By Michele Teter
Whether you are a relative or a close friend of someone who is struggling with the effects of getting older and losing their independence, hiring a home care companion can provide a great solution. Hiring in-home caregivers for your aging loved one not only provides them with physical assistance, it also offers them help with the emotional and routine aspects of daily life as well.
Consider some of these benefits of hiring a companion for your loved one:
If there is one thing that becomes clear as someone ages, it's the far-reaching benefits of friendship. "Far too many elderly individuals in [the] United States live alone, and when they have trouble getting around, lose their driving privileges, or do not have family and friends nearby, it can make them feel even more isolated," says Kevin Watkins, Co-Owner of Caring Hearts of Rochester in New York. That is why "companionship becomes a quintessential part of any in-home health care services." A personal companion can provide social interaction that is as simple as conversation or someone to watch movies with, but in the process, the caregiver also fulfills a real need for the older adult.
At some point, most aging adults lose their driving privileges. This severely limits their ability to do everyday tasks, such as buy groceries or visit friends. A personal care companion can provide transportation and accompany your loved one to errands, meetings, social events, etc.
By providing ongoing, consistent care, personal caregivers are able to help aging individuals continue living independently, comfortably and socially at home. A little extra support can be all that is needed to extend an older adult's sense of independence in his or her own home, and this goes a long way toward improving their outlook on life and boosting self-confidence. Most aging individuals are comforted by being in familiar surroundings where they have spent much of their life, and a professional caregiver can help them stay there longer than they would be able to on their own.
An in-home aide will be able to keep an eye on your parent or other loved one and notice when they are not eating properly, suddenly losing weight, missing medication doses, forgetting to turn the oven off, etc. Particularly in situations where an older adult has a hard time communicating about capabilities or changes that they are experiencing, this kind of accountability can make a significant difference in protecting them from unintentional self-harm.
Your own peace of mind
Whether you are living an hour away or on the other side of the country, it is hard not to worry about your loved one when you cannot be nearby. A home care companion provides the one-on-one personalized care that you are not able to offer, giving you priceless peace of mind. A companion stands in the place of a family member or other loved one, helping your parent, grandparent, aunt or other relative feel taken care of and safe.
If you have had concerns about your loved one's ability to live independently or your ability to be their sole caregiver, then perhaps it is a good idea to begin exploring the options in your area. Consider the benefits that could come from hiring a companion for your aging loved one, and take advantage of this increasingly popular method of care.
Michele Teter co-founded Alliance Homecare in 2006 and now serves as the Director of Patient Services. She and her team focus on maintaining the highest standard of excellence in healthcare through compassion, respect, and education.