Call them health care buddies or a new breed of concierges, the New York Times reports on a fast growing group of baby boomers working as paid assistants and companions to older adults in their homes. These buddies can engage and activate isolated older adults in ways that promote better health.
This booming “elder concierge” industry is helping older adults to continue to live in their communities rather than moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home. New companies are springing up and others are expanding to accommodate this enormous need. At the same time, they are allowing retirees and part-time workers to earn extra income.
Workers with no health care or social work experience can earn as much as $70 an hour for their time keeping older adults company at home, at the doctor’s office and everywhere else. They might cook, drive or or provide someone to talk to for older people. And, they can be an enormous help to family members who live too far away to provide these services or simply don’t have the time to do so.
Not only do these health care buddies help the older adults and family members, but the work can be extremely rewarding for the buddies themselves.
To be sure, the cost of this companionship can be prohibitive for many people needing additional caregiving services. A volunteer model or banked credit model may be available in some communities. If not, you might be able to find a neighbor, friend or community worker to fill this role for the people you love. Or your local area agency on aging might be able to refer you to local services that are reputable.
One organization providing this service is AgeWell. AgeWell hires older adults in good health to help peers in less good health. Another organization, the Village to Village network helps people find caregivers and other service providers they can trust.
Here’s more from Just Care: