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Connecting older adults with student companions

Family Resources launches the Adult Companionship Services Directory

April 1, 2024 — 

A new program aims to connect caregivers of adults within the UM community with students offering support through companionship services. Coinciding with National Caregivers Day on April 2, Family Resources, in collaboration with the Centre on Aging and the UM Age-friendly University Committee, is launching The Adult Companionship Services (ACS) Directory. The directory will serve as a centralized hub to locate companionship service providers and post job opportunities.


Addressing a need in our community

Last year, approximately one in four Canadian adults provided care for someone who had a long-term health condition or a physical or mental disability, according to Statistics Canada. This responsibility can be demanding, and many caregivers rely on others for various types of support.

That is why when William Kops, Professor Emeritus and member of the UM Age-friendly University Committee, learned about the UM Babysitter Directory, he thought a similar resource could benefit UM members who are caregivers for adults. By providing opportunities to arrange casual visitation and companionship, the directory hopes to help both caregivers and the adults receiving care.

“Matching adults in need of companionship with UM students makes perfect sense. In addition to social and emotional support, the Adult Companionship Services Directory fosters inter-generational connections within the UM community,” says Kops.

“This new service shows how the University of Manitoba can make strides as an Age-friendly University by bringing together different units to work collaboratively to improve the lives of students, staff, faculty, and their families,” says Michelle Porter, Director of the Centre for Aging and a collaborator in the development of the ACS directory. “Students can gain volunteer/employment opportunities, and both students and clients can benefit from inter-generational engagement.”


How the directory works

The directory will contain service provider profiles, stating their availability, contact information and any certifications they may have. Clients can choose to list a job opportunity or contact a service provider directly to discuss a service opportunity.

The responsibilities of an Adult Companionship Service Provider are to provide companionship and emotional support and engage in meaningful activities with clients. Companionship services can include a variety of tasks, such as regular check-in visits and phone calls, accompanying clients on outings or appointments, playing cards, fixing light snacks or coffee. It will not include services reserved for professionals, such as lifting, dressing, and feeding.

The ACS Directory is open to UM students, employees, retirees, and their family members. Most listings will be for paid services, however in some instances volunteer services may be available.

“The Adult Companionship Services Directory is part of our continued efforts to build a supportive environment for our UM families,” says Francene Perehinec, Family Resource Coordinator.


Sign up for access to the Adult Companionship Services Directory.

If you are a student passionate about making a difference in the lives of older adults, access the job description here on UM Connect.

For other family care matters, visit the Family Resources webpage.


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