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Best Ways to Fight Loneliness this Holiday Season

“Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

-Scott Adams

For many, the holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends during joyous gatherings. However, many seniors and at-risk individuals find themselves with few, if any, family or friends with whom to share the holidays with. In fact, the holidays can be one of the most depressing times of the year for older adults. The holidays can be a reminder of loneliness, especially to those who have lost a loved one who would have otherwise shared in the holidays.

Studies have shown that a lack of productive social and emotional ties can be harmful and even deadly to older adults. Isolation and loneliness are connected to a wide variety of health problems including heart problems, high blood pressure, depressions, compromised immune systems, and dementia; each of which is linked with early death.

During the holiday season, there are many things you can do to assist those around you in need of connection including:

  • Stop by and visit someone without local friends or family.
  • Invite a lonely family member to your holiday event.
  • Provide information for local Meals on Wheels programs that provide nutrition to older adults.
  • Surprise them with a gift or pre-cooked meal for them to enjoy.
  • Search for Senior Assistance programs in your area and find opportunities to help those in need around you.

It’s important to recognize and help those around us that may not be able to enjoy the holidays.

Addus growing to meet trending demand for quality health care at home

Even though our masks are coming off across the country, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still affecting how we work, live, and take care of our health. Those who needed skilled nursing during the pandemic experienced the effects of the pandemic profoundly and gained fresh perspectives on the benefits of health care at home.

The pandemic kept many patients within nursing facilities, hospitals, and other group health care settings where they were at a high risk of virus exposure, isolated from friends and family even as they were living out their final days.

As a result, many patients and their loved ones were driven to seek out different care models that brought the clinicians to them, including in-home care, home health, hospice, and telehealth. Quickly, these patients and families found that getting their care at home not only kept them safer in the pandemic, but also improved their quality of life.

“The home care setting allows families to be more proactively involved in the plan of care,” explains Natalie Benda, Vice President of Business Development for Addus HomeCare, one of the nation’s largest providers of personal home care and support services. “They have more options for different types of providers or services than they might have at a skilled nursing facility.”

Patients are also realizing improved health outcomes, like fewer hospitalizations or emergency room visits thanks to home care providers like Addus.

Addus Vice President of Business Development Philip Cowles stated: “Our goal is to be the trifecta in every state – personal care, home health and hospice – and we are beginning to add house calls in our footprint. This is positioning us to give consumers what they need, and we know it makes a difference.”

Addus strives to keep new patients who have experienced hospitalization out of health care facilities, providing comprehensive care that successfully manages their conditions at home. The organization is also growing to meet consumer demand and serves approximately 45,000 patients through 211 locations across 22 states.

Addus Senior Vice President of Payer Innovations Diane Kumarich believes the future of health care is in the home, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend: “People are looking for alternatives,” she commented. “COVID brought a switch of people having to leave their homes for healthcare in the past, but then realizing they could have much of this care come to their doorstep.”

Kumarich added that Addus is not only a leader in providing a seamless continuum of care services for patients and families who wish to stay at home, but the organization is expanding its connections in terms of how care is provided overall to improve access for more patients.

“Addus has good relationships with all of the aging networks that provide meals and other senior support services, we accept almost every payer source, and are even layering in the ability to send out a doctor or nurse practitioner who can help manage patient care at home,” she explains. “This puts Addus in a good position to provide care and support to those home-bound elderly who haven’t been able to access care in the last few years.”

Even Medicare is responding to the consumer demand for home health by expanding personal care benefits to some Medicare Advantage plans. Previously, personal care could only be paid for by long-term care insurance, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration or through private funds.

“Though it is a small handful of plans that currently offer this benefit, it is ever-expanding,” Kumarich stated. “This is indicative of the changing dynamics in health care that involve more and more patients wishing to receive quality care at home.”

To learn more about Addus HomeCare and how to access home health care services, visit addus.com or call 888.233.8746.