Our need to have companionship goes back to the dawn of the human race. As long as we’ve roamed the earth, we’ve done so in groups, and communication – in many forms – has been fundamental to our feeling of belonging and being connected. It’s no wonder that we feel lonely when we are without someone to talk to or to just be with on a regular basis.
Meeting the need for companionship is an important part of staying healthy and happy because loneliness can have a profound impact on mental health. So much so that it’s been described as an epidemic, as more than a quarter of UK households now contain only one person. Many of those are elderly people whose partners have passed away. So what can we do to be aware of the effects of loneliness and find ways to provide and enjoy companionship?
At brighterkind we offer a wide range of opportunities for our residents to get together, socialise and enjoy each other’s company. Whether you reside in one of our homes, live on your own, or can offer companionship to an elderly family member, you can follow these tips to help stay happy and healthy.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
Keeping your brain active is just as important as keeping your body active. If you didn’t move off the sofa for a week, you would find yourself stiff and much slower than when you first sat down. Your brain is much the same and needs exercise to stay healthy and to support good memory. Talking to someone for just 10 minutes is proven to improve memory.
Not only will that conversation boost your mood, it will also have longer lasting benefits to combat the worrying effects of loneliness found by various studies, including being 26% more likely to develop dementia and a 105% increased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. All the more reason to pick up the phone and enjoy a natter.
TAKE AN INTEREST
Companionship can be provided through the simple act of taking an interest in someone. As we grow up, move away and start our own families, it’s far too easy to forget to take an interest in the lives of our ageing parents or neighbours. At the same time, their social circle is also declining as is their mobility and all of this can lead to feelings of isolation and a sense of a loss of purpose.
The simple act of checking in on an elderly family member or neighbour, or inviting them in for tea are impactful ways to make someone feel noticed and acknowledged. Better yet, arrange a visit to somewhere like a garden centre or a café so that you can both enjoy companionship in interesting surroundings.
ASK FOR HELP
Companionship is great for many things; conversation and reminiscing in particular, but a companion can also lend a helpful hand. Whether it’s grocery shopping, preparing meals, helping with cleaning or the odd job around the house – sometimes that’s what friends are for. There’s no need to be shy about asking for help or offering it.
Having a friend is important throughout life. When we think about the best moments of our lives, rarely do we recount a time involving no one but ourselves. Our desire to socialise never goes away and supporting that need is crucial to enjoying a long and happy life.
To find out more about life in a brighterkind home, click below to find a care home near you.