Humans widely recognize a natural desire for connection. Just as trees need water to grow, people need social interaction to live a fulfilling life. MAH Companions can provide support for older individuals who may be experiencing social frailty. Social frailty is when an older adult starts feeling more isolated and vulnerable, which can hurt their mental, emotional, and physical health.

 

Understanding Social Frailty in Older Adults

You may have noticed changes in your family that could be signs of social frailty. Like a grandmother who used to love going to community events but now prefers to stay home or a grandfather who used to enjoy long walks with friends but now turns down invitations. Social frailty isn’t a formal diagnosis, but it could indicate the start of a decline in health.

This shift can be brought on by various factors, from the physical limitations of aging to the loss of friends and partners. Social frailty is not just a mental health concern. It is also associated with an increased risk of disability and death.

Recent studies have highlighted the significant health risks associated with social deprivation. Specifically, research has shown that social frailty, also known as social vulnerability, is more prevalent among older adults than cognitive and physical frailty combined. This condition can lead to feelings of abandonment, devaluation, and anxiety regarding seeking support in times of need.

 

How to Support Your Loved One in Avoiding Social Frailty

Addressing the risk of social frailty is important when seeking support for an older loved one. While a geriatrician is well-equipped to screen for social vulnerability, if your loved one visits a general practice physician, you can request the utilization of the detailed Social Frailty Index to assess the risk. This evaluation involves a review of your loved one’s access to transportation, feelings of loneliness and social isolation, internet connectivity, and more.

With these valuable insights and the doctor’s advice, you can support your loved one in making positive changes to their lifestyle to incorporate more social interaction. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Explore local senior centers and classes tailored to older adults’ interests, such as water aerobics, bingo nights, language classes, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Schedule regular visits and outings, whether a lunch date, a trip to the library or museums or simply spending quality time at home engaged in meaningful activities.
  • Collaborate to create a list of neighbors, family members, and friends your loved one wishes to reconnect with, then take the initiative to arrange visits and get-togethers.
  • Hire a Companion for additional support and company, especially if your loved one lives alone.

By adding these positive changes to your loved one’s daily routine, you can assist them in overcoming loneliness by building a supportive social circle. Remember to check in frequently and offer encouragement as they navigate this new social environment. Please encourage them to explore new hobbies or become part of clubs and organizations that resonate with their interests. Your loved one can discover a sense of purpose and belonging by actively participating in their community.

Here’s a helpful tool for older adults who wish to assess their own social vulnerability: a simple five-item index created by researchers in Japan.

  1. Do you go out less frequently compared with last year?
  2. Do you sometimes visit your friends?
  3. Do you feel you are helpful to friends or family?
  4. Do you live alone?
  5. Do you talk to someone every day?

Take a moment to reflect on your answers. If your responses aren’t meeting your expectations, it could be an opportunity to reassess your social situation and take proactive steps toward positive change.

 

How Companions Can Be a Partner in Overcoming Social Frailty

MAH Companions understand the unique challenges older adults face when dealing with social vulnerability. Our goal is to provide personalized assistance to meet their specific needs. Our companionship services are designed to combat social frailty and provide essential companionship and support to older adults.

Companions can help increase social engagement by:

  • Engaging in meaningful conversations and enjoyable activities, creating connections, and alleviating feelings of loneliness.
  • Building trust and providing emotional support with regular visits, offering a dependable source of understanding.
  • Transporting and accompanying your loved one to community events, social outings, and recreational activities, encouraging interaction and independence.
  • Developing customized support based on individual interests, ensuring each Client feels valued and empowered.

Our Companions are committed to enhancing the well-being and quality of life of older adults who may need a little extra social support.

 

The Maxim at Home team is here to help.

Do you need help with a loved one?  Then consider Maxim at Home’s homemaker and companionship services. Our team of friendly, compassionate Companions takes great pride in serving people in their community who need light assistance with daily chores, some company and conversation, or convenient transportation for errands, appointments, or trips to the store.

Explore our services to learn more about our:

  • Homemaker and companionship services
  • Easy-to-use scheduling platform
  • “Best Value” service pricing
  • Only 1-hour service minimum

 

Sign up in seconds to enjoy free 24-hour access to our on-demand scheduling platform, where you can view our team of vetted compassionate companions.

 

If you have questions about our services, please call 1-844-624-5646 to speak to one of our caring service Advisors.


Resource links:

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Social Vulnerability

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2375054/pdf/pone.0002232.pdf

 

National Library of Medicine – The Prevalence of Social Frailty Among Older Adults

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36402197/

 

National Institutes of Health – Screening Value of Social Frailty

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6720732/pdf/ijerph-16-02809.pdf

 

Social Frailty Index

https://sachinjshah.shinyapps.io/Social_Frailty_Index/