What is Companion Care?
SOURCE: Senior Living.org
The role of companion care changes based on the senior and their needs. It is a service that can be applied at home, home hospice or in an assisted living situations. In general terms, companion care spans both the social and physical care of a senior or couple. The goal of companion care as a service is to:
- Provide emotional support
- Improve the quality of life of the senior
- Provide companionship for the senior
Companion care can also include physical care such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, and chores that support or that maintain the independence of a senior or couple. Companion care should enable the senior to enjoy life.
Senior companions are people, some of whom are paid and some are volunteers, who provide a needed and consistent presence in a senior's life. The role of a senior companion is to maintain the link between the senior and the rest of society. They work in such as way as to provide emotional companionship and in some cases, they provide physical care while lifting the burdens that come with getting older, loss of mobility and mental decline. Senior companions need not be medically trained or certified and their role can be as simple as taking a senior grocery shopping or to a doctors appointment. It can also be simply sitting down with a senior on a regular basis and enjoying conversation.
What are the Benefits of Senior Companionship?
The biggest benefit of senior companionship is that it improves the quality of life of seniors. Companionship goes beyond just caregiving and is a symbiotic relationship that enables the senior to thrive. On a social level having friends and companions enables people to talk about challenges, express grief, and to find resources to solve problems. On a personal level, a quality companion is someone that the senior not only looks forward to visiting with, doing things with but also is someone on which they can rely. Older people worry about many of their challenges that for you and I might be very small such as going to the grocery store or transportation to and from doctors appointments. Companionship helps to remove the worry and burden, so that seniors can focus on living a quality life.
The impact of a senior companion for seniors is often a longer and healthier life with improved wellbeing. When we are alone, we suffer and are at higher risk of dementia and forgetfulness. There is a lack of ambition and it can be associated with depression and the loss of the will to live. The worst of all criminals are placed in isolation as a punishment. Companionship for the elderly is so important because it is the fuel that brings meaning back to their lives and with that comes the willingness to do more.
Companion Care Services
At its core, companion care is just as the name implies—companionship and someone to share experiences and personal stories with. This personal link can be crucial for seniors who live alone and may be isolated from others.
Seniors who engage in conversation and play games (bridge, scrabble, etc.) with a companion are keeping an edge on their mental acuity. Studies show that these kinds of stimulation can help delay the effects of dementia or Alzheimers.
Other services include:
- Medication reminders
- Assistance with daily routines such as getting out of bed and getting in and out of the car.
- Performing light housekeeping duties
- Preparing and cooking meals
- Transportation assistance to the grocery store, doctor's appointments, and errands.
- Help with planning, scheduling and keeping appointments.
- Encouraging and planning social activities. This can include local sightseeing trips, movies, shopping, visits to family and friends, and anything that keeps the client busy and enjoying life.
- Exercising to keep a healthy body, mind and spirit. This can include walks in the neighborhood, swimming at the local pool, and anything that keeps them active.
- Entertaining with hobbies, games, etc.
- Interacting with family members to keep them abreast of their loved one's condition.
- Some providers may have dementia care training and experience to help those seniors who are showing signs of the disease.