Q: My mother lives independently at home, but due to failing eyesight she no longer drives. However, she needs to grocery shop and do other errands a few times a week. I don’t live nearby to take her regularly. Can you recommend a car service that can pick her up and take her to do these errands? I want to make sure it’s a reputable company.
A: I have a better idea. Instead of a car service, consider hiring someone for companion care instead. For significantly less than the cost of a private car service, you could arrange for a licensed, insured helper to accompany your mother on all her errands including grocery shopping. This approach offers two advantages; if your mother’s sight is failing you want to have someone who will be especially attentive to prevent a fall and who may be able to recognize other potential needs she may have that you are unaware of. And unlike a hired driver, the companion can bring your mother into her house, help unpack the groceries and even make her lunch if your mother would like it. In the end your mother will feel like she has been on an outing and may even want to invite her friends to join her next time.
Companion services are offered by most home health agencies and companies. They’re an ideal solution when personal, nonmedical care is required. In addition to meal preparation, they’ll help with light housekeeping and laundry, and even playing cards. The cost ranges from $14-20 an hour, depending on the specific services requested.
Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of SeniorityMatters.com, a local caregiver advisory and referral service for South Florida seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@ senioritymatters.com.