Let’s Talk About Companions
Canada’s population is aging faster than ever before, and already some of our resources are stretched to the max.
By Dina Campeis
Think of a companion as being much like a friend. A companion is someone who you will get to know, and trust and build a relationship with—someone with whom to share your life stories, engage in hobbies and perhaps even help you with that bucket list you’ve had for years. Companions are as varied as the clients they serve. They may be young and creative, or older with a life full of experiences. Companions can help you or a loved one stay active—physically, socially and intellectually. We always look for innovative ways to provide our companions with the tools they need to create a positive experience—for example, locating an armchair television travelogue about an African lion safari, if travelling is no longer feasible.
Different to PSWs—who provide care services such as bathing, continence care, oral care, transferring a client from bed to a chair and other tasks that require specialized training—lifestyle companions instead bring their life, career(s), hobbies and leisure skills to their assignments. Rest assured, however, that well-trained and experienced PSWs and companions will address the personal, social and emotional needs, desires and objectives of their clients. It is, after all, their compassion and love of engaging others in activities and conversation that prompted them to choose these vocations.
Finding companionship care need not be a formal arrangement through an agency. Instead, it can be provided by a family member, neighbour or member of a community or faith organization. If you are running too many errands and feel as though time with your parent, neighbour or friend is not being spent in the best way possible, a hired companion may just be the ticket to a more organized respite.
Dina Campeis, BSc Kinesiology, is the community relations manager at Mosaic Home Care Services and Community Resource Centres (mosaichomecare.com).