Commentary by Kara Shipman
Loneliness and social isolation can be very damaging, especially for older adults. Social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death and is associated with a 50 percent increased risk of dementia. Poor social relationships are also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke as well as higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.
Sometimes it’s hard to pull yourself out of the loneliness you are feeling, especially in today’s world — a world forcing us to distance from each other. But just because we are physically distant doesn’t mean we can’t still find and feel community with others. That’s where CarDon comes in.
Find social engagement
Even though we have to stay socially, or physically, distant, being part of a CarDon community like Carmel Health & Living still offers the opportunity to stay socially engaged.
Being social doesn’t mean you have to be physically close — because we can’t be right now. But it does mean you have the chance for social engagement with nurses, dietary associates, the life enrichment team, physical or occupational therapists and even other residents.
From creative activities, to the receipt of cards and love letters from friends and family, the Carmel Health & Living staff makes sure residents don’t go through their days alone, and that truly makes all the difference.
At Carmel Health & Living, residents are visited each day by staff members who offer a warm smile, a comforting word and a health and wellness check, both physically and mentally.
The dietary staff provides delicious meals three times a day. And depending on the ever-changing regulations surrounding COVID-19, residents may be able to socially distance while eating and conversing with other residents in the dining room. But even if the dining room isn’t open, the dietary staff serves up a healthy meal and a large dose of love and care with every visit.
Either way, you’ll get a helping of human interaction with every meal.
Community is shown when team members engage with, provide emotional support to and know each resident by name.
Find peace of mind
Human beings were created to be in community with one another. It’s human nature. An essential human need. And while we may need to stay safe by staying separated, the families of the residents at Carmel Health & Living can have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are being fully loved, fully cared for and fully engaged in life within the safety of a place they call home.
Of course, it’s difficult knowing you can’t see your loved one the way you want to. But the staff at Carmel Health & Living is interacting with them and uplifting their spirits, even when you can’t.
In the midst of uncertainty with COVID-19, your loved one is being cared for on a daily basis, and also when more immediate health needs arise. You can rest easy knowing your loved ones aren’t alone. They are together with others who care about them.
Even in tough times such as these, the staff at Carmel Health & Living will not let your loved one’s spirit fade. No matter their age, ability or experience, residents are made to feel special, attended to, cared for and loved. And that is how CarDon helps each resident find community.
Kara Shipman is the director of community engagement at CarDon and Associates, a Family-First Senior Living Company, with more than 20 locations throughout Indiana and Ohio.