Companion Care Services for Seniors

Aug 3, 2016

Companion Care Services for Seniors

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As seniors grow older, becoming less mobile and more dependent on others, it can become much harder or even impossible to continue to participate in social events or outings. Companion care services can help fill the social needs of an aging senior.

When caring for seniors, we sometimes forget that seniors need friendship and socialization just like the rest of us. In fact, there can be devastating health effects of social isolation, and especially for seniors.

What is Companion Care?

Companion care is an in-home service where caregivers will help fulfill a senior’s social needs. Companions will provide social interaction, help monitor a senior’s safety, health and wellness, and will help with household tasks.

They may plan social outings, and do activities to help seniors stay mentally active. In most states, companions cannot give any hands-on care, as that requires additional licensing. For example, companions can remind a senior to take their medication, but cannot administer medication to the senior.

Other types of companion care services may include:

  • Medication reminders
  • Assistance with ADLs and daily routines
  • Light housekeeping duties like laundry, or cleaning
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation to grocery stores, doctor’s appointments, and other errands
  • Planning social activities that may include visiting with friends and family, going to movies, and more
  • Light exercise or physical activity, which may include walking, swimming, dancing or more
  • Some caregivers may also be trained in dementia or Alzheimer’s care

Cost of Companion Care

Companion caregivers are typically paid hourly and their pay may range from $10 to $25 per hour. This is dependent on the hours needed, time of day, location, and the services performed.

Medicare will not pay for companion care services. Some long-term care (LTC) insurance plans will cover companion services, but you will need to check with your provider to be sure. Most families will pay for companion care services out of pocket.

For low-income seniors in some states, there may be a home allowance available. You will want to check with your Area Agency on Aging to find out if your state has a program like this.

Benefits of Companion Care Services

Helping seniors fill social gaps and caring for them through companionship care services provides many benefits for older adults:

  • Transportation services that increase senior mobility
  • Mental stimulation
  • Socialization that can lead to mental and physical health improvements
  • Safety and supervision

Finding Companion Care Services

There are a number of places you can find companion care for your senior loved one:

  • In-home Agencies: Visit our directory of in-home care agencies from every state. Ratings and review are even available.
  • Meals on Wheels: This program is known for delivering meals to older adults, but many also offer outreach programs to pair seniors with volunteers in their local area.
  • Area Agency on Aging: Your local aging agency staff will usually have information about companionship services

Companion care allows seniors to live independently and remain at home longer. If your senior could benefit from social and mental stimulation and do not need medical assistance, in-home companion care may be ideal for them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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