Dementia, Alzheimer’s, other illnesses, and general old age, are usually the reasons most people think of when they consider elderly people that may need help or assistance in their everyday lives. However, a lot of people don’t realise that loneliness is a massive issue for elderly people in the UK.
It is not too hard to see how elderly people may become more isolated later in life. As people grow older, they will unfortunately begin to lose more of their friends and neighbours, and might even lose their spouse or partner, and this inevitably limits the contact and social interaction elderly people might have. On top of this, a lot of older people may have limited contact with their family due to living further away, or just the general busy lives of their families that we all experience now and again. There are a number of reasons why older people might find themselves feeling lonely, and even the most vibrant and happy individual can experience these feelings.
What is important to understand about elderly loneliness, is that it can facilitate a difficult cycle of behaviour. An elderly person who might once have been confident and independent, but has found themselves in an isolated situation, may become withdrawn and wary of other people after prolonged periods of minimal contact with anyone. These feelings of anxiety then pave the way for bigger periods of loneliness and a vicious cycle has begun.
On the surface of it, loneliness may not seem like a serious problem, but there is a lot more to it than what you can see on the surface. Loneliness can lead to severe depression and anxiety, and even affect physical health. Prolonged feelings of loneliness and isolation can cause a serious decline in overall health and wellbeing, and have even been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day; risking high blood pressure, greater chance of developing dementia, and a higher risk of early death.
Among other essential care services for the elderly, companionship care can do incredible things to help keep the feelings of loneliness at bay.
How Can Companionship Care Help with Elderly Loneliness?
While other aspects of care, such as personal care, home help, or specialist Alzheimer’s and dementia care, are absolutely crucial to a number of senior members of our communities, the value of companionship care should never be underestimated.
A companion CAREGiver essentially becomes a great friend to whoever they are caring for, and their day to day tasks and activities are things that friends would regularly do together. This is often just being someone who is always available to talk to, whether that is about day to day things, the latest news, reminiscing about the past, discussing films and books, or even going through family history. A companion CAREGiver will also offer help with travel arrangements, assist with journeys to and from appointments, and accompany their client to visits with family, friends, and neighbours. Other activities could include watching films together, planning interesting outings and trips, attending concerts and sporting events, and taking advantage of any other exciting opportunity that will allow an elderly person to enjoy themselves.
Companionship care services like these are incredibly important at keeping feelings of loneliness and isolation at bay. Not only will these care visits ensure that an elderly person has more than the TV for company, but they will also encourage older people to feel more content and confident, and perhaps inspire them to do more things, and reduce any anxiety about the world outside their front door.
At Home Instead Birmingham, among other essential care services, we offer a flexible and engaging companionship caring service. All of our CAREGivers are specifically matched to each of their clients through their interests and personalities, to ensure that the foundation of common feelings and opinions are there to build a solid friendship on. This friendship is key to all of our companion CAREGivers, and we believe that this is the best way to truly tailor our care services to the wants and needs of each individual.
To find out more about what our companionship services involved, you can visit our care services page here, or you can find out more about what is involved in being a CAREGiver with Home Instead Birmingham here.
Home Instead currently has a number of home care vacancies across the Birmingham area. Please contact us on 01214 565559 for more information.