When it comes to caring for an elderly loved one, families are often faced with a difficult decision. Should they choose personal care or companion care? While these two types of care might sound similar, there are important differences that families should understand before making a decision. Let’s take a closer look at how these two types of senior care differ from one another.
What Is Companion Care?
Companion care is designed to provide companionship services and help with light housekeeping tasks like laundry, changing sheets, vacuuming, light dusting, and mopping floors. The focus is on helping seniors remain independent and self-sufficient in their own homes or apartments. Companions can also assist with errands such as grocery shopping or taking a senior to social events like church functions or family outings. On top of this, companions provide conversation and emotional support for seniors who feel isolated due to limited mobility or loneliness caused by bereavement or other life changes that come along with aging.
What Is Personal Care?
Personal care is designed for seniors who need help with activities of daily living (ADLs). This type of assistance could include help with bathing, eating, dressing, transferring in and out of their bed or chair, using the restroom, and other activities that involve physical contact. Personal care is more intensive than companion care. Personal care is more involved than companion care because it involves more direct contact with your loved one and more hands-on assistance as she goes through her day. Personal caregivers also help monitor a senior’s health by taking vital signs like blood pressure or temperature. They can also dispense medications at the appropriate times and provide reminders to take them if needed. Additionally, they can drive clients to medical appointments or run errands as needed. The goal of personal caregivers is to ensure seniors have the proper support they need to remain safe and independent in their own homes.
The 2018 Cost of Care Survey revealed that the national median price for companion care is $4,004 a month. Various factors can influence the actual cost of care, including where you live, what type of care is needed, and additional factors such as the number of hours required and when the services are provided.
According to a survey, the median cost of hiring a personal care provider is $4,195—which some might argue is a small price to pay for the added benefit of personal care and assistance that these professionals can provide. This increase in cost can offer families much needed relief from many day-to-day activities, freeing up time to focus on themselves, their careers, and other loved ones.
Evaluating your needs and researching what providers charge in your area are important considerations when spending on personal or companionship care for an elderly loved one.
How to Choose the Right Option for Your Loved One
While companion care and personal care both provide essential services that enable seniors to maintain their independence, they do serve different functions. Companion care focuses on providing primary social support and help with everyday tasks such as chores, transportation, or doctor appointments. Personal care, meanwhile, is more suited for those who need direct physical assistance to complete activities of daily living–like bathing, grooming, and dressing–due to difficulties with mobility or chronic health conditions such as diabetes or dementia. Regardless of the level of service desired, the most important factor is to select a care provider who understands your loved one’s unique needs and is equipped to address them in a way that makes their life easier.
It is essential to hire the right professional caregiver for your loved one, as it can allow them to remain in the comfort of their own home and receive an extra layer of support to effectively look after them. When selecting a quality caregiving service, great care should be taken in order to ensure that you choose a person who is experienced and suitable for your loved one’s individual needs. Here are some important factors to take into account:
- Consider the conversations you have when interacting with a potential caregiver; compassionate and empathetic care should be at the forefront of their rhetoric.
- Ensure personal background checks are conducted, such as reference checks and certifications that make sure their qualifications were validly obtained.
- Additionally, always request proof for current insurance and bonding requirements.
- Lastly, remember the importance of an individualized plan created from the initial assessment by a qualified health care provider to ensure proper care is administered.
When it comes time to decide which type of elder care would be best for your aging loved one, understanding the difference between elderly personal care and companion care is key. Personal caregivers provide seniors with the necessary physical assistance required while companion caregivers offer emotional support through companionship services like light housekeeping tasks and errands. Depending on your specific situation—and your senior’s individual needs—it may be beneficial to utilize both types of caregiving services in order to ensure your elderly loved one receives all the support they need during this stage in life.