FAQ: How Can I Find a Companion to Be With My Loved One While I'm at Work?

6 answers | Last updated: Oct 04, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I find a companion to be with my loved one while I'm at work?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Voorlas is a geriatric care manager in Los Angeles, California, and president of Geriatric Care Consultants. She has a master's degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California and is certified by NACCM, the National Academy of Certified Care Managers.

If you're employed, start with the company you work for. Many companies are starting to provide services to help employees with work/life balance, including providing information and referrals for geriatric care managers. This is a new trend because studies have come out finding that people on the job who are also primary caregivers are more likely to be stressed and depressed and to have lower work productivity. Check with your Human Resources (HR) department to see if they have resources for eldercare -- and whether those resources are covered as part of your company's benefits plan.

If you don't have any help available from your work, start by finding a geriatric care manager who can do a professional baseline assessment. This assessment can save you time and money in the long run because it helps you find out what level of care your loved one needs. Some people need a trained nurse; others who are at a higher level of functioning may just need a companion or a personal care assistant a couple of days a week. Caregivers have a lot of different kinds of expertise, and if your loved one has Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, you'll want to find a caregiver who has that expertise and experience.

You could also try to find a caregiver on your own, but keep in mind that if you just start searching for a companion, you're going to have to take time off work to do that. There's a real art to choosing and hiring a caregiver; you may have to go through a few different people before you find someone who's a good fit. You're much more likely to get the kind of companion you need with the first try if you get a professional to manage the situation.

If you can't afford to hire a geriatric care manager, find an in-home care agency that will send an employee out to do an assessment before assigning someone to the position.

Community Answers

Mrjess5 answered...

With mom having Alzhimers and Dementure while I go to work for 3 hours I found an adult Day Care near where I work. Then I'll go back to pick her up at 1:30pm then we go about running errons then go home and make supper I care for mom 24/7. When she is at the day program they start off with a snack& coffee, they do phyical activites bowling dancing play table games arts and crafts etc. and she is very happy to go to meet new faces they have lunch about 12:30 then they contin ue with other games etc: I'm paying for mom's funeral expensis the only thing I have to purchase is hjer casket and the monies come out of her social securty. Dayle RRiggs from R.I.

Spockula answered...

My Hubby is only 47, but, has Schizophrenia, & many other medical issues. I don't think he'd qualify for such services. It's sad. He refuses to go to any 'peer support', or adult day 'stuff'. I work 2nd shift, & he tends to hang out w/ 'the wrong crowd'...ends up drinking, spending $ he doesn't have,& smoking cigs(he goes on&off w/ that). But, it's just sad. I work in Mental Health, & lonliness/isolation is main concern/problem for most of these folks. Things will only get worse w/ the state of our economy, too. The budget cuts in NH are going to cause huge problems for many.

Marly26 answered...

You may want to talk with the Salvation Army or an organization of such. I am in Ontario however, I did have someone come in from the United Way to speak with. They had people to come and sit with my father in law for $5.00 per hr. Someone just to sit and talk, watch television, game playing etc. Whatever you feel that hubby would be interested in. They as well can take him out for a walk or just sit outside with him. Check these organizations in your area and find out if there is one that has this sort of companionship. They will stay for as many hrs. needed. Good luck and my prayers are with you.

Spockula answered...

He worked for Salvation Army. Full time. They were terrible. Some of my patients, at work, too. But, thanks for the idea. I work for Mental Health. We know where to go, & what to do. He's not into any adult 'programs'. I have to step back, & let him live his own life. I've done all I can do, & will continue to do what I can. But, must take care of myself, too. It's sad, & hard.

Shannonm answered...

Thanks, Jennifer, for this nice answer to a common question. A lot of families go the route of hiring on their own, either hearing of someone via word of mouth or putting an ad out, but as you said there are numerous considerations. Also, having a geriatric care management assessment, or even doing a consultation to get some info., can help provide insight in to other types of programs, assistance, ways to talk about these issues with loved ones, etc. If affording the care is an issue, sometimes it still makes sense to do a consult with a GCM as they usually know what financial assistance may be available.

Hopefully more employers will continue to see the advantage of helping employees with eldercare issues...it is a must to keep a productive, healthy workforce given the great #s of caregivers.