Companion care services can make all the difference in whether your loved one is able to remain living independently in the home they cherish. Having companionship, as well as assistance with everyday tasks, can be crucial for seniors who may be isolated due to health or mobility issues.
Home care companions provide the mental stimulation and friendship that can help keep older adults more engaged with the world around them.
The Benefits of Companion Care
Companion care may include a variety of services, depending on the needs of the senior. Some of the responsibilities of a caregiver may include:
- Grocery shopping
- Light housekeeping
- Personal care (help dressing, grooming, etc.)
- Emotional support
The goal of companion care is to enable older adults to remain safe and healthy at home. A companion makes life easier and more enjoyable,
What Kind of Care Do You Need?
There are different types of companion care available, so it is important to fully understand your needs before learning more about how to find a companion for elderly loved ones.
There are two basic types of companion care: in-home and live-in.
In-Home Companion Care
This service includes short visits, perhaps several hours a day or a few times a week. Assistants may help with grocery shopping, transportation, meal prep, and other tasks that make it easier for elders to live independently in their homes.
Live-In Companion Care
Live-in care may be needed for a senior who needs help with many aspects of daily living. Older adults who are at risk for falling or don’t feel comfortable at home alone for other reasons can benefit from the 24-hour companionship of a live-in assistant.
How to Find a Companion for Elderly Loved Ones
Should you go through an agency, hire privately, or find a volunteer?
In most areas, there are several resources that can help you learn how to find a companion for elderly loved ones, such as:
- Through church
- Contacting a local senior center
- Asking your loved one’s doctor for recommendations
- Private care providers
- Home care agencies
- Word of mouth
It is tempting to hire a friend or friend of a friend who comes highly recommended. In some cases, that might be a good choice. However, working with an agency is the best way to ensure your loved one’s companion is experienced, certified, and can be held accountable if they fail to perform agreed-upon duties.
If you’re working with a tight budget, you may find volunteer companion care providers through church or senior-advocacy organizations. Volunteers may not be able to provide all of the services your loved one needs, but they can provide much-needed respite care and become an important part of an older adult’s extended circle of support.
Most home care agencies go to great lengths to verify their employees have the training and experience they claim to have. Working with an agency also removes any discomfort about paying a care companion.
Pricing and expectations are clearly set before the caregiver is hired. The agency will handle any issues or discrepancies with pay, and you don’t have to worry about the complications that sometimes come with hiring a friend or acquaintance.
Questions for a Potential Companion
Once you have narrowed down the choices, asking some or all of the following questions of a home care agency will help you find a company you can rely on:
- Does your agency also offer home health care?
- How is the caregiver supervised?
- What type of background checks and verification does the agency perform?
- How will a client care plan be developed?
- Will my loved one have the same caregiver each time?
- Are there additional fees, such as for holidays and weekends?
- How long does the agency retain its caregivers, on average?
- What special certifications do your caregivers have?
An agency representative should answer these questions or any others you might have with ease. If they cannot, consider interviewing another agency. Remember, no matter where you find a care provider, you are never stuck with them. If it turns out the person is not a good fit, you are free to find someone who is.
The chances are that if your loved one is unhappy with the arrangement, the companion is probably unhappy too. Another advantage of working with a home care agency is that you will have several qualified care professionals to choose from. Ultimately, the most important thing is that your loved one feels supported and confident living at home.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.