In-home companionship services can be a vital part of senior care. It’s not a type of service we always consider when we discuss senior care, though. This is partially because, as with all aspects of mental health, loneliness and depression are often less visible than physical ailments. But mental health is no less important. Here are six reasons why you should consider in-home companionship services.
1. Seniors are at a high risk for isolation and loneliness
Anybody of any age can experience depression. Nonetheless, depression is frequently a result of isolation and loneliness, and isolation and loneliness occur at higher rates to seniors than to other age groups. There are many reasons for this, but it often has to do with the fact that the social support systems seniors have used their whole lives are often not there anymore. For example, if you’re retired, you no longer see the co-workers you saw every day for years or even decades. Your friends and family may have moved away, or maybe you did. And you might be single, divorced, or widowed, so you live alone. This leaves seniors with nobody to talk to and they can become lonely, detached, and removed from the outside world.
2. Depression has serious consequences
Once a person gets in this tailspin of loneliness and depression, it’s not as if they can cure themselves by going to a bar or café and having a conversation with somebody. You can’t just cheer yourself up out of depression. And depression can be life-threatening. Seniors can lose the motivation to eat, bathe, and look after themselves. This can cause or worsen physical ailments.
3. You can’t provide all the in-home companionship services yourself
If you’re the adult child or a loved one of a senior who you fear could be living in isolation, you might think that you can just spend more time with them yourself. If you live in the same city or area as your elderly loved one, sure, you probably should spend more time with them. But you can’t be with them all the time. Will the one or two times a week you can carve into your busy schedule to see them really be enough? Possibly not.
4. Sometimes seniors feel more comfortable with companion caregivers
If you arrange for a caregiver to provide in-home companionship services for your elderly loved one, not only do you not have to worry as much about running yourself ragged trying to free up enough time to spend with them, but your elderly loved one might actually prefer to talk the caregiver about some things. It can be hard to be vulnerable or to discuss certain emotions and personal matters with family. Often, seniors find it easier to open up to a companionship caregiver.
5. In-home companionship services are a good preventive measure
Even if your elderly loved one is not suffering from loneliness, in-home companionship services can keep them happy and in tune with reality. Furthermore, in-home companionship services make for an easier transition to personal care if and when it becomes necessary.
6. In-home companionship services are good for couples too
It’s important to remember that even couples who live together can suffer from a collective isolation from the outside world.