What Benefits can Companion Caregivers Offer Seniors? – Ottawa

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A male nurse motivating his elderly female patientThere will come a time for all of us when a little assistance will be needed to get through the day, and to continue to lead an independent lifestyle.

When it comes to senior care, most people only think about physical and mental aspects of health. Emotional health gets neglected, although research is beginning to show it can be just as important as the other two for overall health.

More studies are being done on the effects of social activity on mental and physical wellbeing. The research indicates that all these components are interrelated, affecting one another’s impact on general wellbeing.

For example, social isolation can lead to emotional distress and eventually depression. People that are depressed tend to delve deeper into isolation, and are no longer getting the mental stimulation needed to prevent cognitive decline. Also, people that are depressed tend to have very little interest or energy for physical exercise. You can see how the situation can deteriorate rapidly.

What can Companion Caregivers Offer Seniors?

Companion caregivers can offer all kinds of assistance to help seniors maintain and manage their health.

It all starts with increased social activity. This is good for the mind, body, and soul. Regular social interaction can really help elevate people’s moods, contributing to a positive attitude, and more energy for events and activities.

Companion caregivers can help encourage physical activity as well. Even just having a chat while walking down to the park is beneficial.

Some of the main advantages of hiring a companion caregiver for your loved one, may be:

  • Emotional stability
  • Mental stimulation
  • Physical health
  • Enhanced safety
  • Independent living

Emotional Stability

Sometimes seniors can just benefit from someone to talk to. Especially seniors that live alone. Losing a spouse can leave a big void in a person’s life. Companion caregivers can help fill that void by offering emotional support, a receptive ear, and an open mind.

It can be difficult to talk about loss and confusing feelings with family members. Companion caregivers offer a non-judgmental listener for your loved one.

In some cases, seniors can benefit by talking about the stress of aging in general. It can be a confusing time, especially when your body and mind begin to fail you.

Regular social interaction can help delay the ravages of time with effective support and engaging activities.

Mental Stimulation

Social activity is definitely one method for keeping the brain active. This can be further enhanced with stimulating brain games.

Brain training games can involve anything from cards, to chess, to word games, and much more. Companion caregivers can engage seniors in any number of thought provoking activities, depending on their interests and personal preferences.

These types of activities help improve executive function, which are typically used for reasoning, planning, and problem solving.

Executive functioning skills, like working memory, cognitive flexibility, and self control, can all be enhanced with mentally stimulated activity.

Physical Health

Companion caregivers can also help to improve physical health.

Social interaction has been proven to be useful not only for mental health, but for physical health as well.

Research on physical health shows that regular social engagement can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by roughly 30%.

Caregivers can engage in light physical activity with your loved one. Exercise is always more fun with a partner.

Enhanced Safety

Safety is a big concern for a lot of seniors. Falls in the home are the number one cause of injury for people over the age of 65.

This can cause family members worry if a loved one is home alone all the time.

Companion caregivers can help enhance home safety with planning and reorganization, and be there to help monitor the situation.

Independent Living

All of these factors lead to a continuing independent lifestyle. Compromised physical and mental health can disrupt independent living very quickly.

One of the greatest concerns for many seniors is the ability to continue living at home and making their own decisions.

Good levels of emotional, mental, and physical health can allow them to accomplish these goals. Companion caregivers can help make that happen.

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