In-home companionship is a relatively new service in the world of senior care. It’s not enough to focus only on the physical health of seniors. Mental health and emotional wellbeing are also hugely important.
1. There is a growing understanding that anybody can suffer from poor mental health. In-home companionship services help seniors manage and overcome mental health problems.
It’s taken a long time, but people in our society are beginning to treat mental health issues the way they should, eg. the same as we would physical health issues. There should be no stigma around mental health problems; depression should not be viewed as a weakness any more than contracting lupus or malaria is. They’re all health problems and they all require care to manage and overcome.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to say this when you don’t suffer from a mental health problem yourself. When do you, then you feel the stigma more keenly. This is especially true for seniors who grew up in a time when people with mental health problems were often called “crazy” and ridiculed. Because of this reason, many seniors are unlikely to tell a loved one all their troubles. But it can be a lot easier to talk about these issues with an in-home caregiver. That’s why in-home companionship services can be crucial.
2. Seniors don’t just suffer from mental health issues the same as anybody else. They suffer from more mental health issues, often because they are isolated.
Seniors live in isolation at higher rates than younger people. They don’t see their family or friends often, they don’t have coworkers they see everyday any more, and they don’t get out much. This can happen to couples of seniors and especially to seniors who live alone. Isolation can lead to loneliness which can lead to depression which can lead to a lack of eating and self-care. In-home companionship services provide seniors with some human contact. Somebody who can stimulate their mental and emotional responses.
3. Seniors also suffer from neurodegenerative diseases at higher rates than any other age group. In-home companionship services provide somebody to monitor the progression of these diseases.
One of the big tragedies of neurodegenerative diseases is that they are progressive. If you have an elderly loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, that disease will only get worse. There is no known cure at this moment. However, these diseases can take a long time to progress and many seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are still high-functioning. But these diseases need to be monitored. With in-home companionship services, a caregiver will be there to monitor a senior’s mental health and recommend further action if and when the disease becomes worse.
4. In-home companionship services open the door to other types of in-home care.
In-home companionship services are not the only type of in-home care service. Seniors can also benefit from personal care and homemaker services. Personal care helps seniors with the Activities of Daily Living: the acts of self-care we all must do everyday. Homemaker services involve a caregiver helping seniors manage their homes, chores, and errands. Having already set up in-home companionship services makes transitioning to these services a much easier process.
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To learn more about in-home companionship services please contact us.