When seniors age, their lives change dramatically. Not only are they faced with physical challenges brought on by the aging process, but often times they outlive many of their family and friends, which creates a great deal of loneliness.
Loneliness is a contributing factor in cognitive decline, as is depression, which is often a by product of loneliness. The mind/body connection plays a significant role in your loved one's mental, emotional, and physical health.
Hobbies and social activities have a positive impact on and promote healthy aging in seniors. At Mom's Home Care, we recognize and support this important aspect of non-medical care and include companionship care to complement our physical care program.
Why Do Seniors Need Companionship Care?
As we go through life, the companionship, support, and love of our family and friends plays a significant role in our well being. As we face the many aspects of aging, companionship becomes critical, and seniors need to have some sort of cognitive exercise on a daily basis.
Many of us who have an elderly parent in our lives are often part of the "sandwich generation", because we are striving to meet the myriad of needs of our families and our parent. The demands of today's society thrust us into busy careers to ensure that we can meet those needs.
Life is so hectic that we simply cannot spend as much time with Mom or Dad that we want to. Companionship care is designed to fill that void. Your loved one can continue to thrive while you have the peace of mind of knowing that your parent is being taken care of.
What Is Companionship Care?
Companionship Care encompasses a range of modalities geared towards providing the essential social interaction that every person needs. At the most basic level, your senior has someone to talk to and spend time with. As their companion gets to know your loved one, ideas for shared activities are born. These can be in-home activities, outdoor excursions, or a combination of both.
The beauty of Companionship Care is that it is highly individualized. Your loved one's companionship care plan is specific to their interests and physical abilities. Clients find themselves rediscovering hobbies that they used to enjoy years ago, because they have a companion who helps make that happen. Your parent's companion also monitors and documents safety precautions and Mom or Dad's overall health and wellness.
What Types of Companionship Are Available?
At Mom's Home Care, our home companions are highly trained to provide supportive conversation and stimulating activities that are enjoyable and promote cognitive acuity. There are several different types of interaction that will benefit your loved one:
- Conversation - Seniors have a lifetime full of experiences to share, and often times, those recollections are full of hard-earned wisdom. Our home companions recognize that conversation with your loved one has benefits that go both ways. While Mom or Dad has the opportunity to share memorable times in their lives, their companion is eager to hear them. Think of all of the historical events they have lived through and what their life was like without the benefit of modern technology! It's a learning experience that your loved one will look forward to their next conversation, knowing that their companion is genuinely interested in what they have to say. Reminiscing about past events and sharing stories close to their heart helps your parent to feel positive about his or her life while gaining new insights and recognizing that learning is a lifelong experience.
- Socialization - Maintaining an active and independent life is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. When faced with the challenges of aging, often times we find ourselves giving up activities we used to enjoy, because we can no longer participate in them on our own. As your parent's companion, much of what they learn about him or her through conversation is applied to helping them plan social activities that will be to their liking. It may be something they used to enjoy doing during their younger years or it could be something brand new. Many elderly people find a great deal of pleasure, and a little bit of pride, in being able to tick off activities on their bucket list or to try something they never thought about before. Both the insight and support of your loved one's companion can shine a new light on the world and revitalize your parent's desire to be a part of it. Some excursions can include accompanying them to their local senior center to participate in activities and make new friends, going to an open air market on a beautiful day, taking a day trip, visiting the local shopping mall, going out to lunch, or simply taking a stroll around the neighborhood.
- Critical Thinking - Mentally stimulating activities bolster cognitive function. At Mom's Home Care, our companionship caregivers are trained in the art of conversation. They know what to listen for, including how to pick up verbal cues from Mom or Dad to explore further. Your parent will find themselves remembering activities they used to enjoy or always wanted to try. These conversations reveal interests that their companion can accommodate by suggesting they participate in something together. Sometimes it starts with watching one of their favorite movies together. Board games, crafts, puzzles, scrapbooking, sewing, woodworking, wordsearch, crossword puzzles, and stamp collecting are some common ideas to start with. Some of these activities can evolve into field trips to purchase supplies or come up with new ideas. If your loved one is homebound, their companion can do the shopping for supplies. If Mom or Dad are interested, their companion can teach them how to use the internet to research some of these types of projects. Or, if your parent is more traditional, their companion could initiate a private book club where they both enjoy reading the same book and discussing it during the companion's next visit.
- Exercise - Light exercise that is appropriate for your loved one's abilities provides a wonderful boost to Mom or Dad's overall health. Walking is one of the most flexible forms of exercise, because it can be tailored to your parent's individual needs. If your loved one is unable to walk, they can perform range of motion (ROM) exercises. Their companion can make ROM exercises more enjoyable for them by doing the exercises with them or playing some of their favorite music to exercise along with. Outdoor walkers can participate in nature hikes when the weather is favorable. By participating in a regular exercise routine, Mom or Dad will see an improvement in their mobility, which will improve their quality of life.
- Mental Acuity - Conversation, socialization, critical thinking, and exercise routines all stimulate the brain, which slows down the process of cognitive decline. This, in turn, slows down the onset of dementia, the more serious development of cognitive decline. Dementia includes memory loss, problems with critical thinking, difficulty communicating, and poor judgment, all quite challenging developments for someone to deal with. Your parent's companionship caregiver is assessing their interests and abilities from the moment they meet them, and they use this information to develop an activity plan that will help Mom or Dad reach their full potential.
- Emotional Health - Many seniors have suffered their fair share of loss. They have lost friends and loved ones, seen their children and grandchildren grow up and move away, are dealing with physical and mental changes in their bodies, some of which impair or impede their ability to participate in activities they used to enjoy doing before. Often times, they resist talking about it, fearing they might alienate the precious few people they still have in their life. Our caregivers are trained to ask the right things to get your loved one to open up, and together, your parent and their companion can come up with a mutually agreeable solution.
- Insightful Feedback - The valuable information gleaned by your parent's caregiver is passed on to the most important person in their life, you. It is essential to your wellbeing, and theirs, that you understand what they are feeling so that the time you do spend together is truly quality time. Because Mom or Dad's caregiver helps them with all of their basic needs, that companion gets to know them on a very deep level and can pass on important information to you regarding:
- Assisting your loved one with all of their ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) as needed
- Making sure Mom or Dad follows their treatment plan and takes their medication as prescribed
- Ensuring that your parent is following a proper diet and eating well
- Encouraging them to be as independent as possible while standing by, ready if needed
- Allowing your loved one to live out their golden years with dignity.
Activities are an integral part of all aspects of Mom or Dad's care. Also known as Integrated Health Care, it is healthcare that brings all of the components together that are necessary for a person's health. It takes continuity of care to the next level. Many activities serve dual purposes, for example:
- Taking a walk through the neighborhood is providing exercise and socialization with people met along the way.
- Enjoying a board game boosts both critical thinking and memory skills.
- Working on a craft project is a fun way to pass the time, but it's also a great way to build confidence.
- Playing Bingo helps improve eye/hand coordination while socializing with their peers.
- Reading to their grandchild increases mental acuity while creating more memories to recall later.
Shouldn't I Be the One Doing These Things?
When it comes to your loved one's happiness, being pulled in two different directions can be heart-wrenching. Many people try so hard to "do it all" that they, themselves, end up with health problems of their own. Others feel guilty, because by the time they take care of all of Mom or Dad's physical and household needs, they don't have time to sit down and visit or do something fun together. Instead, they have to rush out the door and do those things all over again at home. Mom or Dad appreciates what you do, but chances are they worry about you taking on too much. Nobody wins.
Super Mom (or Dad) does not exist anywhere but in our minds, so asking for help is the right thing to do. You no longer feel as though you need to be in two places at one time and then suffer from guilt when you can't carry out the impossible. Your parent is well taken care of and enjoying a myriad of fun activities geared towards keeping them young at heart. Your children are being given a wonderful example to follow in the future, if need be. Everybody wins.
Current Popular Activities
The isolation many seniors face can lead to a feeling of disconnection from society. Participating in an activity, even it is just with one other person, helps them to feel reconnected and a visible part of society.
When our children were growing up, there was a big emphasis placed on making learning fun. However, that principle applies to all of us, especially to those who may be lacking in motivation. Many seniors find themselves in that position due to the many challenges of the aging process. Retirement, health issues, losing long-term friends and family members, no longer able to drive, all these things play a part in feeling isolated and alone.
The following activities promote creativity and stimulate the imagination:
- Painting - A fantastic way to channel thoughts and emotions, it also helps to improve your loved one's hand/eye coordination. It is a great confidence booster.
- Mosaic - An excellent exercise in fine motor skills, many seniors enjoy a great sense of accomplishment from taking pieces from what is broken and creating something beautiful.
These board games challenge the mind, and some of them bring back happy memories, too:
- Chess - This classic game promotes strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Scrabble - This strategic game exercises vocabulary and memory skills.
- Monopoly - Nostalgia makes this game a popular choice. It also promotes critical thinking skills.
- Trivial Pursuit - People of all ages like to test their knowledge on a variety subjects. A great memory booster for seniors.
- Reminiscing - A trip down memory lane, spanning six decades, tests one's knowledge of back in the day. Try the Over 30 version, playfully tagged, "For people who have a past."
Fun Activities Home Care Provider Near Me
Give Mom's Home Care a call at 323-244-4789 to schedule your free in-home consultation. And get back in the game with your loved one. We have everything else covered.