More than six million people in the U.S. live with dementia in some form. Most of these people still live at home, relying on loved ones for support.
Caring for a loved one with dementia demands a unique set of skills and a deep understanding of the daily challenges they face. When the demands of the role become too much to handle alone, the help of professional caregivers becomes invaluable.
Sitter services for dementia patients offer specialized care that focuses on supervision, companionship, and ensuring a safe environment for adults with dementia who want to age at home.
If you’re considering hiring a caregiver for your loved one with dementia, this post will explain what you need to know about sitter services.
Dementia is a neurological condition characterized by a gradual decline in cognitive abilities. It impacts memory, reasoning, and daily functioning. While dementia can affect people at any stage of life, it’s significantly more common in older adults.
The condition comes in various forms, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Other less-known forms include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
Symptoms of dementia tend to appear slowly over time. The condition often starts with mild memory loss and confusion, eventually leading to severe cognitive impairment. As the condition progresses, many people experience communication problems, personality and behavior changes, and even difficulty with motor skills.
Dementia isn’t a typical part of aging. Living with dementia presents many unique challenges that tend to worsen as the condition advances. This progression is why finding specialized dementia care early on is essential. Properly trained caregivers are vital in helping cater to the ever-changing needs of those living with dementia.
What are Sitter Services for Dementia Patients
Most adults with dementia would prefer to age within their own homes. And staying at home can be highly beneficial for dementia patients. Remaining in a familiar and comfortable environment is much less disorienting than moving to a full-time care facility, especially for those with memory loss issues.
But, symptoms of dementia can make it difficult for seniors to live independently at home. Confusion and disorientation may cause wandering and falls. The condition can also make daily tasks more challenging, increasing stress and anxiety.
Even with family members offering support, many adults with dementia can still benefit from a trained caregiver providing extra supervision and help when needed.
Sitter services for dementia patients are a type of private specialized dementia care. These services offer ongoing support and companionship to those with the cognitive condition.
Unlike traditional caregiving, which focuses on medical assistance and personal care, sitter services focus on safety and socialization.
Sitter services can complement existing care arrangements, especially when family members or primary caregivers need respite or additional assistance.
The Role of Sitters in Dementia Care
A sitter ensures that adults living with dementia are safe and comfortable within their homes. Even when medical assistance isn’t required, a sitter is an extra set of eyes and hands to ensure your loved one gets the supervision and support they need.
Sitters also offer much-needed companionship to those who are homebound or socially isolated since many older adults have limited social interaction due to their conditions.
This extra assistance allows many seniors with dementia to continue to age at home rather than in a full-time care facility.
Services provided by a sitter include:
- Providing company and friendly conversation
- Playing games and engaging in stimulating activities
- Preventing wandering and removing safety hazards in the home
- Assistance with personal care, e.g., bathing and dressing
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Running errands and providing transportation to appointments
- Offering medication reminders
Benefits of Sitter Services for Dementia Patients
Hiring a sitter can have a multitude of benefits for a person with dementia and their loved ones.
Benefits of sitter services for dementia patients:
- Enhanced Safety. Sitters offer crucial supervision for those with memory loss and confusion. They can help prevent wandering and injuries. They also help ensure safety around the home by doing things like turning off the stove and locking doors and windows.
- Better Emotional Well-Being. Regular socialization helps alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Meaningful social interactions can improve mood and reduce agitation.
- Increased Mental Stimulation. Sitters help stimulate cognitive function in adults with dementia. They can engage them in conversation and encourage participation in stimulating activities. Greater mental stimulation can help reduce the rate of cognitive decline.
- Peace of Mind. Having a professional sitter checking in on your loved one when you’re not around can give you peace of mind. Having a properly trained caregiver on your care team can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
- Enhances Quality of Life. By allowing adults with dementia to continue to live independently in their own homes while offering socialization and support, sitter services can greatly enhance the overall quality of life for those with the condition.
Choosing the Right Sitter Service Provider
Choosing the right in-home help is essential in getting your loved one the care they need. Not only do you want a sitter who is qualified and experienced in dementia care, but you also want someone compatible with your loved one’s personality.
Working with a reputable home care agency, such as Providence Home Care, can help you find qualified sitters who are properly trained and screened.
Tips to help you find the right sitter service:
- Ask for Recommendations. Reach out to friends, family, medical professionals, and other members of your community. See if anyone has used sitters before. They might be able to recommend a service provider that worked well for them.
- Find Specialized Dementia Care. Look for providers and sitters who are experienced and qualified in working with people with dementia.
- Check Reviews. When researching services online, make sure to read reviews from past clients. Are other people happy with the services provided?
- Ensure Compatibility. Once you’ve found a provider and they’ve assigned you a sitter, ask for a “meet and greet.” Ensuring the sitter is a good fit for your loved one and family is important. And remember, you don’t have to commit right away.
Training and Qualifications for Dementia Sitters
Dementia is a unique condition that requires specialized care. Dementia sitters need to have the right training and qualifications for the role.
A dementia sitter should have at least a basic caregiving certification. They might also be a Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) or a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). But most crucially, they should have undertaken dementia-specific training or certification.
Experience working with similar individuals with memory conditions is also extremely helpful. Being a dementia sitter is a role that requires a set of unique skills, as well as continuous learning and development.
Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment
When a person with dementia still lives at home, creating a safe and supportive environment is crucial. Sitters can play a key role in implementing safety measures.
Simple home modifications can make life easier for those with dementia. Modifications may include installing handrails and removing tripping hazards. Qualified sitters are experienced in identifying potential risks and helping suggest or implement changes to create a more secure living space.
Establishing and adhering to routines is also essential in creating a supportive environment. Routines provide a sense of predictability. They can help alleviate anxiety and confusion for dementia patients. Sitters’ specialized training means they can help maintain these routines and create a secure and nurturing environment.
Respite Care for Family Caregivers
If you’re a family caregiver providing full-time care to a loved one with dementia, private sitters can provide some much-needed relief and support for you, too.
Respite care provides temporary relief for caregivers. You can take a break to rest and recharge while knowing your loved one is still in good hands, even if only for a few hours.
Looking after a loved one with dementia is a highly demanding role. It can take a toll — physically and emotionally. Respite care allows you to look after your well-being and tend to your needs too. Taking time for yourself reduces the likelihood of caregiver burnout.
Taking breaks can also equip you to provide the best possible care for your loved one in the long run.
Cost and Insurance Coverage
Hiring a sitter for a person with dementia is a private service and is not covered by Medicare. Services are usually paid out of pocket on an hourly basis. The exact cost can vary depending on location and the specific services provided.
If you believe your loved one could benefit from a sitter, but the costs are out of your budget, there are other avenues you can explore.
Some long-term care insurance policies may offer partial reimbursement for sitter services. Although, coverage can vary widely. Review your policies and contact your insurance provider to see if you’re eligible.
Some government programs and nonprofit organizations may also offer financial assistance or subsidies for dementia care services.
Sitter Services at Providence Home Care
If you’re considering hiring a sitter for a loved one with dementia in the Oklahoma City area, Providence Home Care can help find the right fit for you.
Our team of qualified and passionate caregivers can assist with safety, companionship, and personal care for seniors with dementia who would like to age in place.
Our sitters can provide as little or as much support as your loved one needs — from popping in a few times a week for those in the early stages of the condition to offering around-the-clock care for seniors with advancing dementia symptoms.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.