When I began hiring paid caregivers for Mom, I had no idea what a challenge it would be. The first person we worked with, I was not pleased by but I was hesitant to get rid of her. When Mom started telling me that the caregiver was stealing from me, I decided that she simply had to go.
This was not because I believed that the caregiver was stealing, but my take was that the relationship between Mom and the caregiver was completely broken down in a way that was not helpful to anyone. So we moved on to number two. In the meantime, I had been asking for help with laundry and arguing about whose laundry the caregiver would do. Apparently perfect segregation of laundry was required which I explained to them with a woman with her state of dementia, meant no laundry at all. Trying to fight the battle to separate her laundry from the rest of the household was a no go for me and Mom.
I switched caregiving services with the agreement from the new place that household laundry was fine.
And then we starting going through caregivers. What I find fascinating is that I have to assume that Mom is relatively easy as folks come. We have no issues with incontinence or negative type behaviors. Mom is polite to a fault, even now. All her critiques are made in whispers to me in the other room while she puts on a smiling face. (It has taught me something about the other side of what I experienced in her parenting.)
And yet, easy as she is, some of them don’t make an effort to connect to her. Some don’t seem to like to help around the house and prefer to watch television. Many of them seem comfortable leaving her alone for hours on end. Some just are not a good personality fit which is fair enough. And so they go, one after the next. And then we come to today, when I discovered that the caregiver had not bothered to check that the shower was turned off after Mom’s shower. Seriously?! I suppose I should be glad that I never came home to a burner left on all day…
A colleague who has been on the caregiving treadmill for a while told me that in her experience it takes perhaps three tries to find the right fit. We are long beyond that now! It’s been a strange adjustment to all this hiring and firing. But I have become more confident that Mom deserves a reasonable level of treatment for the money and that I am not willing to accept less than that.
Anyone out there have a tough time finding a good caregiver? Tips welcome!
September 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm
I can’t imagine I would be satisfied with anyone’s caregiving but my own, and that the is the crux of a lot of my issues. I sympathize with you because I don’t imagine I would ever find the ideal caregiver. Maybe grudgingly. That doesn’t mean a good fit for a caregiver isn’t’ out there . I am blessed that I have a husband, who doesn’t live with us, supporting me the best that he can so I can take care of mom.
September 23, 2014 at 12:40 am
I don’t know if you are using an agency to find help. Based on my own experience with mental health respite, you may be paying top dollar for a particular agency while the employees hired to provide care are earning minimum wage and required to pay their own transportation and other costs (which doesn’t always attract the most qualified caregivers). You may want to explore other agencies and discuss their hiring practices as well as training/continuing education programs.
September 23, 2014 at 5:05 am
I’ve only just started with a paid caregiver for my mom, 2 hours a day, 3 days a week. We are using the agency that is connected with my mom’s adult day care, which is part of a pilot program in Palm Beach County that provides “all inclusive care for the elderly”. We ‘ve been tremendously impressed with all their staff, from the medical personnel, to social workers, nutritionist, and cnas in the center.So far the same seems to be true for the cna they sent to the house (who keeps reminding me she is here to help us too, not just my mom!) Perhaps there’s a similar program in your area, who can recommend an agency?
September 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm
Two things about this situation sadden me: 1) You and your mother deserve respectful, professional, trustworthy care and you’re not receiving it; 2) your situation is just one of countless others who are going through the same struggles. The need for caregiving will only grow as Baby Boomers age and require attention. We can not count on there being a cure for Alzheimer’s; it will be with us for quite some time – as it already has been. Any business that sets up an agency to provide home care needs to be held to strict standards – no less strict than that of a medical professional in a hospital. It’s shameful that you can’t get the peace of mind you deserve for the price you’ll be required to pay.
September 24, 2014 at 5:52 am
We have a wonderful agency that was on our first attempt as well – MIL has (to our major surprise) actually taken to them (they did the charm offensive on her by making a fuss over her cat) and always alert us to any issues straight away.
I would have expected this kind of thing from state provided carers, but not agency ones!!
September 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm
This is always difficult. I have been very fortunate lately, but there was a time with a few of my caregivees, that I had to get rid of uncaring, unscrupulous people. It’s one of the hardest parts of the journey because you want to divide yourself into two or three people who can do all the work you need done. The good ones are out there, it’s like finding a good therapist you just have to keep trying. Prayers for all of you.
October 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm
So, after a week, I am pleased to report that the replacement caregiver is working out wonderfully! She successfully convinced Mom to take a shower two days in a row which is a serious accomplishment. So things are looking up on this front.