Thursday, March 21, 2013

Finding Suitable Sitters for the Elderly

Finding the right people to take care of the elderly can be very difficult. When you are searching for a senior care service for your aged parents, you need to take as much care as you would when hiring a baby sitter for your child. As the sitter or the companion would spend a considerable amount of time with your parent, a number of aspects should be considered before you hire one. Some of the factors to look at include the personality, attitude and lifestyle of the hired help. You should also take into account your parent's needs and the sitter's willingness to do what is necessary.

Where to Find Elderly Care

There are two usual ways of finding senior care - through professional referral services or by contacting the individual through personal sources like family and friends. When you approach a assisted living home, you will have more number of options. If you are not comfortable with one person, you can always request the service providers for a replacement. The flexibility and the choice you have here will not be available when you choose individual sitters.

You can also approach hospitals, employment offices, senior homes, or even the Chamber of Commerce to get information about sitters and sitter referral agencies in the area. Another option is to run a paper ad for a sitter or post an ad on the internet.


Once you find a sitter, it is important to see if he or she and your elderly parent get along well. Don’t be fooled by the sitter's behavior in the first few days, as that can change later on. You need to make sure that the person is sincere and focuses on the well-being and comfort of the senior at all times.

For instance, encouraging the senior's family and friends to visit, allowing the senior to answer his or her own phone and speak for himself/herself, taking the senior on walks, luncheons, etc, are all good signs. Using your parent's phone for personal calls, discussing the person with others, having his or her friends and family visit at the senior's home, being irresponsible, late and canceling appointments at the last moment etc are all negative signs.

How to make things better

Try to make the sitter's job easy, rather than making it more difficult. So be sure to give the person a set of instructions and an itinerary of activities that your parent may be used to. Avoid overburdening them with other tasks like sitting your kids or pets, and asking them to do something that their job description (obtained from the service) does not include. Most importantly, pay them on time and have regard for the job they do.

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