Seniors’ Mental Health – The Importance of Companionship

Life is better with friends and it turns out it’s beneficial for your mental health as well. Relationships are a crucial element in protecting our mental health, especially as we age.

As we get older, we may lose the ability to live independently and do things for ourselves which can make depression and anxiety more likely to set in. Mental Health is closely tied to physical health and that can be particularly hard for the elderly. The World Health Organization defines health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Companionship services provide seniors with the help they need not only for daily tasks, but they can also have a huge impact on their mental and social wellbeing, “A lot of our seniors that live independently become socially isolated and social isolation is a big cause, and companion to mental health issues,” explains Laura Kinder Director, Empowering Aging at Spark the Change Colorado.

For Mental Health Awareness Month, we hosted a special series on Facebook Live with Spark the Change Colorado and talked about different resources in our state. For those that are older, Spark the Change offers their Senior Companion Program.

Those in the program receive companionship and friendship, are provided transportation, help with shopping, assistance with simple chores, and more, “We went to a dance class, sometimes go shopping at places I can’t go to by myself, go to the YMCA and swim. I feel good and healthy and able to do all this, especially when I have help,” says Carmelit Lucarelli, a participant in the Senior Companion Program.

The program benefits the clients but also the volunteers, “I’m meeting all different kinds of people. They all have a world of experience and wisdom and it’s very rewarding,” explains senior companion volunteer Olivia Abeyta-Gonzalez.

More volunteers are always needed. Volunteer companions must be 55 years and over, pass a background check, and willing to volunteer 5-40 hours per week. For more on the Senior Companion Program and how to receive services or become a volunteer, click here.

9Health recently launched two free online mental health screeners. Click below to take the confidential screeners today:

Anxiety Screening

Depression Screening

To view all the episodes we did for Mental Health Awareness Month, click here.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.