As we age and our mobility becomes more restricted, it can prevent us from venturing far from home and actively communicating with those around us. However, there are many health and wellness aspects of interacting with our local community, especially for the elderly. The positive outcomes associated with increased social activities and companionship in seniors is backed by decades of research. We unpack four benefits of companionship for seniors:
1. Lowers cognitive decline
Companionship is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and helping to preserve brain functionality. Research shows loneliness impacts our state of mental and physical health to the extent that it has become a global health epidemic, increasing the risk of early death more than smoking or obesity. On the other hand, people who have strong social relationships have a 50 per cent increased likelihood of living longer than those who are feeling lonely.
2. Socialising can potentially reduce the progression of dementia
Dementia is one of the most common conditions experienced by Australians, with over 459,000 Australians currently living with Dementia. However, there is mounting evidence that engaging in regular, friendly conversations can improve memory and other brain functions. Psychologist Oscar Ybarra stated, “This study shows that simply talking to other people, the way you do when you’re making friends, can provide mental benefits.”
3. Improves mood and quality of life
The most obvious benefit of companionship support is the clear mental health advantages. We are social creatures, and numerous studies confirm that communicating and socialising increases our general sense of happiness as well as reducing stress and anxiety levels. Researchers have also found that increasing socialization in seniors also reduced agitation levels by the same degree as anti-psychotic drugs.
4. Socialising can help maintain independent living
Studies have also shown that loneliness can impact one’s ability to perform activities for everyday living. Over a six-year study, those who reported feeling lonely had a decline in their ability to bathe themselves, groom, and prepare meals for themselves.
Some useful links:
Like Family website where you can hire a companion carer or social carer for your ageing parent – https://likefamily.com.au/
Mathieu Bertrand article on Carer’s Circle When parents with addictions need help –
Carer’s Circle article on Embrace your age, live healthier –
Carer’s Circle article on Helping your elderly loved one take care of their health –
A version of this article Four benefits of companionship for seniors originally appeared on Like Family blog – Reproduced with permission.
Photo credit: Older women gardening on Ageing better