What is Companion Care and How Does It Differ from Caregiving?

March 20, 2023

What is Companion Care and How Does It Differ from Caregiving?

As we age, we often require assistance with daily activities and medical needs. For seniors and those with disabilities or medical issues at any age, there are two primary types of care available: companion care and caregiving. 

While these two types of care can seem similar, they differ significantly in their focus and duties. Understanding the differences between companion care and caregiving is crucial in determining which type of care is best for your needs. In the greater Pittsburgh area, Fayer Family Homecare can help you decide what services and care are appropriate and available.

Companion Care

Companion care is a type of non-medical care that focuses on providing emotional support, socialization, and companionship to seniors or people with disabilities. Companion caregivers are trained professionals who help their clients maintain their independence, engage in activities, and enhance their quality of life. They may assist with light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, and medication reminders.

The primary focus of companion care is relationship-building and emotional support - companion care is an ideal option for seniors who may feel lonely or isolated. Companion caregivers can also help seniors stay mentally stimulated by engaging in activities such as playing games, reading, or doing puzzles.

Benefits of Companion Care for Seniors

Companion care offers numerous benefits for seniors, including increased socialization, emotional support, and improved mental health. Regular companionship can help reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, improve self-esteem, and provide a sense of purpose and belonging.


Caregiving, on the other hand, is a type of care that focuses on providing physical and medical assistance to seniors or people with disabilities. Caregivers may assist with tasks such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and medication management. They may also provide more advanced medical care, such as wound care, medication administration, and monitoring vital signs.

The primary focus of caregiving is providing medical assistance and support - hiring a caregiver is an ideal option for seniors with complex medical needs or disabilities.

Benefits of Caregiving for Seniors

Caregiving provides many benefits for seniors and people with disabilities, including increased independence, improved physical health, and reduced healthcare costs. Caregivers can help seniors and people with disabilities maintain their independence and remain in their homes for longer, which can also reduce healthcare costs.

How Companion Care and Caregiving Differ

The primary differences between companion care and caregiving is the focus of duties and the types of training. 

While both options can provide emotional support and socialization, traditional caregivers are also uniquely trained to address medical situations and needs.

Common duties for companions:

  • Medication & calendar reminders – Including notifying clients of timing and tracking progress
  • Self-care reminders and tips – Including reminders for basic hygiene, and scheduling self-care activities
  • Mental agility – Includes playing games, doing puzzles, reading
  • Conversation – Including keeping current on  world/community events or family news
  • Light housekeeping – Including dishes, dusting, laundry
  • Grocery shopping – Including assistance with list making and shopping
  • Preparing meals – Including meal prepping and instructions for reheating
  • Transportation – Including assisting with moving between appointments or shopping

Common duties for caregivers:

  1. Medication management & application – Including monitoring vital signs, administering medication, and providing educated suggestions for OTC care
  2.  Dressing – Including application of clothing and special appliances or wraps
  3. Grooming – Including basic hair care, oral care, shaving, basic nail care, applying cosmetics and deodorant, care of eyeglasses and hearing aids
  4. Bathing – Including basic personal hygiene and skin care
  5. Eating – Including completing the process of eating, including hand washing and application of orthotics required for eating, transfers and feeding
  6. Transfers – Including assistance to transfer the person from one seating or reclining area to another
  7. Mobility – Including assistance with ambulation, including use of a wheelchair or prosthetics
  8. Positioning – Including assistance with positioning 
  9. Toileting – Including helping a person with bowel or bladder elimination and care, transfers, mobility, positioning, feminine hygiene, use of toileting equipment or supplies, cleansing the perineal area, inspection of the skin and adjusting clothing.

In Pennsylvania, Home Health Services rules and regulations cover caregivers, including skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapy, and home health aides.

Which Type of Care is Right for You?

The best type of care for a particular individual depends on their needs and preferences of the client and their family. To determine which type of care is best, it is important to assess an individual's physical, emotional, and medical needs. Companion care may be the best option for individuals who require emotional support, socialization, and light assistance with daily activities, while caregiving may be the best option for individuals with more complex medical needs.

How to Find Companion Care or Caregiving Services

Clearly, deciding between companion care and caregiving can be critical to the health and wellbeing of a client. By determining the needs of each patient, a personalized approach assures you or your loved one are getting the best care for each individual’s needs. While the two types of care differ in their focus and duties, both provide numerous benefits for individuals who require assistance.

There are several options for finding companion care or caregiving services, including home care agencies and online directories. When selecting a caregiver or home care agency, it is essential to do research and ask questions to ensure that you are getting the best possible care. ContactFayer Family Homecare today to see how we can support you and your loved ones.