A companion


Companions perform housekeeping duties and meal preparation for the people they assist on their own premises such as elderly people or people with special needs or who suffer from an illness. They also provide entertainment activities such as playing cards or reading stories. They may do shopping activities as well as punctual transportation to doctor’s appointments, etc.

Excludes people performing medical care of the assisted person.

The duties of a companion include, but are not limited to:

  • Helping patients with personal hygiene tasks such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Monitoring the resident’s health by observing changes in behavior, eating habits, sleeping patterns, and mood swings
  • Providing emotional support to patients and family members during difficult times
  • Teaching basic activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing
  • Helping with daily activities such as cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning the home, and shopping for groceries
  • Arranging doctor’s appointments and accompanying residents to medical appointments
  • Preparing meals and snacks and serving them to residents
  • Assisting residents with bathing, grooming, dressing, and other activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Monitoring residents’ medication intake and communicating with physicians regarding any problems or side effects that may occur

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to companion:

male servant
live-in companion
live in companion

Working conditions

Companions typically work in the homes of their clients, providing them with companionship and performing light housekeeping tasks, such as dusting, vacuuming, and laundry. They may also prepare meals, run errands, and provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or social outings.

Some companions work in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. They typically work during the day, although some may work evenings or weekends. Some may work full time, while others may work part time.

Companions must be able to deal with the stress of working with clients who may be ill, disabled, or elderly and may require constant supervision.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as companion. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

Age and educational requirements for companions vary. They are set by individual employers, who usually look for companions with social, cultural, and educational backgrounds similar to their own.

In general, most employers prefer high school graduates. Some require companions to have a college education. Courses in family and consumer science, psychology, English, foreign languages, music, and art are good preparation for a career as a companion. Many companions also have a nursing background. However, some of the skills required of companions, such as cooking and cleaning, can be learned informally.

Almost all employers require good references. Many prefer to hire those who have had experience in caring for people.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Companion is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Companion career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to companion.

home care aide
au pair
domestic butler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of companion. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of companion with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

life coach
civil registrar
legal guardian
private chef
wedding planner

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of companion.

  • Wash the laundry: Wash or clean clothes by hand or by use of a washing machine.
  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Prepare sandwiches: Make filled and open sandwiches, paninis and kebabs.
  • Use food preparation techniques: Apply food preparation techniques including the selecting, washing, cooling, peeling, marinating, preparing of dressings and cutting of ingredients.
  • Iron textiles: Press and iron in order to shape or flatten textiles giving them their final finishing appearance. Iron by hand or with steam pressers.
  • Clean surfaces: Disinfect surfaces in accordance with sanitary standards.
  • Clean rooms: Clean rooms by cleaning glasswork and windows, polishing furniture, vacuuming carpets, scrubbing hard floors, and removing garbage.
  • Relate empathetically: Recognise, understand and share emotions and insights experienced by another.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Show social competences: Ability to interact effectively with other people.
  • Accompany people: Chaperon individuals on trips, to events or appointments or to go shopping.
  • Prepare ready-made dishes: Get ready for serving snacks and sandwiches or heat up ready-made bar products if requested.
  • Make the beds: Clean sheets, turn mattresses, plump pillows and change cushions.
  • Use cooking techniques: Apply cooking techniques including grilling, frying, boiling, braising, poaching, baking or roasting.
  • Keep company: Be with people to do stuff together, such as talking, playing games or having a drink.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of companion. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of companion. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Give advice on personal matters: Advise people on love and marriage issues, business and job opportunities, health or other personal aspects.
  • Feed pets: Make sure that pets are given appropriate food and water on time.
  • Drive vehicles: Be able to drive vehicles; have the appropriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
  • Perform dusting activities: Remove dust from furniture, blinds and windowsills using specialised dust cloths or hand-cleaning items.
  • Support nurses: Support nurses with the preparation and delivery of diagnostic and treatment interventions.
  • Buy groceries: Purchase ingredients, products and tools that are necessary for daily housekeeping activities.
  • Provide dog walking services: Provide dog-walking services, including activities such as agreement of services with the customer, selection and use of handling equipment, interaction with the dog, and safe and responsible dog walking.
  • Use gardening equipment: Use gardening equipment such as clippers, sprayers, mowers, chainsaws, complying to health and safety regulations.
  • Administer appointments: Accept, schedule and cancel appointments.
  • Assist clients with special needs: Aid clients with special needs following relevant guidelines and special standards. Recognise their needs and accurately respond to them if needed.
  • Wash vehicles: Wash and dry vehicle and ensure that paint is kept intact by waxing and polishing vehicle using the appropriate tools.
  • Support individuals to adjust to physical disability: Assist individuals to adjust to the implications of physical disability and to understand the new responsibilities and level of dependency.

ISCO group and title

5162 – Companions and valets

  1. Companion – ESCO
  2. Companion Caregiver Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Companion Job Description –
  4. Featured image: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Last updated on November 6, 2022

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