What Is The Difference Between A Personal Care Attendant And An Elder Companion?

personal care attendantAlthough these terms are used interchangeably, there are several differences between a personal care attendant and an elder companion. These differences are mainly in terms of the responsibilities and the training that is required.

What Is A Personal Care Attendant?

This professional, also referred to as a PCA or a personal aide, performs many of the same tasks as a companion. However, a PCA also has the qualification to provide patients with personal care. This type of care includes ADLs such as dressing, bathing and grooming. This professional is often required to have certification in home health aide training. This typically involves take a nurse supervised training program.

What Is An Elder Companion?

An elder companion is also known as homemaker does not have as much training as a PCA. The main job responsibilities of a companion are to help prepare meals, perform light housekeeping tasks and also offer companionship.

The companion may accompany the client to social events, go for walks or just keep them company while they are in the home. Although there are no training or educational requirements for companions, it is important to find someone who is compassionate and is compatible with the client’s personality and needs.


There is another difference between these two professionals. Personal care aides typically work in shifts. These can be daytime or night time shifts.

On the other hand, an elder companion can be asked to work any combination of hours. This position is often part time or on an as needed basis. There are times when a companion may be asked to only work a few hours one week, and more hours the next week. The amount of companionship needed will be based on the requirements of the client.

What to Consider When Hiring a Companion or PCA

Whether you are deciding to hire a companion or PCA for yourself or for a loved one, it is important to keep in mind that the needs may change over time. Your loved one may only need companionship, and then require personal care if their health begins to decline. If you are considering hiring someone to provide assistance for long term, it may be best to choose someone who has the proper training and certification.

A personal care attendant provides assistance with daily personal needs, and can also assist with housekeeping, meal preparation and other services. Consider your loved one’s long term needs when choosing in-home care professionals.

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