Family photos and home movies are the ultimate trips down memory lane. Sharing the sights and stories of the past can be extremely beneficial for seniors that often feel disconnected from friends and family members due to health concerns or limited mobility.
Many seniors stay home all day without any interaction, which ultimately can cause loneliness and depression. However, companion services can help cheer up a senior and keep them engaged socially and mentally by pulling out those boxes of albums, scrapbooks and film reels or doing other activities. Let’s learn more about why that’s important for a senior’s overall health.
The Value of Companionship for Seniors
While staying active physically is beneficial for seniors, so is being engaged socially and mentally. Seniors especially need to be engaged in activities that keep their mind sharp and help them connect with others because it is all too easy for them to become disengaged in an empty home. Companionship helps seniors build relationships, share memories, and engage in activities that they wouldn’t otherwise do if they were home alone.
Companionship and engagement can provide benefits like:
- Enhanced mental and emotional health
- Sense of community
- Reduced loneliness and depression
- Higher self-esteem
- Improved physical health
- Boosted cognitive function
- Purposeful living
- Better sleep
When seniors are engaged socially and mentally, they can make connections and build relationships that are vital to their overall well-being and happiness. And companionship throughout the day is a great way to ensure seniors are getting the mental stimulation they need.
Companionship Activities for Seniors
There are several activities that caregivers can do with seniors to help them be alert and engaged. Here are just a few ideas:
Seniors often enjoy reminiscing with caregivers and friends. Sharing these stories is often therapeutic for seniors and can help promote better communication. Often, as seniors tell their own stories, they feel revitalized.
Listeners can be taken on a magical adventure, making storytelling a great experience for both the listener and the senior storyteller. Listeners can ask questions to prompt a new story or to dive deeper into the one being told. Or try pulling out old family photos, videos, or albums to urge a senior to talk about cherished memories. Looking at these mementos can unlock memories and help seniors reflect and reminisce. Consider recording some of these stories so you’ll have a digital record of your family history.
Good conversation is especially great for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. While they may not be able to remember what they had for breakfast, they can often remember past memories and childhood stories.
Playing games are a great way for seniors to engage with family members and friends. Games require mental sharpness (if you want to win, that is). Playing games, even video games, is a great social activity that keeps the mind healthy. Games can also help seniors improve hand-eye coordination as they have to hold cards or move small pieces across a game board.
Puzzles are another great pastime that seniors can do with companionship. While puzzles can be completed alone, having someone there can make all the difference. Puzzling is a great time to engage in conversation and to engage spatial and visual skills. Consider turning an old family portrait into a puzzle!
Putting together crafts helps seniors show off their creative side. Older adults may not have the ability to complete craft projects on their own, but they can with a little help from a caregiver. Crafts can be as simple as drawing on a piece of paper or can be as elaborate as creating a scrapbook together or a fun photo gift from old family photos. Crafting helps seniors boost coordination and implement problem-solving skills. Not to mention, it’s just fun! And once the craft is complete, seniors have a beautiful memento or a gift for a family member plus a sense of accomplishment.
There are many other ways that seniors can benefit from companionship and plenty of other activities that caregivers, family members, and friends can do with their loved ones to keep them engaged socially and mentally.