Isolation is a serious issue for seniors who live alone. Even if your parent is in good physical health, living alone can eventually cause severe depression if she becomes socially isolated. One way to combat this problem is by hiring a companion to spend time with your parent because it can dramatically increase her quality of life in all kinds of ways, including these five:
1. Provide Transportation
Many isolated seniors are stranded in their homes because they don't drive, making it nearly impossible for them to get out into the community. AARP reports that 20 percent of seniors, ages 65 and older, don't drive. A home-care companion will be there to take your parent out to run errands, socialize with friends or just see the sights.
2. Enjoy Mealtime Companionship
Since many senior citizens in the United States grew up in an era when families sat together around the dinner table every night to share a meal, eating alone every day can potentially induce depression in many seniors. Even a part-time companion can prevent your aging parent from feeling deserted and hopeless when faced with so many empty chairs at the dinner table. A home-care companion will be there to "break bread" with the senior, both in the home and out at restaurants.
3. Prevent Self-Neglect
The Washington DSHS defines "self-neglect" as a problem faced by seniors who "…are unwilling or unable to do needed self-care." A common characteristic among older Americans who neglect themselves is living alone. A home-care companion knows the signs of self-neglect and will encourage your parent to keep a clean home, take care of personal hygiene and take prescribed medication.
If your elderly parent has an untreated vision or hearing problem, she may feel too embarrassed to socialize with others because of communication difficulties, which might induce isolation. This is actually a common reason why a senior's desire to see friends and family may dwindle. A companion will pick up on this right away and help your parent attend medical appointments to treat any problems that are present.
4. Boost Emotional Well-Being
Having a companion around can play a big part in improving a senior's emotional well-being. There are a number of positive mental health benefits when you hire a companion for the senior in your life, including:
- Provide emotional support during difficult times
- Encourage your parent to maintain religious faith, if desired
- Help boost poor self-esteem
- Arrange anticipatory events
- Allow your parent to air out grievances
- Build a strong friendship bond
If your parent is feeling low, just having someone there to lend an ear can help give her a fresh, new outlook.
5. Stimulate Mental Awareness
New experiences and challenging activities that require mental reasoning help keep a senior citizen's mind sharp. Unfortunately, isolated seniors are more prone to dementia than those with active lives, so a companion is a sensible solution for this potential problem. Keeping your parent physically active, depending on her level of mobility, can also help prevent confusion and maintain clear thinking.
Whether a home-care companion is helping your aging parent to write out bills, put together a jigsaw puzzle or visit the hairdresser, it doesn't matter because all of these types of events can improve the quality of life for your parent. A senior parent may declare that she does not want or need the company of a home-care companion, but if you feel that she's at risk of isolation, you're wise to try clicking here and considering the option, anyway. Your parent probably doesn't realize all of the rich and wonderful life experiences in store for her with a home care companion.