Mom wants to have a "talk" with all of the caregivers.

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She told me this morning (in front of the one she wants to get rid of) that we all need to talk and decide who is going to do what. I asked her what she meant but she was being vague. I asked if she wanted all three caregivers there at the same time and she said "Why can't we just have a conference call"? I told her that won't work and whatever needs to be said needs to be in person...face to face. I found out last night that the caregiver she wants to get rid of was asked to water the plants outside but we have had enough rain that they didn't need it so caregiver said "No.". Well, that ticked off Mom and she said "do it anyway" and caregiver again said "No".

Mom believes that the caregivers are there to cater to her every whim, whether it be to take her to Wal-Mart, the library, etc whenever she wants and weather be dam%$d. She wants what she wants when she wants it, and if she doesn't get her way, she pouts. Complains when the caregivers hover, but then complains when they aren't paying her attention. I am trying to decipher what is truly going on, and I wish I could just drop in during the day to see how things are, but I work 30 minutes from her house and just can't do that. I have thought of getting a hidden camera in the house, or a recording device that only comes on when people are talking.

Mom's needs come before her wants. She has asked the afternoon caregiver to make another cake, pie, and brownies (all on the same day) but Mom doesn't eat it all and so it gets thrown away. I can't get her to understand, and I know I am dealing with a parent who is showing signs of dementia so it is a losing battle, that she doesn't need all that food. You tell her no and she gets all mad.

I have asked her what her problem with Caregiver #1 is and she says "she sits on her a$$ all day". It may be necessary to make a "chore list" of things that need to be done on a daily basis and go from there.

I understand that since Daddy died Mom has declined and that she is slowly slipping away. They were married for 53 years!

I am one of those people who wants to make everyone happy, but I have come to realize that is impossible. I am trying very hard to make sure that I take time for myself and need to make sure that Mom is cared for, but she may not get what she wants all the time.

This caregiving sucks sometimes...


No on the meeting, she just wants an audience for her Classic Drama Theatre. Since she is so attention seeking, she might flourish at Assisted Living, I know our family Drama Queen loves to seek attention from staff and other residents. She also likes to complain to us about everyone there, insisting that they all have dementia while she is just fine. She boosts her own ego that way.
From another recent post I've learned that your mother is wheelchair bound and needs 24/7 care, and that she needs assistance with most tasks.

In addition to dementia, she may be experiencing the frustration that comes with being dependent on people, and may be overly concerned if one isn't performing to her standards. Try to put yourself in her place and imagine what it would be like to be completely reliant on others - imagine a whole day of that and it might be easier to understand her perspective.

I imagine it would be so completely frustrating to be so dependent, and if someone isn't providing the care expected, that complicates the issue.

The issue on watering the plants seems to me to be such an issue. Sometimes it's easier to go with the flow - the caregiver can just water the plants a little bit until your mother isn't able to see what's going on.

If in fact someone isn't working, then address that issue, and there definitely should be lists of who does what.

From a time and logistical standpoint, I don't see why a conference call couldn't work. It would at least save someone from being embarrassed. However, if anyone is to be discharged, I think common courtesy is that it be done in person.
I wondered about the role of caregivers in the house. It sounds like they are cooks, housekeepers, personal care attendants, and yard-women. It sounds like a list of duties that they have to do would be in order. To tell the truth, I would not expect a caregiver to do things like outdoor work or serious housekeeping unless they were seriously well paid.

It sounds to me like the caregivers are in a damned if I do, damned if I don't position. I don't think anything the targeted caregiver could do would be right. Would it be possible for you to take on the bad guy role with your mother and tell her if the caregiver is doing nothing wrong? I have a feeling that even if you were to discharge the caregiver that you would just have the same problem in the future. If the caregiver is doing a good job, it would be better for everyone if she stayed. I feel sorry for the caregiver if she is doing the best she can.
Pam, she doesn't qualify for Assisted Living.
GardenArtist, I agree with you and that is must be frustrating to be dependent on someone for everything. She has been dependent and wheelchair bound since she broke her leg (for the second time) in late 2005. This isn't a new behavior, and either Daddy just dealt with it and didn't let us know the extent of her behavior (which I believe he did - he didn't want us to know how bad it had gotten and he took his vows extremely seriously) or she has just gotten worse in the last few months. I think it is a combination of both. I also agree that watering the plants could have been done and saved some tension. The caregivers have cell phones and I can't see it happening; plus Mom doesn't talk on the phone well...with her Parkinson's if she starts shaking you cannot understand her. I want it done in person and I also think that if we had them all together at the same time, we couldn't be accused of "playing favorites" and they would all get the same "talk".

Jessie, the caregivers do it all. We have someone come and cut the grass so other than watering her flowers, they don't do anything outside. I don't ask for serious housekeeping other than picking up and vacuuming 2-3 times a week. The house stays clean for the most part. You are correct that the caregivers are in a damned if I do, damned if I don't position. And you are also correct that we may have the same issue in the future once the "new" wears off and they decide to tell her no. I am sure that the caregiver that has been with Mom the longest is burned out and she has agreed to take a week off, with pay, to give her a break. She said she doesn't need it, but I know I do! Mom will complain at the drop of a hat about everyone and everything lately. She has told the caregivers that I am mean to her when I all I did was tell her no. You have to take what Mom says with a grain of salt. As long as her needs are met, which they are, I don't see an issue other than Mom isn't happy and thinks people are just lining up to take care of her. No they aren't!
What is the harm in doing what she wants? As someone with MS, I understand the need for autonomy. It is bad enough to be in a wheelchair, and helpless, but then pay for a service that they don't do as asked must be galling. If she is paying for the help, they should do as she asks. I had help that did what I wanted, not Dad. I had to replace her, as she infuriated him. Now he is much happier and listens to the caregiver that knows he is the boss.
Kathy1, but what if what she wants is not feasible nor safe for her? One of her issues is that she wants to go out every day, and that isn't going to happen. It is difficult to get her into and out of the car with her wheelchair and it wears her out and she is like a kid in the candy store at Wal-Mart. She wants to look at
darn it...She wants to look at EVERYTHING and wants items she doesn't need. That is why I take someone else with me when I take her to the grocery store.
SG, thanks for the explanation. I understand the situation better, especially the issue about not having a conference call. Sometimes I think people do segue into their new role of having people take care of them as an alternative to the independence they've lost, and refocus on maximizing that new role.

Sounds like you have a good assessment of the situation.

One thing about caregiving - there's always something new. Just when you think you've got all the bases covered, something else happens.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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