There are a lot of things that you need to know when you’re getting into looking for eldercare, either for yourself or your loved ones. Just like any other part of the medical field, there are a lot of vocabulary words that you need to fully understand in order to make sure you’re getting the right help.
That’s why today we’ve decided to look into the difference between companion care and a caregiver. These two concepts might seem like they’re the same thing if you don’t have any outside knowledge, but they are a little different, and knowing the difference is important.
Whether you’re looking into this for yourself, for a loved one, or you’re just a citizen of the internet that came across this article by dumb luck, you deserve to have the information that you’re looking for on this subject so you can be more educated when it comes time to have a conversation about it.
Finding this kind of care can be incredibly stressful. Change is never really easy, is it? Fortunately, if you know what you’re doing, you can easily find the right kind of care in a short amount of time so you can see your quality of life skyrocket.
What is Companion Care?
Let’s go in chronological order according to the title of this article. Companion care is probably the most common type of care that there is, but not everyone is aware of that because the title can come off as a little misleading.
Having a companion is like having a personal assistant that does more. Companions don’t provide anything beyond the most basic medical help, but they can help with all sorts of things in your life that a personal assistant would or would not be able to help with. For example:
- Checking the mail.
- Paying bills.
- Getting dressed.
- Getting out of bed.
- Meal planning.
- Making doctor’s appointments.
As you can tell by this list, a companion is essentially just a more advanced version of a personal assistant. Of course, there are things that a personal assistant will do that a companion won’t do and vice versa.
They’re great for if you need a bit of help doing things around the house but you can still mostly live on your own. The best part? You can definitely get your companion to open the pickle jar for you, which makes them all that much more useful.
A lot of people that get a companion for companion care feel a greater level of freedom because while they might need their help, they’re able to do everything they need to do that much more efficiently than they would have been able to do without a companion.
It’s just a fact of life. Two sets of eyes make finding things go by faster, and having an extra set of hands is a fantasy of humans since before ancient Egypt. A companion can give you both, as well as someone to hang out with and keep you company.
What is a Caregiver?
Alright, we covered companions. Now, what is a caregiver? This is a bit of a broad question because the term “caregiver” is somewhat broad. It can realistically mean a lot of different things, which can make this tricky.
The exact definition of a caregiver is “any member of someone’s life that helps them take care of themselves, whether they’re paid or not.” That means that any time you’ve spent making your grandmother food makes you a caregiver from a technical standpoint.
In fact, one could even argue that a companion is a kind of caregiver. That’s why this subject is so tricky, and also why so many people have such a hard time figuring out what exactly a caregiver does, and a lot of people get confused about this.
Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to understand exactly what this kind of person does. They do a lot of the same things that companions do, in fact, most do all of the same things. Depending on the job, your needs, and who exactly is doing the giving of care, they can do a lot.
A really easy rule of thumb is to consider anyone that could be a companion that gives anything beyond the most basic kind of medical care to be a caregiver. Will this always be correct? Probably not, the term is a little vague. That being said, if you specifically ask for a caregiver a doctor will know that you want more than just basic medical care.
In most cases, a doctor will be able to tell you what level of care you need. It can be difficult to accept the level of care that you need, but doing so can ensure that you’re getting the level of care that you need to best improve your quality of life.
How Do You Know if You Need Help?
As human beings, one of the most difficult things to do is knowing when to ask for help. Asking for help is even harder than knowing when to ask for help. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to get everything that you need with a few basic steps.
Realistically, your doctor will be able to tell you the level of help that you need. Seeing your doctor about this is probably the best way to go about this because your doctor knows the most about the level of care that you’ll need.
People don’t always need extra care because of age, contrary to popular belief. There are all sorts of things that could end up requiring someone to get extra care, for example:
- Severe injuries.
- Severe mental conditions.
- Head injuries.
Really, anything that could result in a lessened ability to do your daily tasks that keep yourself and your home in good condition could result in the need of a caretaker of some sort. There’s nothing wrong or shameful with that.
How to Find the Right Level of Care for You
Knowing the right level of care to get can be a tricky subject. There are a lot of levels of care that you can get to make sure that you get the kind of care you need to have a high quality of life.
As we already said, you have a lot of different choices for your level of care, ranging from adult daycare all the way up to things like hospice care. Different levels come with different amounts of freedom, but also different amounts of care.
Adult daycare is just somewhere that you go and hang out with other people so you have something to do during the days. They usually have all sorts of activities to do and people to do them with. These facilities usually also feed you throughout the day, which is an added bonus.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have things like hospice. Hospice is an in-patient type of program, and in these programs you don’t leave much, don’t get a lot of choice in your diet, and have everything taken care of for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
Getting the right level of care for your situation is important. If you only need a companion and you end up in hospice, it’s not going to improve your quality of life. On the other hand, if you need hospice and end up with a companion, you simply won’t be getting the right amount of care.
So, how do you know what level of care to try and get? Ask your doctor. Your doctor is the best person to answer that question. It’s their job to answer these kinds of questions with objective honesty depending on what your condition is.
You could also reach out to an organization that helps with these kinds of things. If you need this kind of care because of the effects of aging, you could try AARP. They’re great for helping senior citizens get all of the things that they need.
Other than that, there are some state resources that can help you among many other things. You could also do your own research to figure this out, but keep in mind that you’ll need to be very honest with yourself if you’re going to try and go the self-evaluation route.
Get the Care You Need
Most people, if they live long enough, get to a point in their lives where they need a bit of help making sure that they’re getting the highest possessive quality of life for as long as possible. There’s really a kind of caretaker for everything.
Knowing the difference can make your life a lot easier, and can also allow you the chance to form a true connection with another human being. Making friends is always nice, no matter when you get around to meeting them. There are a lot of benefits to getting help when you need it, and that’s why so many people get caretakers.