasks like helping seniors pursue hobbies and interests like gardening—a companion will help keep you engaged as much as possible.
For children of seniors, companionship care offers peace of mind that your relative is being provided with help around the house, mentally stimulating activities and meaningful conversation. This can ease the burden of juggling full time work with family commitment.
There are many reasons children of seniors may choose this type of care.
For example, Andrea S. made the decision to use a companionship care service to protect her mother’s dignity. She felt it was important that her mother was well looked after and wanted to ensure that she was able to continue living a rewarding life while remaining at home.
“Overall, what she gets is care—honest-to-goodness care. I get the peace of mind knowing that my mother is with a company that sincerely cares about her. They give you basic respect, dignity and tender loving care that all of our parents want and that we want for our parents.”
What are the benefits of companionship care?
There are many benefits of companionship care for seniors, including lower levels of anxiety and depression, continued independence, and a stronger connection with their community.
More on these below.
Companionship care can ease loneliness and depression among seniors
Loneliness is on the rise. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine almost half of adults aged 60 and older have reported feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness has been linked to depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and many other ailments. Lonely seniors are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who are not lonely. As a society, we’re just beginning to understand that loneliness and depression could be just as damaging to our health as smoking or obesity.
The good news is that feelings of social isolation are reversible. Increased social interaction and stronger interpersonal relationships can have a powerful and beneficial impact on a lonely senior’s life. Crucially, the quantity of relationships a person has matters less than their quality.
Senior companions are matched based on compatibility and mutual interests to ensure a good fit. For older people who live alone, companionship care is a practical and enjoyable way to build a lasting and rewarding relationship with another person.
Companionship care supports seniors’ independence
There’s no place like home. It’s where we keep our best memories, where we raise our families, and where we feel safest and most comfortable. But as we age, it can become increasingly difficult to manage the necessary household work that makes independent living enjoyable, or even possible.
Several studies have shown that seniors who receive care at home, including social and lifestyle care, are significantly less likely to be admitted to a nursing home than those who don’t. Companionship care helps support seniors’ independence and may keep them at home for longer.
An experienced senior companion can support seniors with everyday tasks like tidying up, doing laundry, preparing meals, gardening, and other light housekeeping work.
Without having to worry about being able to complete their household chores, seniors can continue living their life on their terms, while maintaining the comforts of home.
Companionship care connects seniors with their community
Maintaining a healthy balance of independence and community interaction is the key to happier aging. Study after study suggests that the most important factor in our happiness at all life stages is the quality of our social lives and connections.
Those of us who build and maintain strong connections with others in the community report greater life satisfaction, and may even live longer, healthier lives. Unfortunately, once we get older and less mobile, it can become a challenge to continue actively participating in our communities.
A senior companion can help maintain those community ties by providing transportation to and from doctors appointments, pharmacy runs, shopping, or the seniors’ centre.
Companionship care can even help seniors get outside in their neighbourhoods by accompanying them on walks and jogs, or even to group fitness classes like yoga or tai chi. Reconnecting seniors with their hobbies or passions can reinvigorate them.
By empowering our elders to remain in their communities, near familiar faces and old friends, companionship care helps to prevent senior’s social lives from being disrupted.