Perhaps the most meaningful component of my work life is the time I spend being a Companion to the people we support. It’s difficult to express how these times contribute to the overall wellness a person experiences, and how much I am assisted as a caregiver, when I have a relationship with the person I am supporting.
Here is a glimpse of my day, and examples of how varied Companion care can be.
Her closest family members live far away– Some days, I have the privilege for filling in for them- we do her physiotherapy exercises, go for a walk, I listen to her wonderful stories of life- how she met her husband, and how much she misses him- we look at her photograph albums and when she remembers the name of the people in the picture, I write it in pencil on the back. We get coffee or hot chocolate and split a dessert.
After a life of turmoil, she craves control – Only fifteen minutes into our first meeting she asks me, “Can you drive?”, and from her purse produces a list of places she wishes she could go. Apologetically she wonders if maybe we ought to be inside, cleaning or organizing. How long has it been since you got out, I ask. So, we do a couple of household chores and venture out into the summer sun together, forging a friendship while the dust waits just one more day.
She loves old music- PBS runs the Lawrence Welk show on Sunday nights. We sit close together and sing along. We laugh at the band members matching turquoise suits. We tap our toes to Joanne Castle playing boogie -woogie on the piano and call it couch dancing. Soothing scents from the diffuser reduce stress and anxiety. Later, before she goes to bed, I help her enjoy the foot spa, and give her a nice foot rub.
She wants to stay active– Once a week we have a standing appointment at the pool. I make sure she gets into the water safely and stay near by as she enjoys the freedom of the water, doing her exercises and improving her balance. We have a companionable quiet time, letting the warm water do its magic on tired muscles. I make sure there are no puddles or tripping hazards in the change room, and we say never say “Goodbye” we always say “See you next week.”
Companion Services are so often under valued. Connecting with someone who knows and cares about you is essential to one’s quality of life.
Spending time with these wonderful women has taught me lessons that I am forever grateful for, it reminds me that the small joys we experience each day are magnified when they are shared.
We never outgrow our need for love and companionship.