Caregivers often work round-the-clock. Even when a caregiver does not live with the senior for whom he or she provides care, tasks often need attention outside of normal business and operating hours. There are phone calls to be made, bills to be paid, doctors' visits to be coordinated, travel to and from the elderly person's home, et cetera. All of this is a lot to take on, especially if the family caregiver is working, has children, lives far away, or all of the above. If an elderly loved one needs memory-specific care, this adds additional concerns surrounding health and safety issues.
People with memory issues not only need general help, such as help safely cooking meals or doing household chores. Cognitive issues mean the person is also at risk for wandering, forgetting medications, and getting in harm's way from common hazards like falls or fires. This often means 24/7 care and monitoring, especially after an accident, injury, surgery, or a move. Changes in medications, diet, and environment can also put the person's brain in a particularly vulnerable state.
Many family members of seniors with memory loss, typically attributed to dementia, worry about their loved ones' safety when they are not around. Their worries are justified. Wandering or confusion, even aggression or anxiety, can lead to serious consequences. Because of these dangers, even memory care facilities can use help with constant monitoring.
If family members are in a financial situation to hire a private sitter after paying facility costs and fees, they might want to consider doing so. A private sitter could be at the facility when it is busiest or overnight, when staff numbers are usually low.
In addition to providing general monitoring and care, private sitters ensure that a loved one gets adequate care in an emergency or after surgery. For family members who live far away or who cannot stay in a hospital overnight, a private sitter fills in. The sitter can check on the loved one's health and provide companionship through a crisis. This can bring great peace of mind to the family and the patient. After surgery, it is important to follow all doctor recommendations. That is difficult, particularly if the patient is in pain, disoriented, or limited in mobility. A private sitter can ensure that the doctor's orders are followed.
For some family members, a private sitter gives additional peace of mind. For example, family members must be on the lookout for abuse or neglect in any kind of long-term care facility. A private sitter can be an extra set of eyes and hands, ensuring proper care for an elderly loved one.
When family members suspect neglect or abuse in a memory care facility, they should document and save all relevant evidence. If family members live some distance away from their elderly loved ones and are unable to visit regularly, a private sitter can identify problems and apprise family members or add additional evidence.
A private sitter can also compensate for the frequently overworked employees in long-term care facilities. This offers regular care workers a chance to focus on more complex care.
Generally speaking, the best way to find a private sitter is through the Internet or word of mouth. Start searching for local businesses and providers (and reading extensively online). Then compare recommendations from trusted and known sources. This should yield a list of names or businesses that provide excellent service to seniors.
It is also important to expect a "trial period". This when family members and the elderly loved one decide if the private sitter is a good fit. Before making a long-term commitment, ensure the relationship is functional and friendly. Then a private sitter can be a welcome addition to the caregiving team surrounding an elderly loved one.
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Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina. (June 26, 2015). Standards for Licensing Community Residential Care Facilities. SDHEC.gov. Available at https://www.scdhec.gov/Agency/docs/health-regs/61-84.pdf. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
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