Loneliness and Social Isolation have huge negative health consequences and the problem is of Epic Proportion among older adults and people with disabilities. Your caregivers can change this simply by asking meaningful questions to your clients.
If you're saying "this doesn't apply to clients who have home care or attend a day program" you are very wrong. To explain why, let's think back to middle school. Maybe you were one of the cool popular kids and it didn't apply to you directly, but think of that kid who was awkward and not popular, or was different, or who didn't speak well or perhaps had a disability.
Even though they came to school everyday there's a great chance that they felt lonely or isolated. Now think of the folks who you care for...Maybe their hearing isn't great or their care providers have a different native language than them. Is there a chance that they're feeling lonely and isolated? You bet there is!
Learn about Combating Loneliness and Isolation from an Expert
We met with Deb Skovron on the Home Care Heroes and Day Service Stars podcast and we learned a great deal about the negative effects of loneliness and isolation, but more importantly, about how to combat them.
Deb created and runs a program called Circle Talk that is used by home care, day care, PACE programs and many other types of programs to solve the problem.
We'd love you to learn from Deb and determine whether Circle Talk could be right as a differentiator for your home care agency. But your caregivers can start making a difference for free just by adjusting the conversations that they have with their clients. Read on...
8 Simple Questions your caregivers can ask to combat loneliness and social isolation,
The key to combating loneliness and isolation is creating relationships, and as I shared above there's a good chance that your care team doesn't have a deep relationship with their home care client. Similarly there's a chance that the people in your day service program don't have friends there.
Meaningful conversations can change all of this. Not only are the conversations rich in and of themselves, but the information shared and learned can be woven into conversations down the line and often create a sense of “You know me!” for that person.
Here are 8 great questions that Deb calls her favorites:
- What is the origin of your name? Who chose your name and why? It can be your first, last, middle or even your nickname!
- What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
- What was your favorite game as a kid when you were 10 years old?
- What would you do if you could spend your birthday any way you wanted?
- If you could have one magical power, what would that be?
- If you could step into a time machine, where would you want to go; into the future or the past? Where would you want to land? Year? Place?
- What was your favorite room in the house you grew up in? Why?
- What is something that warms your heart?
Deb's more basic advice is to seek "Stories about their personality, preferences, hobbies, likes, dislikes, family, friends, pets and on and on. These bits of information start to paint the unique stories of a person’s life." She encourages you to try it out.
Make your home care agency or day services program different
One of the topics that we discuss frequently on the Home Care Heroes and Day Services Stars podcast is how to make your agency different. Here are some episodes you may enjoy (click to learn more:
- Succeed by Being Different (with an agency owner of the country's fastest growing home care agency)
- Using Science and AI to recruit the best candidates and retain them longer
- The country's best ranked home care agency explains how BALANCE is the key to success
- Adapting your agency for the future (with a top coach from Steve the Hurricane's company)
- Using Video to Differentiate your home care agency
How can we help?
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In the meantime, we'd love to know if we can help you with our outstanding home care software and world class support.
Ankota provides software for organization who enable older and disabled people to live at home, rather than in a nursing home or other institutional facility. We provide software for Home Care, EVV, Disability Services, Adult Day Services and other related needs like PACE Programs, Centers for Independent Living, and Area Agencies on Aging. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.