Companionship and Senior Mental Health – Let’s Talk About Depression
Most of us believe that caregiving must focus on the mind, body and soul. When seniors are lonely, they get depressed, just like you and I. Human beings need companionship, but we also need the right type of companionship. Perhaps like you, I strongly believe in matching a caregiver’s personality with that of their client and I find it so unfortunate that many companies in the in-home care industry do not concentrate on this. Matching client personalities makes for a positive relationship, stronger mental health, and a stress free in-home caregiver situation. Everyone wins.
Yes, it takes a little longer to find the right caregiver, but that’s okay, because in good in-home care companies they’ve found it prevents turnover, which is one of the complaints that many in the industry have. A true companionship-based caregiver scenario is one where the client is treated like family. The best way to achieve this is to make a proper match so that both the caregiver and the client see each other as family, it is best when it is a two-way street.
There was a very good research study in the “Journal of Health Psychology” put out by the American Psychological Association in 2011 (Cite: Vol. 30, No. 4, 377-385. DOI: 10.1037/a0022826). The research is titled; “Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Behavioral and Biological Health Indicators in Older Adults,” by Aparna Shankar, Anne McMunn, and Andrew Steptoe. In conclusion the research paper notes:
“Loneliness and social isolation may affect health independently through their effects on health behaviors. In addition, social isolation may also affect health through biological processes associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.”
For those of who work as caregivers, they are hardly surprised. In fact, experts in the sector have been saying this all along. The families of elderly tell us that they too are concerned and it is often one of the primary reasons they contact a company for in-home caregiver services. I hope you understand and agree with myself, the families, and the empirical scientific research.
I believe no one should have to be lonely in old age, we are here to serve, and glad to help our clients live happy, healthy and with compassionate companionship. As our population ages these issues emerge to the forefront, and it is all of our responsibilities to makes sure everyone concerned is served fairly and treated with dignity. Please do the research and think of those people you know who are in need, we must make such positive steps a reality for all.