The Social Isolation Problem
According to the latest U.S. census in 2010, the number of people aged 65 and over that lived alone was more than 11 million. That means over 28% of seniors 65 and up are living by themselves. This is not always a bad thing; living alone can give one a sense of independence, and AARP found that 90% of seniors over the age of 65 want to stay at home as long as possible. However, many seniors who could benefit from companion care or live-in care, are living alone. Not only can living alone – without companion care – lead to worsening health if sicknesses or dangers in the home go unrecognized, but it can also lead to social isolation. With social isolation comes the potential to increase physical and mental health problems such as depression.
Let’s be clear, living alone does not directly lead to social isolation but has more to do with how much the person is involved with other people and the community. Social needs in senior adults can be just as important as their medical conditions. As seniors age they may begin to lose touch with others due to a variety of circumstances. This can affect how often the senior leaves their home and how often they seek out the company of others. How, then, can choosing companion care help? Simply put, decreasing isolation improves quality of life.
How Does Companion Care Help?
Companion care services not only help with everyday tasks, but they go beyond that by engaging with you/your loved one during those tasks. Companion caregivers are not necessarily there to do life for you…they are there to do life with you; whether that is online shopping together, scrap booking and reminiscing, writing letters, cooking, playing cards, or whatever you’re interested in. They bring the social elements of family life that may be missing, and help meet social needs by providing supportive conversation, companionship, mental activity, light exercise, and social stimulation.
Strong social connections are key to our physical and mental well-being. Investing in companion care can not only help senior adults be heard, but can also be vital in rebuilding important social structure and helping that senior thrive.