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
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.
Introduction to Charlottesville, Virginia and Surrounding Areas
The central Virginia city of Charlottesville is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, approximately 70 miles northwest of Richmond and 100 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Established as a town in 1762 and incorporated as an independent city in 1888, Charlottesville is autonomous and not subservient to any county or other political subdivision. Major highways through Charlottesville are U.S. Route 250, U.S. Route 29, and Interstate 64.
Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which was founded in 1819 by native son Thomas Jefferson. Consistently listed among the top ten public universities nationwide, the university is a strong factor in the city's community life and serves as the area's focal point for cultural and sporting events. Steeped in historic value, the Charlottesville area lays claim to having raised three ex-Presidents (Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and James Madison), whose former homes are now historic sites and architectural wonders which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Owing largely to the presence of the university, the technology industry is a continuously growing staple of the local economy. More traditional industries like agriculture are also prominent in the region, which embodies nearly 200,000 acres of orchards, vineyards, and cattle farms. The region's fastest growing industry is the grape business. Local wines and vineyards are nationally recognized and the area is highly ranked among the country's wine producers. Another significant local industry is horse farming, as evidenced by the more than 13,000 horses stabled in the city and surrounding county.
Things to do and see in Charlottesville
Nearly two million travelers per year visit the Charlottesville area to see the area's historic sites and take in the spectacular scenery of Central Virginia. Perched on a nearby mountain overlooking the city is Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson, which offers tours and hosts special events and ceremonies. Only a mile down the road from Monticello is Ash Lawn-Highland, former home of James Monroe. Here visitors can explore beautiful gardens and enjoy the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, which offers six to eight weeks of full-length opera and musical theatre productions. About 45 minutes north of Charlottesville is Montpelier, the former home of James and Dolly Madison. This is a 2,750-acre estate that includes racecourses, a National Landmark Forest, active archaeological sites, and more than 130 buildings.
Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County are a paradise for nature lovers. Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway offer breathtaking views of valleys and mountains to tourists who don't even need to leave their cars. Hikers can enjoy the many short and long trails which wind through the woods off these roads. Charlottesville is also home to a large number of parks with playgrounds, picnic areas, public tennis courts, and swimming pools. Other popular area activities are hot air balloon rides, golf at world-class resorts, and tours of one of the many local vineyards in the area, a few of which are listed here:
- Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery
- DelFosse Vineyards and Winery
- Jefferson Vineyards
- Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard
Charlottesville has an active art, music and theater scene. The Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the country, is the location of the Virginia Discovery Museum. A 3,500 seat Charlottesville Pavilion Amphitheater attracts big name acts to the area. The newly renovated Paramount Theater hosts Broadway shows and concerts by nationally-known entertainers. The city also hosts an annual Virginia Festival of the Book, and is home to many prominent writers including John Grisham and Rita Mae Brown, as well as former home to Edgar Alan Poe and William Faulkner.
Charlottesville has no professional sports teams, but local sports fans are captivated by the University of Virginia Cavaliers, who have a wide fan base across the region. Cavalier football games are played in Scott Stadium, which is also used as a venue for large concerts by such artists as the Rolling Stones and the Dave Matthews Band. The John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is where the University of Virginia basketball teams play their games. This new stadium is one of the largest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not surprisingly, The University of Virginia has an active athletic rivalry with Virginia Tech. An even older rivalry (often referred to as "The South's Oldest Rivalry") exists between the Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels.
Horseracing fans can enjoy the exciting world of steeplechase racing, held every fall and spring at The Foxfield Races.