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all4mom 10-04-2012 02:09 PM

Caregiver Woes
Short of installing a "nanny cam," and I'm about to do that, how can one be sure your loved one is getting good care while with hired caregivers? We've been through the private ones (unreliable, show up or don't, a couple lied, and one stole), then went with agencies where they're at least bonded, screened, and insured. I instinctively trust the one on weekends but, unfortunately, she's only very part-time (also works a full-time job and attends nursing school); the M-F girl who stays with Mom while I work has, so far, kept her alive (she's still kicking when I get back), not dropped her (she requires assists from bed to potty to chair, etc.), kept her clean and infection-free (she's a CNA who "bed-bathes" Mom), and I figure I'm ahead of the game there. But little things bother me, and I feel she's giving just the bare physical care and that's not good enough. She speaks in a loud "Valley Girl" accent (is in her 20s), which I find irritating and I think Mom does, too; calls Mom "honey" (wish I'd nipped that in the bud; seems too late now); I sometimes find the guest bed rumpled, like someone's napped in it (not Mom, who does sleep much of the day, but in her OWN bed); I know she steps outside for smokes (didn't know when she was hired, but apparently the agency allows this), etc. I sometimes come home and notice later that Mom's hair doesn't look brushed or face washed, but I can't be sure. Any time I've confronted the girl, she of course defends herself, and Mom doesn't remember (!). I ask Mom if she likes her or wants me to get someone else, and she replies, "She's okay." Whereas when I ask about the other one, she replies, "I like her; she's nice!" However, we've been through about a dozen already, and I firmly believe that anyone else will only be worse, LOL. At least this one has provided adequate care, apparently. Should I risk a search or make do?

TC08 10-04-2012 09:28 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
Hey All -

Sorry for what you're going through :(. I say follow your gut. I know that's easy for me to say, but if you feel uncomfortable about this caregiver, there's probably a reason. I like the "nanny cam' idea :):). Don't know if it's legal, but I like the idea :cool:

Gabriel 10-04-2012 09:35 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
Put up the nanny cam and see what you find. Speculation is not good enough. Nobody will do it like you do... but there are expectations that should be met. We can be too picky but then again our gut feeling may be trying to tell us something. If possible pop in at lunch time and see what is going on. Turn on the Nanny cam and see what is going on when yo uare not there. She may be doing ok... just as Mom said. Or you might need to start the search again. Only evidence will tell you....

Love, deb

ninamarc 10-04-2012 10:27 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes

It is possible you didn't get the right caregivers. Well, caregivers all have problems. Even the best caregiver we had has her own issues but she was good enough for my late FIL.
At least you need to tell the agency that you don't want smoking and young girl... In my experience, young girls in the early 20s are not mature enough to do this kind of work. They sometimes would ignore the bad sign like if your Mom is very sick and they would not know what to do (they may not call 911 early enough.) That was what happened to my late FIL. These 2 girls (somehow the agency allowed 2 - 1 was enough!) failed to be alert when my late FIL was sick with overdose of caumadin, the blood thinner in 2007. The older caregiver came in and saved him.
In the beginning, we tried to save money and hired "any" young nanny but it is not a good idea because dementia is serious.
An experienced older person is better. If this agency cannot find better caregivers, you may want to try some bigger co. with better reputations. (It may be more pricy.)

It is true the caregivers or NH or any other hired help cannot do the same like families. First of all, they don't know the person like the family do and they are objective and have their own style - not your style. I could not make the caregiver cook it my way, but she cooked it her way, for example. Sure we can tell her what kind of food we like or that my late FIL didn't want coke but since it is her caregiving, she got her own style.
The thing is you are not 2 persons so you have to hire someone. You have to be practical and lower some expectation for the good caregivers. But it doesn't mean they can do bad stuff to your Mom. The nanny cam is a good idea. Or you can call from work from time to time. The reality is we all need help. It is important to co-ordinate with the good help. Fire the bad help. If she refuses to call your Mom Mrs. and continues to talk funny after your correction, you may need to find someone who is more mature or experienced/professional.


all4mom 10-05-2012 02:52 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
And then there's this: today the "questionable" caregiver was off (a planned absence), and they sent a sub; one they thought would be even better, as she's an LPN with 30 years' experience. Well, I got a call in the middle of the afternoon, and it was this much-lauded caregiver with not a clue how to handle Mom, who was quite hysterical. If nothing else, at least she's USED to this other girl... So maybe she's right; she's "okay."

Or the lesser of two evils, anyway!

"continues to talk funny" Honestly, I don't think young girls today can talk any other way; does anyone know what I'm talking about? That kind of strangled, "little girl" voice that lilts up at the end of sentences? Like they're questions? It is so annoying, yet I hear it everywhere! The Valley Girl Voice.

Maybe it doesn't Mom as much as it bothers me...

ninamarc 10-05-2012 03:01 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
You can never win! Caregivers are hard to get! The other principle is the patient has to get used to the new caregiver so she needs some time... The first time is bound to be problemetic as the new one is not used to it and Mom is not used to her...

It is hard! That is just the girl's voice and the way she talks. You may not like the way she is so you can feel free to let her go if you think it justifies... It is up to you. Not that all young girls are not good but they are young and may not focus on the old person totally since they have their hangups... Also the 2 girls we had were not CNAs at all. In the end, the experienced ones are still better but your Mom also needs to get used to the new person first.

Good luck,

all4mom 10-05-2012 03:06 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
My mother is such a problem case! But she's also so cute at times. I told her to take this pill (Ativan) to help her calm down; she asked me if I was going to take one, too.


And she calls her hearing aids "hearings"; love that.

But, man; she's a handful!

Gabriel 10-05-2012 03:11 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
So many of them are! They can be sweet, cute, and amusing... just before they turn you world upside down and grate on your last nerve :) Love the ativan story!

Love, deb

all4mom 10-05-2012 03:17 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
Another time, my brother and I were talking to her (it irritates her when we BOTH talk), and she wasn't replying, so I asked if she could hear us. She said, "Yes; I can hear you both too BAD." hahaha

all4mom 10-05-2012 03:33 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
This caregiver seems to be the "too nice" type who never gets anywhere with my mother. You can't be tentative or hesitant; my mother can smell fear a mile away, LOL. The trick is getting someone "strong," but still kind and attentive... It ain't easy.

Gabriel 10-05-2012 04:49 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
"i can hear you both too bad".... what a telling statement. When you lost the ability to focus you can not tune in one sound and ignore others. All sounds come in without alteration by our brain... and can be completely and totally overwhelming to somebody that has trouble trying to decipher what one person is saying in a quiet room. I have seen it over and over at the care facility. One in particular, I can carry on a conversation with her in the quiet of her room but she refuses to respond at all in the noisy commons area. I see her eyes darting from sound to sound rather than being focused on where one sound is coming from. It's like trying to pick out that 2nd french horn in a full orchestra with headphones and an untrained ear :)

I do understand the balance between firmness and kindness coupled with knowing how to respond to dementia patients. That takes experience and training. A few have an innate ability but they are very rare. Sometimes it take conversation with the care giver to let her know exactly what you want. Each patient responds to different methods. My Mom will buck up and resist if the caregiver is domineering with her... but you can sweet talk her into just about anything. Maybe this gal, since she is ok with Mom, might be worth working with for a while.

Love, deb

aras 10-06-2012 05:03 AM

Re: Caregiver Woes
Just a couple of days ago, My mom's two sisters and brother-inlaw came to visit. My mom's older sister who is very frail at 93 years old, sat next to mom's bed and held her hand. It was so sweet. They had not been together for quite some time. My mom who will be 92 this month, has vascular dementia, but says some very funny things. When her visitors were getting ready to leave, her older sister siad " I want you to know I love You very much" to which my mom replied, "whatever." We all cracked up over that. Mom who was a supervisor in a department store for 22 years, tried to fire one of the nurses. She said "I am going to have to let you go". The nurse said you mean you are firing me and mom said "yes, I am afraid so." As sad as the situation is, we still laugh every day.


ninamarc 10-06-2012 09:37 AM

Re: Caregiver Woes
Back in 2009, we decided to hire some male caregiver to help my late FIL out and stay overnight to watch him. The first day the man walked toward the house, my late FIL sensed it and right away he was so mad at it. He was mad because he thought he was not that sick and why need a man to take care of him? He just wanted lady caregivers whom he can chase after. No male as it hurt his ego! He was so mad and argued with my husband outside (they all happened to be outside at the front in the day) and inside.
However, one trick you should know is, my late FIL was afraid that we abandonned him or got mad at him forever as well. He was worried that my husband would not like him anymore. So he changed his mind and kissed my husband's arm to make it up. He still thought he needed no guys but he was willing to back out for peace. This always played out over the whole journey. He got mad and yet he wanted your attention so he backed down.
It took him one month to get used to this guy and later on he grew to like him and he was like a good friend to this male caregiver.

The funny thing is the demented person still wants your care so he would not get mad for too long. Even after he wanted to hit this lady caregiver, he went back to her afterwards to ask for peace. No he didn't admit he was wrong. He just wanted peace and wanted people to continue to care for him. Don't be afraid if they get mad. It will pass. It works especially if she or he thinks there is no one else. If there is a choice, she may throw you out. In general, they are like small kids and want people to care for them.


robi27 10-09-2012 09:59 PM

Re: Caregiver Woes
I read the whole thread. The "I can hear you both too bad" comment made me laugh out loud! Anyway, the valley girl mentioned in the original post sounds okay to me. Your mom's not complaining about her, so why really risk replacing her with something that could turn out to be much worse? At least it's only her voice that you find annoying. lol I like the nanny cam idea, though, because that could give you some peace of mind after seeing that she's doing what she's supposed to be doing. Although, like someone else has expressed, I'm not sure if it's legal.

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