Social activities play an equally important role as physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Providing this service in a home care scenario is vitality important to client mental health.
As we head into the social Festive Season, social opportunities are abundant in our communities. But it isn’t always that easy for older members of our community to keep up with the action.
Doctor Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. maintains that there is an important connection between ageing and socialisation. He cites two recent studies that came to the same conclusion: as we age, socialising helps keep our minds sharp and, perhaps, even prevents dementia.
What both studies clarify is the fact that remaining social, helps people maintain physical and mental health. In addition, social isolation has negative effects on physical and mental health as we age.
Mental health practitioners and researchers continue to state that social isolation is unhealthy for people of all ages. Isolation is closely associated with feelings of depression. The question is whether the depression causes isolation, or the isolation causes depression but regardless of the answer, helping people to socialise, at whatever their stage of life, goes a long way to reducing depression.
We are social creatures and feel better when involved with other human beings.
- For the elderly, it is important to remain socially involved as a way of reducing the chances of developing either dementia or depression and,
- For younger people it is equally important to have a circle of friends with whom they can talk, have fun and engage in productive activities.
At Christmas time the distance between family members is amplified. When the elderly are living away from family, they still need friends and companions. Having someone to talk with, share a meal with, and having outside interests helps seniors and those living with a disability, live happier and healthier lives. Family and friends love to gather for the holidays, but for families who care for an ill or aging loved one, the holidays can bring on extra stress.
Beth Leuders, a well-known journalist for Right at Home International, provides some tips in her Blog on helping your loved ones remain connected but reducing the stress.
- Keep everything simple.
Beth recommends that instead of hosting a large gathering, consider reducing your party list to include only an inner circle of family and friends such as opting to host a cosy evening dessert, or just go out for dessert with those you hold dear. Rather than decorating your home to perfection, simply display a few of your most treasured holiday decorations. Beth also suggests you also could enlist a friend to decorate for you or hire someone who could use the extra cash for the holiday season.
- Embrace the most meaningful traditions.
Ask the questions about what holiday traditions your loved ones enjoys most and modify activities around those traditions, or start a new round of traditions. If attending religious services is important, look for a less-crowded service time, schedule a ride to attend the service, or consider viewing a service online.
- Enlist help.
Recruit the kids, grandkids, close friends or even a homemaker to each cover an item on your to-do list: cleaning, grocery shopping, putting up decorations, wrapping gifts or taking the dogs for baths. Perhaps you need someone to stay with your loved one while you go out to shop for holiday gifts. Home care services like Right at Home can care for your loved one while you are out or are tackling any of the above tasks. Hiring a professional caregiver so you can get regular respite breaks during the holidays and beyond is a deserving gift to put on your wish list.
- Respect your own self-care.
Family caregivers are at risk for burnout, especially with a full schedule around the holidays. It’s important to be intentional about taking care of your own physical health and mental well-being. Try parking farther away from stores and walking at a faster pace. Tuck your senior loved one in bed earlier at least one night a week so you can enjoy a fun movie or lose yourself in a book. Get plenty of sleep and stay consistent with eating nutritious foods in between the rich holiday fare. Look for everyday ways to recharge to ward off the extra stress and emotional ups and downs of the holiday season.
- Modify your expectations.
Caring for a loved one shifts your responsibilities and priorities and so it is OK not to do it all yourself. Approach the holiday season by letting go of the more time-intensive activities and focusing more on the quiet, tranquil moments with your care recipient. Share memories about favourite holidays in the past and talk about a special memory shared this year.
If you need help with providing socialisation and companion care for your loved one, Right at Home though our many offices in Australia provides services to assist in this area such as our companion care services.
Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones, and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.
Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.
To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.