Senior companion care, otherwise known as elderly companion care, is a multi-faceted approach to dealing with the problems that the elderly in our community face as a result of aging. Isolation is one issue that severely and negatively impacts the quality of life for seniors who live on their own, but senior companions work to combat these ill effects.
Who Is a Senior Companion?
A senior companion may be a paid employee or volunteer who wants to see the lives of seniors in their community improve. Some companions work for a service while others might simply be well-intentioned and compassionate neighbors, family members or friends. Most types of senior companion caregivers do not have to have any medical expertise, as it is primarily their role to provide company. Certain care providers, especially those who live with the senior citizen, are required to receive medical training.
While most senior care companions are 55 or older, thus providing companionship close in age to the senior, individuals of any age can volunteer.
What Are the Types of Senior Companions and What Do They Do?
There four different types of senior companionship. Whichever you or your loved one make use of depends on the unique needs called for by the situation. The four approaches to elderly companionship care are:
- Live-in companionship
- In-home companion care
- Companion hospice care
- Religious companion care
Live-In Elderly Companion Care
These types of companion caregivers have a very big job, as they work in 24 hour shifts to help a senior with their day-to-day lives, in addition to providing the emotional support that companionship provides. These responsibilities typically include meal preparation, bathing and other aspects of everyday care. A caregiver of this type is an employee of a home care service.
In-Home Companion Care
This is the most commonly volunteer-facilitated type of elderly companion care. An individual from the community spends several hours a day with the senior citizen and helps them to perform a myriad of tasks. Many of these tasks are typically errands and chores, such as grocery shopping and paying bills.
Companion Hospice Care
Hospice care requires a multitude of compassionate and experienced individuals to help the senior. A senior companion from a hospice organization helps in many of the same ways that in-home companions do. They are a valuable part of an elderly person’s hospice team, as they alleviate loneliness and allow the senior to have independence at this critical time in their life.
Religiously-Based Companion Care
For seniors who are active within a religious community, that very community is the first that the senior and their family will turn to for companionship. Houses of worship and religiously-based organizations are often glad to help their members and families to have a more comfortable life.
When Should You or a Loved One Receive Senior Companion Care?
Senior companion care is ideal for the elderly who wish to keep a semblance of independence in their lives. These seniors may live alone for longer, avoiding nursing homes, and with a higher quality of life if they have the assistance of a companion.
Many seniors benefit from the addition of such a person in their lives. If you or your elderly loved one is struggling to perform daily tasks safely, companionship could be exactly what’s needed. Many families get companionship for their senior relatives when they live too far for their family members to make routine visits.
If the senior needs help or even just a friend, senior companion care could make a world of difference.
What Traits Should a Senior Companion Have?
Before you begin your search for elderly companion care, you need to know what kind of service the senior needs. Some active seniors only need someone to help them out for a few hours a day. Others might need more frequent or even around-the-clock aid. Your house of worship, doctor, social worker, or other qualified professional can point you toward the service that will accommodate the senior’s needs best.
Regardless of how much or how little companionship the senior in question needs, you should interview with prospective companions. After all, the senior will be spending substantial time with them. Things will be much more peaceful and easy-going if the companion get along.
In addition to that, the companion should be 100% willing to keep the senior’s family in-the-know at all times. They should be willing to work with the client (the senior) and their family to draft a plan and then reliably enact it. Lines of communication should be open on all sides to get the best experience possible.
How Much Does It Cost to Receive Senior Companion Care?
Senior care that’s provided by a volunteer may be free. It’s not uncommon for neighbors and friends to stop by and help out a fellow senior, or for family members to do the same. This comes at no cost. Hiring a senior care companion from an agency, however, is another story.
While prices may differ based on what needs doing, the average cost of senior companion care hired through an agency is roughly $17-$18 per hour. In most circumstances, the agency will impose a 4-hour minimum when you use this service.
Senior Companionship: 4 Common FAQs
Q: What Does a Senior Care Companion Do?
A: Senior care companions have a lot of responsibilities, depending on what they have volunteered for or been hired to do. Here’s a brief (and nowhere near all-inclusive) list of tasks to expect:
- The dispensing of medication
- Assistance with errands and chores
- Planning and arriving at appointments
Q: What Types of Agencies Provide Senior Companion Care?
A: Certified home care and hospice agencies offer these services, as do non-certified agencies and independent companions who work outside of an agency.
Q: How Can I Connect to a Senior Companion?
A: The senior’s doctors, religious leaders, social
worker or other professional can
recommend an agency to hire a senior companion through. Their recommendations
are not iron-clad but are valuable because of their level of expertise.
Q: Is a Senior Companion Worth the Cost?
A: Absolutely! For one, the cost of elderly companion care is not anywhere near the cost of nursing home living. Second, there is no price tag that can be put on your beloved senior’s happiness, independence and quality of life.