NJ Senior Care Blog

Mental Health for Seniors: Can Companion Care Help?

Seniors are uniquely vulnerable to a number of mental health conditions. These issues can be exacerbated by social isolation, declining physical mobility or chronic disease. How can you help your senior loved one stay mentally active and engaged?

It’s important to remember that depression, mood swings, and serious cognitive decline are not normal parts of aging. If you’re concerned for your loved one’s mental health, companion care can help. An in-home companion caregiver can provide social interaction, daily assistance with important tasks, and access to important mental health resources. 

Social Isolation Linked to Poor Mental Health Outcomes

Many seniors have lost spouses, loved ones, and friends. Many are unable to drive or suffer from chronic illnesses that prevent them from taking part in hobbies or activities they used to love. As a result, opportunities to socialize and maintain relationships can decline as we age. In fact, nearly 30 percent of American seniors live alone, according to a 2017 report from the Association on Aging. Among women aged 75 and above, nearly half lived alone


While not all seniors who live alone are lonely, living alone does pose a unique risk for social isolation. This is especially true for seniors who can no longer drive. 


Social isolation can have serious physical, mental and emotional consequences. It has been linked to depression, cognitive decline and a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Most alarmingly, loneliness has been linked to premature death


The daily presence of a companion caregiver can provide your senior loved one with the social interaction and stimulation he needs. 

Social Engagement Linked to Improved Cognitive Function

Are you concerned about your senior loved one’s cognitive health? Is he or she at risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease? 


Social interaction may help fight the risk of cognitive issues as your loved one ages. Studies have shown that higher rates of social connectedness are linked to reduced risk of cognitive decline over several years. Social connectedness has also been shown to reduce a seniors’ risk of developing dementia. 


A companion caregiver can provide daily social interaction, as well as resources for maintaining contact with loved ones. Caregivers can provide transportation and assistance using communication devices like cell phones, computers and tablets. 

Social Isolation Linked to Increased Rates of Depression

Social isolation has been linked to a number of mental health issues. It has been especially linked to increased risk of depression in older adults


Companion caregivers can provide the daily social interaction and access to transportation seniors need to remain socially engaged. Additionally, caregivers can watch out for signs of depression or mental health symptoms that need attention. 


For instance, a trained companion caregiver understands the symptoms of depression, anxiety and cognitive decline. He or she can then consult with family members to schedule appointments with mental healthcare professionals and provide transportation to those appointments. Trained caregivers can also help seniors maintain daily medication schedules and help provide the nutrition required to maintain good mental health. 


Companion care services with Visiting Angels can be a vital part of a your senior loved one’s quality of life and mental health. 


If you or your loved one is interested in companion care in Burlington or Mercer Counties in New Jersey contact Visiting Angels, a fully accredited personal care services company.


Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.