As you age, many things you once took for granted become increasingly challenging, from performing basic tasks like bathing and grooming to leaving the house to socialize.
Many older adults become homebound and socially isolated. They rely on loved ones to provide companionship and assistance. But family members may not always be available to offer the amount of help and company they need. This situation is where sitters for adults come in.
What is a Sitter for Adults?
A sitter for adults is a professional caregiver who provides companionship and assistance to older adults who need supervision due to physical or mental health conditions.
Sitters offer regular socialization for those who are homebound or socially isolated. They do this by providing company and friendly conversation, playing games, and engaging them in stimulating activities. Sitters also help ensure that the person they are caring for is safe and comfortable within their own home.
While sitters can’t offer any medical assistance, they can provide help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. Other duties may also include providing transportation to appointments, medication reminders, and help with physical therapy exercises.
Understanding Why Adults May Need a Sitter
There are many reasons why adults may need a sitter. Whether it’s due to age, injury, disability, safety concerns, grief, or loneliness, having a sitter can provide much-needed support and companionship.
If you’ve been considering hiring a sitter for a loved one, below are some signs that it might be the right time.
Reasons adults may need a sitter:
- Increasing Need for Help. As you get older, it’s only natural for your physical and mental state to decline. You can’t always look after yourself the way you used to. Simple daily chores such as bathing, grooming, and cooking become increasingly difficult and are often left undone. A sitter can help with these tasks.
- Disability or Sickness. Those suffering from disabilities or chronic illnesses may require more assistance in their daily lives than others. A sitter can help with mobility, transport, medication reminders, and more. Many are also specially trained to work with conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and/or diabetes.
- Growing Concern for Safety. Seniors are at a much higher risk of falls or other accidents and injuries in the home. These accidents or falls are of particular concern if the person is living alone. Having a sitter can provide peace of mind, knowing that someone is there to help in case of an emergency.
- Grief from Familial Loss. The death of a spouse is a challenging time for anyone. It can be difficult to manage alone. It can also increase an older adult’s risk of social isolation and loneliness in the long run. A sitter can provide emotional support and companionship during this time of grief.
- Loneliness from Isolation. When adults are homebound, they often become socially isolated — particularly when they don’t have family members or friends living nearby. This isolation can lead to depression and other mental health concerns. Having a sitter can provide a sense of companionship and prevent loneliness.
Benefits of Hiring Sitters for Family Caregivers
Being a family caregiver is a challenging and demanding job. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting and may often leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. It can also put a huge strain on your relationship with the person you’re caring for. Hiring an in-home sitter can take some of this responsibility off of your plate and help reduce stress levels.
Benefits of hiring a sitter for family caregivers include:
- Prevents Burnout. Being a family caregiver is a 24/7 job that may leave you feeling stressed and exhausted, eventually leading to burnout. It can also contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Hiring a sitter can provide some much-needed respite for you to rest and recharge.
- Getting Quality Time for Yourself. When you spend so much of your time caring for someone else, there may not be a lot of time left for yourself. It’s easy to lose sight of your own needs and interests. Hiring a sitter allows you more flexibility and time to prioritize your self-care.
- Improves Your Social Life. Being a full-time family caregiver can be socially isolating. It can leave you feeling disconnected from your friends and loved ones. Splitting your responsibilities with a sitter can give you more free time to socialize and spend quality time with other friends and family.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety. A sitter can also help to reduce stress and anxiety by providing complete peace of mind that your loved one is in safe and reliable hands when you’re not around.
- Better Relationship with a Loved One. Taking care of a loved one can eventually lead to feelings of resentment. Your loved one may even feel like a burden. Having another person to help with tasks and offer companionship can make the time you do spend together more meaningful, improving your relationship.
Benefits of Hiring Sitters for Adults
Hiring a sitter is also a great way to ensure that your loved one gets the support and companionship they need, significantly improving their overall quality of life.
Benefits of hiring sitters for adults include:
- Companionship. A sitter can help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness by engaging seniors in meaningful conversation, playing games, or simply spending time together around the house.
- Support with Activities of Daily Thriving. Sitters can also help with activities of daily thriving that older adults may struggle to perform on their own. Activities can include washing, dressing, grooming, and meal preparation.
- Increased Independence. Hiring a sitter can allow your loved one to maintain their independence for longer. By having someone around to help with daily tasks, seniors can continue living in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. In-home sitters reduce the need for assisted living facilities or residential care homes.
- Improved Health and Safety. Sitters can also improve the health and safety of your loved one by assisting with mobility and fall prevention, ensuring their home is safe and secure, and providing medication and exercise reminders.
Determining Your Needs and Sitter Qualifications
So you’ve decided that you’re interested in hiring a sitter? The first step is determining your loved one’s needs so you can begin looking for the ideal sitter for your family.
Steps for determining your loved one’s care needs:
- Communicate. Communicate your intention to hire a sitter to your loved one. You don’t want them to be taken by surprise when a stranger shows up at their home. It’s crucial to involve them in the entire process to help them feel more in control of their own care. You should also communicate with other family members involved in the person’s care.
- Evaluate Needs. The next step is evaluating your loved one’s needs, expectations, and preferences. How much and what type of assistance do they need? What medical conditions need to be taken into consideration? What do they feel comfortable with? You should also take into account your family’s needs, such as work schedules and financial resources.
- Prioritize Needs and Desired Attributes of Care. Once you’ve evaluated your family’s needs, prioritize them. What’s necessary and what’s just a plus when creating a care plan? What skills and attributes are you looking for in a sitter?
- Decide on Length of Care. Do you need a sitter for a few hours a day or around the clock? Will the care be short-term (due to recovery from an injury or surgery) or ongoing? These are key factors to consider when hiring a sitter.
Finding the Right Sitter and Managing Care
When it comes to finding an adult sitter for your loved one, there are many factors to consider. Not only do you want someone qualified and experienced, but you also want someone compatible with your loved one’s personality and needs.
Tips to help you find the right adult sitter:
- Establish Connections. Word of mouth is a great way to find a reliable sitter. Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors who have used an adult sitter in the past. They may be able to recommend someone who worked well for them.
- Research Professional Agencies. You could also research professional home care agencies that specialize in adult care. An agency can help connect you with qualified caregivers who are properly trained and screened. Make sure to read reviews and check the credentials of the agency.
- Consider Experience. Look for someone who has experience working with adults with similar needs as your loved one. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, try to find someone who has experience working with similar clients.
- Check References. Past references are key when hiring an in-home sitter. An agency will supply these for you. Or, if you’re hiring independently, ask for the details of past employers so you can get in touch yourself.
- Ensure Compatibility. It is crucial to ensure compatibility between your loved one and the adult sitter before you commit. Arrange for a casual “meet and greet” to determine whether the sitter is a good fit for your family.
- Set Clear Expectations. Once you’ve chosen a sitter, it’s vital to set clear expectations from the beginning. Discuss the caregiver’s responsibilities, hours, and compensation. Be clear about what tasks are and aren’t expected of them.
- Monitor Care. While a sitter is there to offer respite, it’s still important to continue monitoring your loved one’s care, especially in the beginning. Make sure to check in regularly, set up a clear channel of communication, and address any concerns as early as possible.
Hire an In-Home Adult Sitter with Providence Home Care
If you or a loved one are considering hiring an in-home adult sitter in the Oklahoma City area, Providence Home Care can help find the right fit for you.
Our team of passionate and reliable caregivers can assist with companionship and personal care for elderly clients wanting to age in place. We also offer sitter services as part of our home health care services for those who are homebound due to a serious illness or injury.
Contact us today to find out more.