Companion care, which can also be augmented to encompass personal care, is one of the most popular senior care services offered by home care agencies.
Hiring a senior care specialist to spend time with your senior loved one on a daily or weekly basis benefits both clients and their families.
1. Peace of Mind and Senior Independence
Peace of mind may be the greatest of all benefits, especially when first embarking on the in-home caregiving journey.
Before contracting with caregiving agencies, seniors and their caregivers/immediate family members carry more anxiety, fear, and stress than they let on. This is because the increasing physical limitations inherent in aging are in direct opposition to an independent lifestyle and that can feel impossible to accept.
Questions of safety, nourishment, getting around town securely and without risk to oneself or others, stability, and accessibility around the home are all concerns that bubble up without a concrete solution before deciding to enlist outside support. Fortunately, working with a companion is a win-win solution, supporting the client’s needs while facilitating senior independence and the ability to remain in the comfort of home.
Companion care services ensure caring individuals check in on a regularly scheduled basis. In addition to keeping the client company, playing games, listening to music, and providing assistance with hobbies and favorite activities, companions also communicate consistently with a designated family member and the agency regarding the wellbeing of the client. He or she will also report any red flags that would go unnoticed without the regular attention from a senior caregiver or loved one.
2. Regular Social Engagement
The folks at Harvard University Health Watch have a fantastic quick-quiz for seniors that “tests” their social engagement level. The lower the points, the more seniors should focus on connecting with individuals and their larger community. Why? Because, “Research shows that socially isolated older adults are at greater risk of sickness, disability, and even premature death.”
If seniors are no longer able to drive or have declined mobility it makes it more difficult to independently attend social activities, religious or spiritual services, volunteer activities, etc., companion services bridge that gap. In fact, social engagement and human connection are the prime focuses of companion care.
In addition to having someone stop by and provide conversation, debate, a game of cards, a shared meal, etc., companion care also means clients can dine out at favorite restaurants or coffee shops, visit friends, and observe both routine and special calendar activities, as opposed to remaining isolated in their home.
3. Personalized Attention, Conversation, and Activities
While assisted living and nursing home facilities do their best to meet the individual needs of their residents, the majority of care is designed and oriented for “the median population.” The reality, though, is that no one person is exactly “the median.”
When you hire a companion for your loved one, agencies do their best to place clients with companions who have complementary temperaments, personalities, and life interests. This yields a more natural and genuine bonding process, and both individuals benefit.
The client takes the lead and the companion will follow in terms of the types of activities that take place. Some of the most common include:
- Reviewing the daily news
- Reading through favorite magazines or literature
- Going to or streaming movies and TV shows
- Working on crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word searches, trivia games, and other brain/memory stimulating activities
- Listening (and/or dancing) to music
- Engaging in favorite hobbies such as arts/crafts, gardening, playing music, scrapbooking, handwork, etc.
- Taking walks or exercising together
- Looking through scrapbooks and photo albums and sharing personal stories
Our caregivers and companions take great care to respect the client’s needs, interests, and wishes, tailoring the visits accordingly.
Senior care comes at a price, and that price is determined by the type of care you select. Home care options are notably more affordable than facility-based care. For many, the addition of companion care, and increasing personal care as needed, is far more cost-efficient than making an abrupt transition into facility-based care before it is required.
Read The Cost of In-Home Care For Elderly Family Members for more information.
5. Evolving, Responsive, and Client-Driven Support
In an era when so many seniors live tens- or hundreds of miles from their nearest relatives, Harvard also points out that having someone to contact during a crisis is essential for senior health and safety. They continue, “One of the most telling signs of isolation is not having someone you can turn to for help during a crisis—for example, someone to help with shopping or get you to medical appointments during an illness.”
This is exactly the role that your companion and home care agency will serve. We will augment and upgrade personalized support as needed and in response to your loved one’s evolving needs.
- Is your loved one recovering from an illness or recuperating from a hospital stay?
- Would it be helpful for the shift to include light laundry and housekeeping?
- Are memory loss or physical disabilities leaving them unable to bathe, dress, or change themselves without assistance?
In addition to socialization and human connection, the needs of the client drive the evolution of their in-home care. This can accommodate both social interaction and personal care services such as hygiene, mobility assistance, transportation support, and reorganizing main living spaces to remain safer and more accessible for the client.
Senior Companion Care
If you feel your senior loved one would benefit from companion care and you also expect their need for assistance will increase over time, the relationship you establish now with a qualified agency and companion exponentially eases the migration into the personal care realm.
Visit our post, Non-Medical Home Care Services: Everything You Need to Know, which covers the various types of services available to seniors from companionship to personal care, transportation, errand running, and more.