What is In-Home Companion Care?
In-Home Companion Care is just as beneficial to seniors as in-home health care. An in-home companion arranges visits, or with a live-in companion, and either lives with older adults or visits anywhere from two to three times a week to every day. An in-home companion may also act as a caregiver or a live-in caregiver.
Some older adults have friends who act informally as companions. However, home care agencies, community organizations, and independent caregiver contractors offer professional In-Home Companion Care services for seniors who do not receive visits—or receive infrequent visits—from friends or relatives.
Whether the companion service is done with a friend or an agency, older adults are the primary beneficiaries because they have someone to turn to for care, emotional support, and friendship.
In-Home Companion Care Services
Without a doubt, in-home companions help to boost the self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being of older adults. Having a companion for care, to talk to, take a walk with, or play a game with fends off the loneliness and isolation many seniors suffer from, especially those who live alone or have mobility or transportation problems.
Some in-home companions only provide the social aspects of In-Home Companion Care, such as engaging in conversation, helping seniors stay in touch with family and friends, and staying active in the community.
However, In-Home Companion Care services may also act as caregivers and include helping older adults with housekeeping tasks, such as:
- Planning and preparing meals
- Running errands, including trips to the grocery store
- Providing transportation for seniors
- Accompanying seniors to doctor’s appointments and other activities
- Doing laundry
- Sweeping, vacuuming, making and changing beds, washing dishes
In some cases, friends or volunteer companions in community organization programs may help seniors with light housekeeping tasks, but not with personal care. In-home Companions who work as independent contractors and in-home care agencies, however, provide both In-Home Companion Care services and personal care assistant (PCA) services.
What Are Personal Care Services?
Personal care services involves helping older adults with their daily living activities. Seniors may not be able to maintain good personal hygiene and other daily routines on their own because of an illness, a chronic health condition or a disability.
Besides helping seniors with socialization, a companion may also help an older adult with personal care services that include:
- Toileting, incontinence care
In-home care agencies and independent contractors typically provide In-Home Companion Care and personal care services as part of an overall care plan for seniors. A plan that considers both physical and social needs can result in a better quality of life for the older adult.
Cost of In-Home Companion Care
According to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Study, the average cost nationwide for non-medical in-home care provided by a home care agency was $22.50 per hour with state averages ranging from $17 to $30 per hour.
Actual costs of In-Home Companion Care, however, varies based on the type of services seniors need and the number of hours the companion spends with the older adult. For example, seniors who can care for themselves may only want companion services twice a week, while older adults with chronic health conditions or mobility problems may want a companion each day to care for their personal needs.
Private (out-of-pocket) pay, long-term care insurance, and community-based programs can help seniors pay for in-home companion and personal care services. Medicaid pays for certain in-home personal care services while Medicare only pays for skilled nursing care.
In-home care agencies, which offers a variety of services, estimate costs after assessing the older adults needs. Generally, in-home care agencies provide the same type of services as assisted living facilities but at a lower cost.
In-Home Companion Care Supports Independency
Many seniors want to remain independent as they age in place in their own homes. But, older adults know this may not be possible without someone helping them manage daily living activities and staying engaged in their community. Many older adults and their children may think an Assisted Living Facility may be the next option, but with and in-home companions, personal care assistants or live-in caregivers, all of a senior’s needs may be taken care of within their home.
Monitoring a loved one’s physical and emotional well-being from a distance is not an easy task for family members who are working, raising a family, and experiencing their own personal life issues. In-Home Companion Care reduces the stress on family members who are assured that someone is with their loved one at certain times. In-Home Companion Care services also give older adults hope that they can achieve their goal of remaining independent as long as possible.