Getting old is tough. We all know that. Apart from the weighty existential question of facing our own mortality, it’s just physically tougher. Our bones and muscles ache, we tire more easily, falls become an ever more perilous threat. Many of us notice these symptoms of aging, as well as the aesthetic flaws we develop –especially the aesthetic flaws– long before we reach our senior years. But we know that once we become seniors, life does get harder than it was at even at 40 or 50.
That’s not to say that all seniors are dejected and frail. Far from it. Many seniors work to retain great physical health. And many seniors, regardless of their physical limitations, offer much to family, friends, and society as a whole. That’s why we should do what we can to help seniors day-to-day. But giving up your seat at the front of the bus to an elderly person, or helping your elderly parent down the stairs, is often not enough. That is because the biggest threat to health many seniors face is not physical at all.
Senior citizens, more so than any other demographic, are at risk of isolation. Many seniors are retired, so they lose the daily routine of going to work and interacting with coworkers, employers, employees, customers, and clients that many of us have. And family members cannot always be available to see them, especially if they live in a different town.
We humans are social creatures and we need social interaction to stay healthy. If we don’t get that, our emotional and mental well-being begins to deteriorate. Even if we are perfectly healthy physically, poor mental or emotional health can begin to have a deleterious effect on our bodies. And all these problems are even more pronounced for those seniors who are single; especially those who are recently widowed.
What to do?
You should, of course, spend as much time with your parents and elderly loved ones as possible. But there’s only so much you can do; you have your own obligations and responsibilities. So what should you do? You can’t very well move your parents to a nursing home if they have no pronounced physical ailments. (And really, why would you want to?) The answer may lie in in-home companionship.
Elder care has evolved far beyond merely doling out meals and helping seniors get in and out of wheelchairs. On the vanguard of elder care is in-home companionship. In-home companionship involves a care worker coming to visit seniors at regularly scheduled intervals (once or twice a week, for example) to just see how they’re doing.
They talk to the seniors, ask after their health, and maybe even play games. In-home companion caregivers can also help keep seniors in touch with family and friends and help them with light errands such as sorting through mail, meal preparation, and transportation. In-home companionship not only helps to keep seniors mentally sharp and emotionally stable, but also to keep a keen eye out for any burgeoning condition or issue. And with in-home companion care already established, the door is open for more serious care if and when it is needed.
If you would like to learn more about in-companionship, please contact us today.