For senior adults, loneliness and social isolation are not just feelings, they can be cause for concern, even corresponding to health risks for dementia and other medical conditions. Nearly a quarter of adults who are 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). The NASEM study reported that social isolation increased the risk of premature death nearly the same as if the person smoked, was obese, or physically inactive.
An elderly person is more likely to live alone, often after his or her spouse has passed away. They are more likely to experience the loss of family or friends who may die or who move to another city or region. The loss of hearing as well as chronic illness can also contribute to isolation and loneliness.
The home care givers at FootPrints Home Care work to address loneliness and isolation for our senior home care clients and their families. Many times, our staff is engaged by the family to help with physical tasks such as bathing, housekeeping, or meal preparation for our senior clients. And while our caregivers are skilled at providing that type of help at home, they are also trained in the value of providing companionship while in the home. It’s even part of our screening process for employment; we look for caregivers who express interest in, and can chat easily, with others.
That companionship is part of our company philosophy; we believe that we are called to be a blessing to our elderly clients and to their families. That means we’re concerned about loneliness, and we try to reduce those feelings in our clients during our visits. So, while a FootPrints caregiver is helping a client bathe and dress, they work to engage in conversation. Topics might be about the places the senior lived, or what kind of work they did; their family members; what’s happening in the news or the day’s weather. As our caregiver is preparing a meal for the elder client, she might ask what their favorite meal was, a memory of their childhood, or activities he or she enjoyed.
Companionship can also include going to a movie, putting a puzzle together, or an outing to a nearby park—activities that help stimulate the brain as well as reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Our passion is to not only provide at-home care but to make a difference. Senior home care is more than physically helping the senior with the activities of daily living, it’s an opportunity to offer companionship and brighten their day. FootPrints is a senior home care agency that’s served New Mexico families since 2005. Across central New Mexico, from Belen to Los Alamos, we serve the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe region with home health care services, 24/7 care, and respite care for your family.