Benefits of Companionship for Seniors
May 10, 2021
Now that 75 percent of the U.S. senior population have been vaccinated against COVID-19, let’s talk about the damaging effects the pandemic has had on the mental health and wellbeing of our senior loved ones.
It shouldn’t surprise us that isolation and loneliness can have significant negative effects on the health of seniors. Lonely seniors suffer a 59 percent higher risk of mental and physical health decline and a 45 percent greater risk of dying early, one study showed.
The positive impact of companionship and staying social on seniors is significant. Research suggests that staying active and forming close relationships with caregivers can have meaningful health benefits for seniors, including lower rates of chronic illness and increased longevity.
Just Like Family Home Care offers companion care to provide your senior loved one companionship, personal safety, and physical and mental wellbeing.
Read on to learn more about how companion care can offer you and your loved one a better quality of life.
What Is Companion Care?
Companion care provides seniors with a variety of services from emotional support, companionship, to making life’s daily tasks more manageable.
A home companion can help with things like grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy, taking packages to the post office, driving, and light housework. Tasks like laundry, stocking the refrigerator with nutritious foods, and making sure seniors take their medications on schedule are all things a companion can do.
Most importantly, though, they offer a meaningful and trusting friendship for your loved one.
Nothing has greater benefits for seniors than being part of a community. Deep, meaningful relationships with other people are key to good health. When you look at your own life, what brings you the most joy and sense of wellbeing? For most of us, it’s having a sense of belonging and a good friend to talk to about our experiences.
Aging in Place vs. Residential Care
Seniors often move to nursing homes and residential care facilities because they think they will be safer and healthier. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case. Studies show residents of nursing homes and senior living centers suffer worse health outcomes than seniors who are able to age in place.
In fact, depression in residential care facilities can be as high as 44 percent.
One study found that 90 percent of seniors over the age of 65 would prefer to age in place at home rather than move to a residential care facility. Aging in place means seniors can maintain their independence in an environment that is familiar and comfortable for them.
In addition to providing better social opportunities, aging in place is more affordable than nursing homes.
Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of home companion care.
What Are the Benefits of Home Care?
Generally, seniors are shown to live a longer, healthier life when allowed to age at home with a companion. Next, we’ll dig into the variety of ways home care benefits seniors.
Better Overall Health and Longevity
Statistics show that seniors require 25% fewer doctor visits when they have home care.
Seniors enjoy spending time with a quality caregiver they know and trust. They have better nutrition, lower stress levels, a sense of belonging, and better social engagement.
Loneliness affects physical health in many ways. Seniors who experience isolation are often more likely to contract serious illnesses. Some of these include lung disease, arthritis, and loss of mobility.
Lonely seniors are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Some of these behaviors may include alcohol consumption, excessive eating, under-eating, and smoking.
Loneliness makes seniors spend more time indoors. A companion is a great way to encourage seniors to get outside and do light exercise on a regular basis. Lack of exercise can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, and other cardiac issues.
Companion care also prevents dementia. Seniors who suffer from loneliness have a 64 percent higher risk of dementia and memory loss.
Home Care Is Actually More Affordable
Did you know $25 billion a year in hospital costs is saved thanks to home care? In an assisted living center, a bed in a shared room will typically cost between $10,000 to $20,000 a year. A private room can cost more than $75,000.
We have good news. Many insurance providers now cover the cost of home care services as part of Medicare plans. Seniors can take advantage of Medicare coverage to help pay for in-home help on a part-time basis.
Medicare now covers part-time, in-home nursing care and home health aide care. This applies only when a doctor orders it.
Read more about the potential savings of aging in place.
The Positive Impact of Companionship and Staying Social on Seniors
Engaging in social activities can help keep us sharp and mentally stimulated. Mental stimulation can help to prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Socialization and companionship allow us to maintain better emotional health. Connecting with others helps keep us in a positive mood, which decreases the risk of depression.
A care companion can even help to expand seniors’ circle of friends by exposing them to new experiences and social situations. Meeting new people is a much less anxious experience when you have a trusted friend by your side.
Who Else Benefits From Home Care?
We can’t stress enough the positive impact of companionship and staying social on seniors. Now that we understand the benefits of home care on seniors, it’s important that we talk about the benefits home care can have on the people who love and care about them most.
The benefit of companion care on the mental and emotional health of family members can’t be understated. You deserve to rest easy, knowing your loved one is safe, healthy, happy, and thriving. At Just Like Family Home Care, this is exactly the kind of service we can help you find.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can connect you to the best possible companion care services in your area.