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Loneliness affects many people in the UK, particularly those aged over 65. A common misconception surrounding home care is that it’s only for people who can’t live by themselves without assistance. Yet home care services - such as live in care - are increasingly being aimed at supporting the emotional needs of older adults.
Here, we’ve explored what companionship care is, why it’s important and the benefits it offers.
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Companionship care services provide support for those who are still able to live independently and safely within their own homes, but could do with a little extra friendship and socialisation. The purpose of companionship is to reduce or prevent loneliness in older adults.
Though companionship care will vary from person to person, its main aim is to reduce or prevent loneliness in an older adult who may otherwise become isolated from others. Companionship care can vary from several hours a day to just a couple of hours a week. Even if it’s only used sporadically, companionship can still make a massive difference to the emotional wellbeing of somebody who would otherwise be alone.
A companion carer can be the perfect remedy for somebody that’s feeling a little lonely but still wishes to remain in their own home.
Loneliness and feelings of isolation play a significant role in our mental health, often affecting physical health in turn as well. When we feel happy and positive, we tend to recover from illness and injury quicker, with our bodies functioning better.
Older adults - potentially with less mobility - may not be able to see as many other people. When this is the case, feelings of loneliness can arise.
Some elderly people won’t see a huge number of different faces throughout the week. Over time, this can have a significant effect on emotional wellbeing.
That’s where companionship carers come in. They’re there to provide your loved ones with a friendly face and someone to talk to while also encouraging them to go out and meet others. If you’re becoming a carer for a family member then companionship care can take some of the pressure off of you.
Companionship carers are usually chosen following an assessment and meeting with them. Your loved one will need to tell the home care provider what their likes and dislikes are, along with what they’d like from a companionship carer. Though exact matches are often difficult to come by, a provider like MyLife Home Care will look at things like personality and interests to try and get as close as possible.
Companionship support offers emotionally-supportive conversations, somebody to listen to your stories, ask about your day and share experiences with. There are so many things you can do with a companionship carer. You may wish to read a book and discuss it, play games, watch your favourite TV show, go for walks, go shopping or simply have a much-needed conversation.
Companion carers can also prepare meals and do light housework if needed.
As your loved one gets older, it’s important to remember that loneliness affects emotional and physical health alike.
Many older adults live alone and aren’t as active as they once were. With this in mind, companionship in later life helps older adults stay connected to society while feeling less lonely.
Below, we’ve highlighted four of the biggest benefits that companionship care services can provide.
Arguably the biggest benefit of companionship care is that it improves mental wellbeing while lessening the chance of depression. Older adults are at a greater risk of depression when lonely - which is why you, other family members and friends should try and reach out to them as much as possible.
According to the AARP, many older adults who live alone don’t have anyone to check in on them - so having someone to come over and see how they’re doing can make a world of difference.
Recent studies have found that loneliness can lead to social withdrawal, as well as anxiety and generally feeling upset. Loneliness is thought to be caused by these feelings of anxiety, so it’s not surprising that depression and anxiety levels tend to be similar in lonely people.
If your loved one begins to isolate themselves from others, companionship carers can play a crucial role - making sure they keep in touch with others, including family members and friends.
One of the biggest benefits of companionship care is the opportunity it provides to make new friends. If your loved one is shy and often reserved, a companionship carer may be able to help them open up and become more sociable. This can go a long way to improving emotional wellbeing and reducing the risk of depression.
Having companionship at home will also help improve your loved one’s social skills. If they’re constantly around someone else, they’ll naturally feel more comfortable when interacting with others, making it easier to form new relationships.
It’s completely normal to be concerned that as your loved one ages, they may be at risk of cognitive decline. Research has shown that rates of Alzheimer’s are lower in people with busy social lives and good friends. This helps to illustrate that companionship care services can stimulate the minds of older adults. In the process, they improve memory function and can even prevent the onset of dementia in your elderly loved one - similar to what takes place in a memory care home.
Companionship care is a form of home care. The cost of a home carer in the UK varies from service provider to service provider, but as a general rule, you can expect to pay between £15 and £30 per hour.
As an example, if a companionship carer cost £20 an hour and they visit your loved one for threeo hours every week, this will cost:
In some cases, companionship care can be funded. It’s a good idea to speak with your loved one’s local council or Clinical Commissioning Group to see if they might be entitled to financial support.
We’re partnered with numerous amazing care homes that provide plenty of companionship. Residents can socialise with members of staff and fellow residents of a similar age.
Here are some of the ways that our care homes reduce loneliness:
Care homes do a brilliant job developing a sense of community and belonging. Residents can take time out for themselves, but there’s always an opportunity to become part of a caring community, as encouraged by staff.
Care homes ensure there are numerous activities and events to keep residents entertained. Through these activities, residents can learn new skills or revisit their favourite hobbies.
We understand the importance of residents and their loved ones being able to see each other. Though residents often form meaningful relationships with each other, family visits are encouraged as well. This will make residents feel happier while also bringing peace of mind to family members.
Searching for an elderly care home can be a stressful and time-consuming operation. Thankfully, we’ve removed much of the difficulty from this process by utilising years of expertise to connect you or your loved ones to the UK’s very best care homes.
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Though a companion can help out with various aspects of daily living - including simple tasks and chores around the home - their primary focus is to keep a person’s mind active while preventing social isolation. A carer - also called a personal care assistant - may provide all the support given by a companion, but can also offer qualified personal care, including bathing, dressing, using the toilet, help with eating and anything else that falls within this form of care.
Having a companion in life - whether this is a carer, relative or friend - helps keep the mind active and prevents social isolation. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours every week, having somebody to speak with and share how they’re feeling can make a huge difference to your loved one’s emotional wellbeing.