Companionship is good for the heart

Image: Companionship is good for the heart

It is no secret that social isolation is a growing problem, especially with quarantine still in effect across most of Canada.

Seniors appear to be the hardest hit by the nationwide call to self-isolate. Currently many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation.

Seniors isolation stats

According to the Government of Canada social isolation can affect the psychological and cognitive health of seniors. Isolation is associated with higher levels of depression and suicide. Research shows that 1 in 4 seniors are living with a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. 44% of seniors in residential care are diagnosed with depression or showed symptoms of depression. And approximately 50% of seniors over the age of 80 reported feeling lonely. These are staggering statistics that show that isolation can take a toll on mental health and well-being.

The importance of companionship

Having quality connections and social supports can increase happiness and longevity. Seniors who receive social support from their family, friends and community are shown to be happier and have fewer health problems. Blue Zones, regions of the world where a higher than usual number of people live much longer than the global average, shows that people who are socially active and integrated into their communities live longer lives.

Why companionship is good for the heart

Social isolation and loneliness are linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease according to Fraser Health. Conversely meaningful social interactions affect the heart in a positive way by reducing chronic stress and unhealthy coping strategies due to loneliness. Having regular social interactions can have a positive effect on blood pressure and heart rate.

Things to do to combat loneliness

It can be difficult to maintain social connections during COVID-19. Here are some ways to stay connected with family, friends and the seniors in our lives during the pandemic:

  • Schedule a regular phone or video call
  • Use social media to keep up-to-date with everyone’s lives
  • Send a card with a personalized message
  • Send an email to let the senior know you are thinking about them

Companionship for seniors

You may have a senior in your life that is experiencing social and physical isolation because of COVID-19. Seniors for Seniors will send senior companions to go check up on the senior, buy groceries and drop them off, take them to run errands, drive them to their medical appointments, or just drop by for a friendly visit. Seniors for Seniors provides compassionate and supportive services that can help seniors feel connected during this difficult time.

COVID-19 precautions

Seniors for Seniors is following the guidance of Public Health Ontario as it relates to the management of COVID-19. These procedures include having our senior companions practice rigorous hand hygiene, wearing Personal Protective Equipment which may include mask, gloves, gown and safety glasses and screening clients before each visit.

To read Spectrum’s official COVID-19 statement and FAQs, please click here.