For most people, summer brings the excitement of warm weather, holidays and days out with loved ones. But for our elderly and those who rely on others to leave the house, the great exodus of July and August can be a dreaded prospect. Due to family, friends and regular helpers heading off on holidays, many people are left in severe isolation. Two weeks can seem a very long time when you sometimes don’t see another person all day and have long daylight hours with little to fill them.
Loneliness is one of the biggest issues reported by elderly people living alone, but simply by being a good neighbour, you can help address this and improve your own health at the same time. Taking the time to call on someone elderly or care-dependent can have a number of benefits; even more so if you take children with you.
Researchers have long noted how social interaction affects mental and physical health which links to depression, high blood pressure and cognitive decline with age. Building new friendships has been shown to have numerous physical benefits including reduced stress, boosting the immune system and improving cardiovascular health. Young people benefit from improved personal and social development when they are given the chance to interact with older generations; something which happens less these days as far fewer of us now live with our grandparents. Again, the benefits are mutual: in a program involving Alzheimer’s patients and college students participating together in exercise sessions, the Alzheimer’s patients experienced a mood boost and held steady in cognitive decline.
The impact of technology on society means young people now spend much of their time interacting online, but experts advise that having hundreds of Facebook and Twitter friends does not ensure the same health benefits as engaging with others in regular, face-to-face contact. Whilst it’s fun to message and post away online, a smile, a chat and a couple of laughs with another human – in person – will do far more to improve your mental well-being, reduce stress and improve self-esteem.
It could also make the day of the person you choose to spend some time with. It doesn’t need to be long – a quick cup of tea or an offer to pick up some shopping while you visit the supermarket are not that difficult to squeeze into the daily routine. “In our day-to-day elder care, we find that clients who enjoy more social interaction are generally less depressed and more energetic,” said Ken Deary, Managing Director at Right at Home Uk. “The summer holiday period puts our elderly generation at greater risk of isolation, as regular visitors may depart for a couple of weeks or more. It’s an ideal time to be a good neighbour and help conquer social isolation in our communities.”
ABOUT RIGHT AT HOME
Right at Home provides quality home care services to seniors and adults with physical disabilities and mild learning disabilities. Services range from 24 hour managed live-in care to short-term respite or post-operative care. We use consistent, highly trained CareGivers whose ethos is always to go the extra mile to help their clients. They provide household support, personal care, shopping, transportation and most importantly, good companionship. We also pride ourselves on excellent communication with friends and loved ones and work in partnership with other healthcare professionals to ensure support is holistic. Right at Home is one of the world’s most trusted home care companies, with more than 400 locally owned offices operating across five continents.