What is Companion Care?
Companion care is used to describe the companionship and help with errands and light household chores, typically provided in your home by a paid home companion.
Home companions allow family members or others who might care for you on a regular basis to have needed breaks.
Besides spending time with you, home companions will often:
- Run errands and shop for you
- Drive you to and from doctors’ appointments
- Perform light housekeeping and cleaning
- Prepare or help you to prepare meals
- Give you medication reminders
Companion care is typically for seniors who are healthy and independent enough to stay in their own homes. Home care agencies provide companion care, but companion care can also be provided by relatives, friends, neighbors or others on a paid or volunteer basis. Companion care can also be provided to residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Companion care is different than non-medical home care, which helps seniors who need help with routine tasks that they used to be able to do on their own such as bathing, grooming, mobility, and managing and taking their medicines.
What Is Companion Care Like?
As you age and have a harder time getting out of the house, you may begin to feel isolated and even lonely. A home companion will visit you on a regular basis and spend time with you. They can also help you to get out more by taking you to the grocery store, doctors’ appointments, or to social events.
If you don’t feel like going out, they will usually run errands and take care of your shopping for you. They will also help you with housekeeping, laundry and cooking. It really depends on what you need and want.
Home companions do not provide medical care, although they can do things like remind you to take your medications and help you to do exercises and stay fit.
Is Companion Care Right for Me?
Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:
- I am still relatively healthy.
- I like having my own living space.
- I like being independent.
- I do not want to leave my home.
- I prefer to live on my own, but do not have a relative or friend who can stay with me all the time.
- I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
- I need help getting dressed.
- I need assistance with personal grooming.
- I get my medicines mixed up or can’t remember when to take them.
- I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
- I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
- I no longer feel safe in my home.
- I feel isolated in my home.
If all or most of the Independence statements apply to you, but not the Daily Living statements, then Companion Care may be a good option for you.
If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you do not need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
- Non-medical home care if you are able to stay in your home
- Assisted living if you are unable to stay in your home
If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you also need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
What to Expect from Companion Care?
Home companions will spend time with you and do things with you that you enjoy doing, such as playing games, going for walks, or taking you to family and social events.
Their services may vary, but will typically include:
- Running errands
- Shopping for you or taking you shopping
- Driving you to and from doctors’ appointments
- Light housekeeping and cleaning
- Preparing or helping you to prepare your meals
- Reminding you to take your medication
Costs for Companion Care
Home care agencies typically charge for companion care based on an hourly rate. Some also require a minimum number of weekly or monthly hours.
Since companion care is a non-medical service, it is not covered by Medicare. The care is usually paid for by the senior receiving care or by their family. Some long-term care insurance may also cover or partially cover companion care services.
According to Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the National Daily Median cost of in Home Care (also known as Homemaker Services) in the United States is $125 per day.