Stay Social with a Senior Companionin Independent Living
Written by PARC Retirement Living
A senior companion’s main role is to offer companionship day to day. This involves a mix of social interaction, emotional support and assistance with light tasks. Senior companions help keep aging adults healthy and independent. Research has shown seniors are at greater risk of social isolation than other groups.
If you’re a senior, you may be starting to feel it. If you’re an adult child of a senior parent – you may be seeing the signs. Day-to-day tasks are becoming more challenging, and getting around is more difficult. As a result, loneliness is starting to set in.
Yet at the same time, the senior in question may not require “care” in the traditional sense. They simply need a little extra company and support to retain their independence; to be well and stay happy. This is where senior companions can help.
What is a senior companion?
Unlike a registered care worker or nurse, a senior companion is usually not a medical professional. Instead, a senior companion’s main role is just that: to offer companionship day to day. Usually, this involves a mix of social interaction, emotional support and assistance with light tasks – anything from sweeping up to grocery shopping, errand running, driving or reminders. One day, the companion might pop around the house to help with cleaning out a closet. Another, they might stop by to go for a walk, or play game of cards. These kinds of activities often fall to adult children of aging adults, so senior companions also play a respite role for family members who would be helping out otherwise.
What are the benefits of a senior companion?
In short, senior companions help keep aging adults healthy and independent. Research has shown seniors are at greater risk of social isolation than other groups – which can lead to loneliness and cognitive decline. So, daily social interaction and stimulation are truly essential to seniors’ well-being. We also know living alone in a house becomes more challenging with age. It’s more difficult to keep up with physically demanding activities such as seasonal maintenance and cleaning as we age. And eyesight-dependent tasks like driving often go by the wayside. A senior companion can assist with all of this and more.
What is the connection to independent living?
The main benefits of working with a senior companion – health, well-being and independence – are very similar to those a senior would enjoy in an independent-living community, surrounded by supportive programs and a community cultivating fun and friendship. In fact, independent living is often the next natural step for aging adults who have benefitted from a senior companion. The companion can continue providing personal support, whether the senior lives on their own or in a community.
What kind of tasks can I expect a senior companion to perform?
This will vary depending on your arrangement with the senior companion, but these are the kinds of activities a senior companion can assist with and participate in:
- Social interaction and fun – visits, playing games, outings
- Assistance with light housework, such as dishes, mopping, dusting and organizing
- Preparation and sharing of some meals
- Transportation and driving to appointments, grocery stores, community centres and other local destinations
- Exercise and physical activity, such as walking, fitness classes and swimming
- Coordinating with family members, medical professionals and support workers as needed
Visit our residences to see if independent senior living is right for our lifestyle.