Can a person that has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, have a sitter with them?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Can a person that has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, have a sitter be placed with them?

Expert Answers

Mary Koffend is the president of Accountable Aging Care Management (AACM), an eldercare consulting and care management firm that works with elder clients and their families to find the best care providers and services to meet their needs.

The simple answer to your questions is a person with Alzheimer's who resides in a nursing home can have a sitter. The place to begin is to talk with the social worker at the facility and determine if there are companies with which the facility has a good working relationship. The relationship is very important as the nursing home needs to continue to provide the services for which you are paying them and the sitter's role is to engage with the person with Alzheimer's and to provide extra care. Although the common term for a private paid helper is "sitter", other terms are companion and caregiver which more effectively describe the role.

Once you identify a sitter, confirm that they are trained to work with a person with Alzheimer's. The next step is to plan the specific activities you want the sitter to accomplish and outline them for the sitter.

Knowing the schedule at the nursing home and having recommendations for times that the patient could best work with a sitter are also important for success. For example, if the Alzheimer"˜s patient is very agitated at bathing time, having the sitter prepare the patient and keep them calm can be very effective. Look at the times of the day for meals, baths, activities, etc and in coordination with the social worker and staff at the nursing home, pick the best times of the day for the patient to get the most bang for your buck.

Establish a monitoring tool so you will know what the sitter is accomplishing and if there are issues. A simple notebook like log is useful. Also schedule occasional face-to face meetings with the sitter to keep good communication flowing.

Having a sitter can really enhance the care of the Alzheimer's patient especially in the nursing home setting, but it does require management of the process.