As they age, many adults say that they would prefer to stay at home. Despite being able to live more independently, this preference often creates concern from caring family members. What will happen if mom or dad begins to feel lonely or withdrawn? In this article, we explore the importance of companionship and connection in senior care and feature new ways to provide companionship based on tech-related products and services in the marketplace that you may not have heard of.
What is Companionship?
The term companionship is defined as a feeling of fellowship or friendship, and it serves as a basic human need that also establishes a sense of belonging. Having a companion, whether they are a relative, friend, caregiver, or pet helps keep the mind active. Having someone with whom to engage in conversation encourages optimistic thoughts and improves mental health.
When the need for companionship is unfulfilled, it can lead to both physical and emotional issues.
Benefits of Companionship
Companionship and connection provide numerous benefits, and having somebody to interact with is the best way to feel connected to society. Here are some of the top benefits of having a companion:
Aids in Personal Health
Social connections formed through companionship have a positive impact on physical and mental health. Countless researchers have studied the health benefits of companionship, and a 2010 meta-analysis reviewed studies including 308,000 people across 148 studies. The analysis noted a strong connection between social relationships and increased lifespan. Researchers have pinpointed specific ways in which connections positively support health such as lowering blood pressure and fighting inflammation.
Offers Peace of Mind
Aging comes with challenges that can make it risky for seniors to live alone. Constantly worrying about one’s well-being affects both the senior and their family. Companionship improves peace of mind, letting them know that there is someone to check on them and keep them safe.
Gives Sense of Purpose
According to a 2013 study on Social Science & Medicine, some seniors feel as if they are not making meaningful contributions to society and feel no purpose. However, a companion can create an environment that encourages and enhances a healthy mental spark to give seniors a sense of purpose. Having a purpose will give a person something to look forward to every day.
Companionship for seniors is extremely important, as important as it is for anyone at any stage of their lives. It promotes better physical health, better mental health, creates new routines, and simply just makes life better.
New Ways to Provide Companionship for Seniors
What are some ways to provide companionship to seniors, especially when the family does not live in the area?
Robotic pets are a great way to offer companionship for seniors. Robotic pets are toy animals that offer realistic elements like movement and sound. Although not a replacement for real living animals, they are a wonderful alternative for seniors when animate animals are no longer safe.
An assisted living and memory care facility in San Francisco has adopted this method for their dementia patients. As a result, the facility shares many successful experiences. This technology is more than just a toy; it can be used for amusement, comfort, or as a distraction to apprehension. It can be for whatever the individual needs.
Additionally, Papa is a wonderful way for seniors to find and interact with volunteers. By pairing older adults and families with Papa Pal volunteers, seniors are provided with transportation, companionship (both virtual and in-person), help with running errands, and help with house tasks. Watch some of these videos to see how Papa positively impacts our community.
Whether you are looking to become a Papa Pal or looking for a Papa Pal for your senior, Papa can be found all over the country making it easily accessible. Join to make an difference in someone’s life.
Ohmni Robot for Companionship in Senior Care
The Ohmni Telepresence Robot can help seniors connect with their family and friends, even if they are across the world from each other by using telepresence technology. Telepresence technology enables a person who is in one location to stimulate being physically present in another location. Family members and loved ones can call in from the Ohmni robot and provide company for the senior. Offering a wide range of features, the Ohmni has ample audio (perfect for seniors who can have a hard time hearing) and a flexible screen that moves up and down (allows a family member to see from the ceiling to the floor).
Some companionship activities that can be enjoyed with the Ohmni include:
- Watching a movie together
- Enjoying old pastimes
- Cooking the same meal
- Exercising together
- Simply just having a fun conversation and being in the presence of each other
Not only used for companionship, the Ohmni Robot has also been used to keep seniors safe. Click here to read about how two different clients use the Ohmni in their household and how the robot helped both of their moms when it really mattered.
With all of these possibilities that can provide companionship for seniors, both family members and seniors can find comfort in each other. There are so many ways that one can connect with a senior loved one; ask mom how their day was and share with dad your day. The possibilities are endless.
Want to explore more about Ohmni for Senior Care? Learn more about the features of the Ohmni Robot as a communication tool for seniors, and download our guide for tips to get started using telepresence robots.