Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on communication and touch, and begin to decline when we are isolated. Socialization is essential for all of us, from the moment we are born to the moment we die.
Many studies have been done on the benefits of socialization for seniors. The AARP reported one that was conducted over the course of four years with 2,249 California women and found that older women who maintained large social networks reduced their risk of dementia by 26%.
In a nutshell, friends are good for us, on many levels. The conversations we have and the games we play stimulate our brains. The walks we take exercise our hearts. The laughs we have and the memories we share keep us well emotionally. To remain healthy is to maintain friendships as we age and to remember the old adage, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”
Socialization is just as important for you as a caregiver as it is for the senior loved one in your care. Maintaining a close network of family and friends can help you avoid the isolation caused by the demands and pressures of caregiving. Social isolation happens slowly over time as you focus more on rigorous caregiving schedules and less on getting out of the house. But the importance of human connection and outside interests for caregivers cannot be overstated. Isolation leads to depression, anxiety and caregiver burnout. Caring for a loved one is a rewarding, but taxing role, and only by remaining vital, healthy and energized can you have the stamina necessary to fulfill your commitment.
What do you do with the guilt? It’s the primary obstacle to caregivers getting much needed rest. You may wonder what your loved one will do if you are not there. Will they be upset? Who will know their routine? What will happen if they call out for you? These things may happen, but a well educated, experienced caregiver knows how to comfort and reassure your loved one. Investing in yourself is part of the caregiving proposition. Leaving the house for an hour or an evening is certainly better than becoming incapacitated by exhaustion or being absent for weeks.
Home Care Assistance respects the passion and commitment that you bring to your role as a caregiver. We also know you need support. We offer a comprehensive range of services, from respite care for a few hours or a day, to regularly scheduled around the clock care. We understand the demands of specialized care for those who may have suffered from a stroke, the debilitating impairments of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our highly skilled, educated caregivers will support you and allow you time to invest in yourself, while ensuring that the continuum of care is uninterrupted.
As the number of seniors throughout North America continues to increase exponentially, so will the number of in-home caregivers. Let’s approach it with a philosophy that everyone in the equation needs care – the senior and the caregiver. By doing so, we ensure that we create a culture of sustained caring that promotes the health and well-being of everyone involved.