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Posted April 28, 2005

Ask An Expert

Caregiving Career: Information on Becoming a Senior Companion

Q. I am watching this woman a few days a week in her home, and I wanted to know where I can get tips on being a female companion to a woman in her 80's. I am looking for tips on how to help her with exercise, talking about things, and playing games. Are there books on being a female companion to other seniors in their homes? I am also a senior aged 61. Thanks.

Harriett K., Boca Raton, Florida

A. There are many resources on the internet and in book stores that teach caregivers what kinds of activities they might implement in the home.

Some things to consider are:

Depending on her physical ability, you might consider a small gardening project, reading large print books, playing cards, board games, shopping together, a trip to the park, painting, sewing, or listening to music from her younger days. If she has lots of loose photos, you might consider helping her arrange them in albums.

For more information, you might want to visit Senior Corps. This is a network of programs that tap the experience, skills, and talents of older citizens to meet community challenges with Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP(Retired and Senior Volunteer Program).

(This answer is provided by Valerie VanBooven, a registered nurse, professional geriatric care manager, author, and professional speaker. She is a leading expert on long-term care planning and crisis management. Valerie is president of Senior Care Solutions, a private geriatric care management practice in the St. Louis area. Her books include Aging Answers: Secrets to Successful Long-Term Care Planning, Caregiving, and Crisis Management. She can be reached at Valerie@theltcexpert.com.)

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