McCortney Family In-Home Care News

In-home Care Service for those with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia: No, it is NOT a babysitting job!

This is the third and final post in a series about the types of In-home care services we provide to our clients in South-Central/Southeastern Oklahoma. While many of the people we provide caregivers for are generally the same, there are a few different issues that come up specifically with different sets of senior citizens. During this series we will discuss some of the specifics of family home care services for patients being discharged from nursing homes, those recovering from surgery, and those suffering from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

There is a lot of nuance in providing In-home care service, especially when you are working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. One of my pet peeves is when people say, “So, you’re like a babysitting service for senior adults.?” Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they say this; “babysitting is the closest thing the typical person ever experiences to the family home care services that we provide.” It’s an innocent statement, but it undermines how specialized caring for a senior adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s is.

Most people can give you the typical list of things that our caregivers will be doing for a patient with dementia:

  • Make sure they remember to take their medications.
  • Remind them to bathe.
  • Turn the oven off – to prevent them from burning the house down.
  • Watch them to make sure they don’t wander off and forget how to get back home.
  • Feed them.
  • Keep them safe.

Yes, this list is very important, and it isn’t very different from what you would expect of a babysitter for your children. Now, here are the “other” things that our caregivers know to watch for and are trained on how to help with:

  • Keeping them calm when they realize that they are confused.
  • Allowing them all the dignity they can have by helping them make the right choices without treating them like a child.
  • Knowing the value of a routine.
  • Make sure they don’t answer the phone and fall for some type of scam artist’s sales pitch.
  • Helping them focus on the parts of their life they have control over.
  • Helping them remember and enjoy the things of their youth. (Often those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can remember vivid details from fifty years ago, but nothing at all from two hours ago.)

This list could go on for a long time. The point is that our caregivers are not glorified babysitters. Each one has training on providing elder care to senior adults with these very difficult diseases. Many of our caregivers have extensive experience in Alzheimer’s and dementia; some even chose this career after having a personal experience caring for a family member who suffered from this condition. They are not babysitters. They are professional caregivers who want to do all they can to help a family in need and treat your parents with the love, respect, and dignity that they deserve.