Senior Companion Care
Find companionship through home care services and other programs
Senior companionship is a service offered by home care agencies and personal service workers. While it may be secondary to actual care in the home, the importance of social interaction is manifold. Many seniors want reliable companionship, since they may be otherwise shut in, not able to get out very often, or not receive enough visits from family or friends.
Senior companion care services include the following:
- Escorted shopping for groceries, clothing, household items
- Reading together, games, and other interactions
- Going for neighbourhood walks
- Home check-in visits
- Phone calls, sit downs and table visits
- Meal preparation, coffee making, etc.
Senior companionship through home care services
Adult day programs are also an ideal way to facilitate senior companionship. Seniors get out of the house for a few hours per week or several times per week, where they meet and interact with other seniors, play games together and otherwise socialize. The benefits of this group interaction are almost impossible to gauge; there are many. When people interact with others face to face, they are happy and engaged; this leads to better health and an overall improved outlook on life.
More about senior companionship
Statistics show that the great majority of seniors want to age in their own home. They do not want to move out of the place that they have been in on for (sometimes) many decades. "For many people, their home is their most prized possession," says Nicole, a home care worker who provides homemaking services to seniors. "They don't want to leave." According the CMHC, over 85% of people 85 and older want to remain in their own home.
However, a problem with this is that many seniors are all alone in their own home. They may be widowed, their adult children and grandchildren may be too busy or too far away to visit often, and they end up spending too many days alone, with no healthy social outlet. Conversation and interaction with others gives people a reason to get excited and energizes them. "You see their faces light up when we come in to help them," says Elaine, a personal service worker (PSW) in the home care industry.
Her colleague, Nadia, highlights the social aspect of this work. For one senior woman, she reads emails from her son to her. For another senior, she listens and laughs at stories about how she met her husband. For another client that she has grown to like a lot, she is willing to give her foot massages. For many seniors, she says, hiring in-home care is "like having a friend over." She may be the only person they see that day so she delights in taking some extra time with the client, even having a cup of tea with them. "I know it helps a lot," she says. "The things we do for them are not that big for us, but you can see it means a lot to them."
For those who are alone, the benefit of hiring in-home care for personal companionship has other benefits also. PSWs can monitor their overall health, and they can also help them to keep the home safe and free from fall hazards, among other things.
Other forms of senior companionship
Seniors can find companionship in retirement residences also. One of the well-documented benefits of moving into a retirement home is that people feel rejuvenated; one of the reasons they feel rejuvenated is the increased social activity coupled with a reduction in loneliness and the attendant negatives that go with that, including depression.
In a typically close-knit retirement community, it's almost impossible to find someone you don't connect with. Everyone is your own age, everyone has similar experiences and history, and it's so easy to connect with people just outside the door of your suite. Kay Cole in Niagara Falls, made good friends with Mary, another resident in the same retirement community. As she says, she and Mary "just clicked." Another Niagara Falls senior, Don Douglas puts it bluntly: "It's stupid being alone." In a retirement home, he found "lots of friends." Many people come to realize that you're never too old for new friends, and they love the social aspect of senior communities.
There is also that other kind of senior companionship – romance. And we have heard many stories from inside retirement communities, where widows and widowers have met other "senior singles" and found renewed life in new love. As Blanche Litchen says, "Having someone to spend my evenings with" has been rejuvenating. There are many cases profiled in Comfort Life where people have found romance in a seniors' home.