Become a Respite Companion Contractor
The Respite Companion Program is designed to:
- Give temporary relief to families and caregivers / care partners of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease or progressive dementia who live in their own home. The intent is to help the caregiver take regularly scheduled time away from the role of caregiving, knowing the person they care for is enjoying time with their new friend.
- Provide companionship, stimulation and supervision to the client
- Foster friendship, social interaction and shared activities that promote a feeling of accomplishment, independence and increased self-esteem
Contracted companions engage in activities that are of interest to the client. We focus our attention on doing things "with the client", not "for the client" and provide the client with an opportunity to:
- Interact in a way that maintains or enhances the individual's self- esteem and self-worth
- Take part in appropriate and meaningful stimulation, and activity aimed at the functional level and mood of the client at the time of interaction
- Engage in activities, such as playing cards, board games, word games, crafts, activities that lead to reminiscences, walking, and household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, gardening and cooking as long as these are a shared activity with client's active involvement
- Be supported with supervisory care aimed at providing client safety and security
- Help initiate and participate in activities that bring purpose and meaning to the individual's life experience
Respite companion information
Qualifications and experience
- Related work experience and / or practical "lived" experience in supporting people with memory loss
- Demonstrated qualities, character and skills needed when working with individuals who are living with memory loss and their care partners
Based on the program's current client-needs, priority may be given to applicants who meet a particular demand including:
- Language and cultural needs of the program
- Geographic locations, such as travel distances
- Availability (how flexible / how available during evenings and weekends)
- Gender identity needs of our clients, such as male, female, LGBTQ+
- Grade 12 high school diploma or equivalent
- Courses in working with older adults are an asset, but are not required, for example recreation and leisure, gerontology, health care and physical activity
Experience (assets, not required)
- Experience in working with or caring for older adults, with various types of limitations, including cognitive impairment
- Experience in program / activity planning, such as in a parenting role or volunteer capacity, at church, Guiding / Scouts, etc.
- Various hobbies and interests are an asset
- Demonstrated interest in supporting older adults
- Good judgment, problem solving and an ability to work independently
- Stellar communication skills, with an ability to apply them to client and care partner interactions
- Willingness to upgrade knowledge and skills by actively participating in monthly training sessions hosted by the Respite Companion Program
Duties and responsibilities
- Companions are self-employed and will work within the guidelines of the Respite Companion Program
- Provide social support, encouragement and stimulating activities to clients with memory loss
- Report any concerns about the client, their situation or the care partner directly to the program coordinator in a timely manner. This includes filling in any applicable program forms that are required.
- Attend mandatory monthly training / education sessions hosted by the program
The following services are not activities provided by the contracted respite companion. However, the program coordinator can support families in finding the right community resources to help if they need information about these services.
- House cleaning, laundry and ironing
- Making beds
- Preparing full meals
- Toileting, bathing, dressing or changing dressings (or other professional nursing tasks)
- Medication distribution or administration of any kind
- Transportation (might accompany, but not drive)
- Shopping or banking
Independent contractor details, special conditions and training
Respite companions are independent contractors.
- This program is operated by Community Services at Niagara Region, but the respite contractors are not employees of Niagara Region
- Respite workers are contracted for a maximum of 40 program hours each week
- No deductions are made from any fees paid for services; no benefits are paid
- Limits of liability insurance coverage
- All contractors must be able to provide a minimum schedule of 15 hours of availability
- This service is not designed to provide guaranteed hours of any kind and can fluctuate suddenly. Companions may find that following the discharge of a client, it may be some time before hours can be replaced with a new visit.
- Contractors must provide their own transportation and be willing to travel within Niagara
Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a Five Step Orientation / Training process (32 hours). This can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to complete. The steps include:
- Four days - in-class training program, 20 hours in total
- Two hours - supervised, practical experience at an Adult Day Program
- One hour - aging and dementia simulation experience at the Alzheimer Society
- Three hours - shadow visit with a current companion and their client
- One hour - computer training to learn about the scheduling / timesheet system
Training and travel time are paid after you are matched with your first client. It's important to note that based on your own self-evaluation, you're able to opt out of the process at any time.
In addition, the program manager also reserves the right to stop the training process for any particular potential contractor if they feel that the program is not a good fit for them.
Current rates of pay per hour, based on number of hours worked for the program are:
- 0 to 1500 hours - $17
- 1501 to 3500 hours - $17.25
- 3501 to 5500 hours - $17.50
- 5501 to 6500 hours - $17.75
- 6501 to 7500 hours - $18
- More than 7501+ hours - $18.25
The charge to the family is $8.50 / hour or lower. The rate is negotiated based on the client's Notice of Assessment. Funding for subsidization is provided by the Ministry of Health.
Contractors are paid for their travel time, using the following equation: 50 km = 1 hour (total mileage) divided by 50 = (time spent driving) x hourly rate of pay = $ mileage payment.
For example: if you drove 120 km in a pay period / 50 km = 2.40 travel time x $17 rate of pay = $40.80.