How to Become a Companion for the Elderly

elderly man with his caregiver

Have you been wondering just how to become a companion for the elderly? It’s not as hard as you might think!

I wanted to write this article because I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the elderly. Although I’m considered a Millennial, I deeply appreciate the lives they’ve led and the sacrifices they’ve made.

It hurt me to learn recently that many of the aged citizens of our population think they don’t really matter anymore in the eyes of society.

My mission today is simple- I want to give those who can appreciate the lives of these great people the proper tools and know-how for giving the elderly the companionship and compassion they so richly deserve.

So without further dudes, here is how to become a companion for the elderly!

What Does a Companion for the Elderly Do?

First, let’s take a look at what being a companion for the elderly actually entails. Senior companionship covers a multitude of tasks to assist the elderly with day-to-day life, such as…

  • Basic personal hygiene tasks such as brushing teeth, bathing, and grooming
  • Cooking (on an as-needed basis)
  • House cleaning (on an as-needed basis)
  • Ensuring the patient takes necessary medications on a consistent basis
  • Maintaining contact with any medical facilities and doctors, and providing reports as needed
  • Running errands
  • Physically transferring the patient to a chair or bed as needed
  • Helping the patient off the floor in the event of a fall (God forbid)

On a more personal level, staving off social isolation is key to the care and well-being of elderly patients. Studies have shown a correlation between cases of social isolation and increasing mortality rates in seniors.

Therefore, an elderly companion also ensures that quality time is spent with the patient. This is done by…

  • Engaging the patient in stimulating games and activities
  • Going with the patient to social outings and doctor appointments
  • Having lively conversations
  • Offering support and encouragement when needed

How to Become a Companion for the Elderly

Good news- you don’t need to have a degree from MIT to become a companion for the elderly! According to Zippia, after analyzing a great number of resumes from potential qualified candidates, the education levels are broken down as follows:

High School/GED: 70%

Bachelors Degree: 26.8%

Masters Degree: 3.2%

Elderly Companion Other Training/Requirements

Some companies might require completion of a training program, while others might simply have you learn on the job.

Other than that, qualifying for a position is simple. CPR is generally recommended (and is easy for you to become certified) along with a drivers license and a good driving record (for transporting the patient, if needed).

Depending on whether you’ll be taking on a companion or caregiver role of a more medical nature, there are also certifications to be completed.

Check out this guide to the required certification programs by state!

How Much Do Elderly Caregivers Get Paid?

According to GlassDoor, the average yearly salary for an elderly companion job this year is roughly $31,442 per year. This is equal to about $15.72 per hour.

What Kind of Personalities Make for Good Elderly Companions?

Level-headed, compassionate individuals who can act quickly in a crisis are ideal candidates for elderly companion positions.

Resourcefulness and resilience are also key qualities for this position, because like most people, elderly people experience both good days and bad days.

It’s your job as a companion to minimize the fallout of a bad day, and to be the patient’s pillar of emotional support and strength in good times and bad.

Wrapping it Up

I can make a case (based solely on the amount of times I’ve seen Patch Adams) that laughter and emotional support are often just as effective tools of healing as traditional medicine can be.

Not all the time, of course…but considering the undeniable correlation between emotional well-being and overall physical health, I firmly believe that a good elderly companion has the ability to enrich (and perhaps even prolong) the lives of their patients.

Now that you’ve got the guide to show you how to become a companion for the elderly, the rest is up to you.

Think you got what it takes? Great! Why not be a part of making someone’s twilight years their best ones, and enrich their lives- as well as your own?

Until next time, everyone!