As the body ages, getting out and being social quite as often can becoming challenging, and this can be especially true of seniors who’ve recently had a surgery or are suffering from the onset of dementia or other conditions. This is why many seniors find themselves spending more time at home, which may leave them alone and feeling lonely for long periods of time—even if they live with family members or have part-time in-home caregivers. This is where a senior sitter or elderly companion service can play a large role in improving the physical and emotional wellness of such a loved one.
What is a Senior Sitter?
An elderly companion or senior sitter is a non-medical caregiver that can be there whenever and wherever clients need them whether that be full-time, part-time, 24/7. Care can take place in a variety of settings such as senior living housing, nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, etc., but most often takes place within a home setting. However, elderly sitters can only perform certain tasks that are not medically related or involve physical contact (such as ADLs), so their roles are generally limited to providing basic supervision and companionship that can also include light housekeeping and errands depending upon the agreement made with the caregiver.
What Do Senior Sitter and Elderly Companion Services Include?
In general, senior sitters are there to keep seniors company while their family or regular caregivers are away. They also can provide company to the elder while they are in the hospital recovering from a surgery or incident while loved ones go to work or tend to other business.
Some traditional services of senior sitters include:
- Providing company, companionship and friendly conversations with charges.
- Playing games or engaging in mind stimulating activities.
- Taking short outings to the yard or for short walks when possible.
- Offering seniors medication reminders, but not assisting with administration.
- Light exercise guidance within the patient’s limitations and comfort level.
Many senior sitters may also perform homemaker and errand duties as a part of their role, but at an additional cost. Some of these tasks may include:
- Preparing light meals such as soups, sandwiches or snacks.
- Assisting with light housework and chores such as dusting, laundry and light cleanup.
- Running errands such as short grocery trips, picking up medications, etc.
- Transportation for elderly charges to doctor’s appointments and other outings.
If your loved one will be transported by the caregiver or they will be running errands, considerations must be taken. These issues are regarding who’s vehicle will be used, insurance requirements and any additional compensation to be provided to the caregiver for gas, mileage, wear and tear, etc., if using their personal vehicle.
Limitations of Senior Sitter Services
One common misconception is that senior sitters or companions provide the same services as traditional medical caregivers certified home health aides. While their roles are very similar, senior sitters do not provide assistance with activities of daily living such as brushing teeth, bathing, dressing, getting to the toilet, changing disposable garments and so on. Furthermore, if the beneficiary is in a wheelchair, many senior sitter services and providers require that the individual be able to get into a vehicle by themselves if transportation is to be provided. It’s also important to know that not all senior sitters are likely to be trained or certified unless they work with an agency. Some may have home care experience and be licensed to provide additional care, but this will vary depending on whom you or your loved one hire.
The Benefits of Senior Sitter Services
The benefits of having a senior sitter keeping a friendly, yet watchful eye over an aging loved one who needs a bit of company and assistance are vast. A few of these perks include the following.
- Companionship & Engagement—Science has shown that seniors that stay actively engaged with others and keep their mind working can minimize the progression of and reduce the onset of memory related conditions. Seniors with regular companionship seem to become ill less often, suffer less from depression and heal faster from injuries.
- Peace of Mind All Around—Rest easy whether your loved one is in the hospital, rehab or in the room down the hall with an elderly sitter. Your mind will be free to focus on working, taking care of errands or getting some sleep knowing all the while your companion has things covered.
- Faster Recovery and Less Injuries—Without the need to concern themselves with things like meal preparation, driving, or keeping up the house seniors can recover much faster from incidents and surgeries. They are also less likely to suffer from future injuries by allowing their bodies a rest with the respite provided by a senior companion who does homemaker duties. As an added bonus, having a friendly person to talk to who provides emotional support further promotes mental wellness and greater levels of personal happiness.
Paying for a Senior Sitting Service
Most patients and their families find that the majority of state, federal and private insurance coverage policies don’t cover the costs associated with non-medical care including senior sitters or companions for the elderly. However, it’s advisable to check with any and all options available to the senior such as Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, long term care policies, Veteran’s services and local charitable organizations. The latter is an excellent option for low income seniors, as many local groups offer companion services at reduced costs or for free for qualifying seniors.
Are There Senior Sitters Near Me?
Need help finding a senior sitter or companion? Contact one of our senior living representatives today on our senior helpline to learn about senior sitters near you today.