Need some encouraging words - home care.

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We have been using a senior care agency consistently for the past 2 years. I "think" they do their best to keep the schedule stable, but there are times when it just seems to blow up. I sympathize with the challenges of scheduling when people take time off, leave, whatever. How do I get past my seeking stability in helpers for my mom? At the moment, this agency - initials HI - is the lesser of the evils as I'm sure other agencies have the same issues. Any encouraging words, mental tricks to use? I feel bad and frustrated over a situation that I maybe just have to accept. Encouragement please! Thanks!


Turnover in these agencies can minimized when the clients say things like "please" "thank you" and "you did good" and "thanks for caring" and greeting them with a "how are you?" often.
i agree with Pam.. I never realized how unpleasant my FIL could be until I spent time with him the hospital, I finally lost it and told him a please and thank you went a long way. Thier CG for MIL quit the day he came home. For once I agreed with my SIL s opinion
Agree! I think it's just a combination of taking vacations, etc. Also from what I hear the agency monitors closely overtime hours - they don't want to pay it - so helpers who actually want to work more and fill in for others are often not allowed, unless the agency is desperate to fill open slots.
What exactly do you mean by "it just seems to blow up"? Do you mean there are times when no one is available to come or that the same people don't come at the same time every time?

If there are times when no one is available to come, maybe it is time for a different agency or for an assisted living.
I'm original poster - OK, what just happened now is one of my mom's regular caregivers is moving into the agency office, so her last day with my mom is Saturday. Or someone's car breaks down. Or someone goes on vacation. Or someone is sick. The latest is I just found out one of my mom's favorite caregivers is moving into the administration, so now she will be gone. Maybe the issue is more mine than my mom's. It just seems like constant change. Of course, they provide someone - they have to - but there seems to be no way to maintain stability or consistency. Don't know if anyone else has these issues. Maybe I just needed to vent.
Tornadojan- I went through a lot of the same things you are with the first agency I used. Initially we had someone who was great - she worked full time with my dad. Eventually we had to add more help and it was hard to get any consistency even though we offered a consistent schedule. The "office" tried to get our full time caregiver to take an administration position but lucky for us she refused. Why do they do that - take their best caregiver out of the field and into their office? Anyhow - we made it work, with me being there a lot, until my dad passed. My mom said she didn't want or need a caregiver so she was on her own for a bit - until it became clear mom did indeed need at least a part time caregiver. For over two years we had the worst time - people not showing up, clueless people, inexperienced people. My favorite situation was when no one showed up or cancelled last minute - yet we were charged for a full day if we didn't give 24hr notice. Second favorite was - not matter how many times I told them they must notify me if someone couldn't make their shift, it almost never happened. Mom had mom/wed/fri help so if no one showed up on Friday it meant mom went four days without help. Mom couldn't be counted on to tell me but would call when something went wrong and I would drop everything to go over snd fix the mess. Finally after a situation where mom has no help for over a week without me being contacted - I had enough and changed agencys. The new agency was 1000x better - more organized and more professional. My mom lived in a large mulit step retirement community and since this new agency had so many clients there, they had a full time "floater" who could step up in an emergency. We had the new agency for eight months without a single problem. But then my mother fell and eventually had to move to a NH. However, my mom likes the "new" caregiver so much we still have her one day a week as a "companion". She takes mom to routine dr appointments, hair dresser and sometimes just out - lunch and a drive, lunch followed by a mani/pedi back in moms room etc. So my only advice would be - keep looking, get referrals from friends and neighbors etc. sometimes it's like looking for the needle in a haystack but there are good, reliable, experienced caregivers for hire out there.
Thanks, Rainmom, for your thoughtful comments. I know this is all part of the industry and that they do their best - we have almost never been left with nobody. It is just hard when you bond with someone - or you see a schedule that looks like it is in place - and then it "blows up." I am quite hands on, so I know that part of the life lesson is for me to give up some control. It is just hard sometimes. Thanks again.
Tornadojan - it's not you or your family - the agencies are notorious for high turnover because, frankly, the pay isn't that great and many caregivers are in between jobs, desperately trying to pay their bills until they can find a stable job with either higher pay and/or benefits. Many agencies don't pay medical and retirement benefits to their caregivers. Also, many agency caregivers work at multiple agencies for simply filling-up their schedule and will go to the highest dollar-paying agency. It's nothing personal. It's just the fact of an agency caregiver putting food on the table for her and the family. Are you paying the agency more than $9.50/hr? Where we live the direct pay to the agency caregiver runs 8.75 to 9.50/hr - but agency charges me $22 - 25/hr. If you want consistency in a caregiver, you may need to take matters in your own hands and to do some searching on your own. depending where you live, you may find a caregiver who's a fit for your family situation and is consistent. I found my mother's relief caregiver here and I pay her directly at $15/hr - she's excellent. But you may have to interview and try-out multiple caregivers until you find the appropriate one. It took me trying out just two caregivers before the third one, the one I have now, worked out for us. She's now been with us for one year.
Tornado -- it sounds like you need to shop around a little. I feel very fortunate right now that Mom likes the caregiver from the agency we are using. It helps that I have a personal tie to the owner from years ago, so I can call or email her directly if I think there is an issue she should know about. The only downside for us is that the caregiver only wants to work part-time, so I get 16 hours a week help. The upside is that she's great and comes up with all these wonderful ideas for Mom, like going to museums, checking out the local senior centers etc. She even texted me the other day on her "off" day to ask how mom and I were enjoying our outing.
In the back of my mind, I'm thinking that I really need to get mom comfortable with at least one other caregiver, because at some point this one will take a vacation or have sick kids etc.
I also feel your pain on the planning and scheduling. I am VERY MUCH a planner and live by a schedule, and I have difficulty coping when things fall apart. I am learning that I am much more flexible then I ever knew, and also more patient (most days anyway)
Thanks for the encouraging words! I sympathize with the agency as they have to fill all of the hours in the week minus the 29 hours that I am at my mom's. That's a lot of hours! I think the helpers get paid around $10/hour. I do my best to make the work situation as pleasant for them as possible, leave little treats, express appreciation, etc. It is what it is. There's no way, though, that I feel I could hire on my own. I simply cannot handle anymore paperwork than what I am doing, and I absolutely need the reliability/coverage, especially when I travel out of state. Thanks, everyone!

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