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What Is the Difference Between a Caregiver and a Companion?

September 29, 2023

Deciding how to best support the well-being of an aging loved one can be difficult for lots of reasons. It’s a transitory phase for everyone involved, and there are many options for providing care. 

Caregivers are a popular choice for families, as they provide medical support and help out with the individual’s activities of daily living (ADLs). However, they can’t do it all. That’s why, in addition, many families are turning to paid companions, professionals who provide emotional support and practical assistance to aging adults and their families. 

In this blog, we’ll dive into the difference between companion care and caregiver support and talk about how both roles can provide important help for your loved one.

What Is a Paid Companion?

A paid companion for elderly individuals is someone hired to provide non-medical support to those in need. This can include aging adults, those experiencing memory or mobility issues, or anyone else needing day-to-day support. 

In home companion care refers to the concept of supplementing the critical work that trained caregiving professionals and family members provide to aging adults with an important piece of elder care that often goes unnoticed: companionship.

How Much Does Companion Care Cost for Seniors?

The average cost of In-Home care will vary, depending on factors like the level and frequency of care needed, geographic location, and whether or not insurance or government assistance programs are being used to help offset the cost. Typically, companion care costs will be in the ballpark of $250 a day, which comes out to a monthly cost of around $5,000.

What Is the Difference Between Companion Care and Caregiver?

Caregivers and companions both provide valuable services to aging adults but in different ways. To put it simply: caregivers focus on seniors’ physical health, whereas companions aim to support their mental and emotional well-being.

Caregivers are trained professionals, often required to have pertinent certifications, coursework, or licensing before landing their positions in elder care. They take on tasks ranging from medication management to light medical duties to generally assisting with ADLs.

Alternatively, companion care involves duties more related to emotional support as well as general assistance. Companions improve the well-being of the patients they work with by providing an important outlet for socialization and support. They help fill some of the gaps left by the crucial medical care provided by caregivers—helping with things like recreation, housekeeping, and mental stimulation. 

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Companion Care?

The duties expected of paid companions can range from household to household based on the needs and preferences of the individual in need of care. There are a few key areas, though, where companion care is typically focused:

  • Companionship. This may sound like a catchall term, but it’s often what aging individuals are most in need of. Socialization, recreation, friendship, mental stimulation, and emotional support are all crucial things that a companion can provide. Learn more about day sitters for the elderly.
  • Non-medical care. There’s so much that goes into caring for the elderly that doesn’t just mean medical care. From dressing and grooming to facilitating movement to establishing helpful routines, there are many ways that companions can support loved ones’ well-being.
  • Day-to-day support. As many family members know, caregiving and caretaking can often become a full-time job. That can make necessary household duties like dishes, meal prepping and preparing, and organizing hard to keep track of. This is another common function fulfilled by in-home companion care for seniors.

What Are the Duties of a Caregiver?

Caregiver duties are distinct from companion duties in a few notable ways. As mentioned, their care is more comprehensive, including medical assistance and personal care such as bathing and feeding. While caregiver and companion duties can sometimes overlap, they typically do not. Here are a few examples of common caregiver duties:

  • Medical care. Caregivers are typically trained on how to take care of elderly individuals and can provide non-intensive, non-surgical medical care. This could include assisting with medical equipment such as oxygen tanks or feeding tubes, for example.
  • Safety and health monitoring. Monitoring an individual’s health and observing and reporting on any changes in their condition is an important duty of caregivers. They’ll also monitor their vital signs, assist them with their medication, and respond to medical emergencies if they arise.
  • Respite and end-of-life care. Caregivers can also provide temporary relief for family caregivers in the form of respite care or help provide emotional support for individuals during harder times, such as for those in hospice or palliative care.

Get the Education You Need Around Companion Care

Senior Home Companions is a best-in-class care service provider designed with your loved ones’ quality of life in mind. If you’re still curious about in-home companion care, reach out to us today.