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We have gone through almost a dozen caregivers in the past two years. We have interviewed probably 100 in total, and each one of the person's we have chosen has interviewed well, with all background checks, etc, coming back with flying colors. They tell the story of commitment and long term desires to help. Yet, with each and every one, within a couple of weeks (and in two cases a single day!), they jump ship. I just don't understand the logic of accepting the assignment, after a complete understanding of what the daily routines, hours, etc, would be, and then telling us that it just isn't what they thought it would be. Or, they don't do light housework (even though discussed in the interviews). Or, they become a 'no show', and we are left empty handed. Just today, we are experiencing the ultimate (in my mind anyway), as this person actually moved in to mom's house, as she commited to the "live-in" assignment. After just one week, she sent a text message late in the evening stating that she cannot deal with her own emotional issues . . . and she has not been seen or heard from since. Mom is at our house, and the caregiver left all of her personal belongings that she had brought to mom's house. Are there really that many unreliable caregivers out there? Our interview process is pretty extensive and detailed so there really cannot be a reason for anyone to say that they just didn't understand the job requirements. Not that mom is even all that 'difficult'. She isn't debilitated in any way. She had dementia and needs someone to watch out for her, and take her places since she cannot drive.

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It's tough to find a caregiver on your own, as you've seen. Going through an agency can help, in that they have backup people if someone doesn't show up. Since you want a live-in person, however, you may have to continue doing what you are doing. Ask friends and others you trust for recommendations.
You'll find a lot of people (well, let's say you already have seen this) who think this would be a good "gig", but they aren't right for the job. So few people are really good with aging elders, which is sad. That's one reason so many people go to assisted living. At least they have people around. I wish you luck in your search. Maybe others on the forum will have some tips.
Carol
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I am so sorry to hear of the difficulities you have had in getting a reliable caregiver.... I am a paid caregiver and my jobs are usually many years with the same family.... but from seeing some of the others that have come in to fill in, or give me a break... what I see is, they think it is an easy job... not so if you are dedicated to your elder.... only recently the new girl hired, came in and told my charge she would have someone else fill in for her on Fr. evenings and Sat.morning.... no discussion with my charge, just took it upon herself to make this change... of course this is unacceptable to my charge.... so I am back to working all the extra hours until they can find someone else to fill in.... her husband has Alz and it is very important to keep him on his schedule and not bring too many strangers in the house....
Here are some suggestions to possibly weed out non preformers.. do THEY ask questions, like..... about meds, diet, fall risks, how long the person has had Alz., is your mom present when you interview, or do you have them meet her? How are they around her... do they smile when talking to her, do they touch her with genlteness, do they talk to her like she is a person, not just someone with AlZ, do they try to have a conversation with her, and how does that move forward? These are some of the things I would look for in the future.... as Carol said, not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver....this person must be vigilant, quick to pick up when assitance is needed.... for instance... I may be in the kitchen fixing lunch and hear M talking to S... I stop what I am doing and go see if S needs assistance to the bathroom, is needing to be redirected because he is rearraging the pictures again... ect...
I don't know if it is possible for you to be present for a day or two or even three to see how this person is doing with your mom and the duties you have asked of them...you will pick up if this person is performing for you, or really involved with your mom....
I am sorry this has been so difficult for you.. but as Carol suggested, possibly you will have to go thru an agency... wish I could be there for the interview, to give you a thumbs up or down.... I know ,I have been with my present family for over a year, and do not want someone coming behind me that will not give the proper care...
Also, you may ask questions in regard to what they would do in certain circumstances... such as, if Mom is being difficult, how to you help settle her down, or if Mom is reluctant to take a shower, how do you go about getting her to shower, or if Mom is not wanting to eat, what would you do.... make a list of questions..... no harm in that... if this person does not have quick and solid answers, thank them for their time... and let them go.
If you have any more questions, please ask.. There are other paid caregiver on this sight that will help by giving you suggestions also.... Some of us do really love our jobs,and the people we take care of... so my prayers are with you to find someone to help out with you Mom that is loving, compassionate and honest.... hugs to you...
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I was a caregiver before I got sick. I stuck with it under horrible conditions. So not all of us are unreliable. With due respect, you might want to ask yourself, is my parent the real problem? Is the job situation really the problem. If all the workers are leaving then it can't be just them. Perhaps your parent is yelling etc when you are not there. Maybe they feel unsafe. Also the pay for the amt of work they have to do might be the problem. If all of them are leaving, then do some soul searching. I say this with respect. You after all, asked.
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NewportOC, have you looked into Adult Day Health Programs for your MIL? I think that these are ideal for early-stage dementia and other kinds of impairments at that level.

Maybe instead of bringing someone in, you could send MIL out ... to interact with others and to have a different kind of stimulation. I used day programs for my husband for about 4 years. (His dementia is a little beyond that now.) We experienced 3 different programs, and I can tell you that not all programs are created equal. And, yes, there tends to be a fair amount of macaroni art in all of them. Sorry, Hubby does not do macaroni art, so the best program for him was the one that did not insist all participants do everything together. That program did not allow any tv watching, but did sometimes have video programs, such as nature programs or a participant's travel pictures.

While we were using the best program (3 years) here are the things I thought were worthwhile:
Having another adult comment on "what a fun new shirt you got on vacation!". We all can use a little attention!
The chapter-a-day program. My husband loves being read to.
Travel programs, highlighting a recent or past vacation a participant took. This might be a few personal photographs and a short film obtained by the activities director about the Grand Canyon or a local attraction.
Show-and-tell about participant's hobbies, etc. Hubby loved a talk about bee-keeping. The former bee-keeper was not able to do much of the presentation himself, but the activities director was great at building a program around him.
Getting a helium balloon to bring home on his birthdays and program anniversaries. It is nice to be celebrated a little by others!
Occasional professional entertainment. Hubby hated sing-alongs, but liked some of the other programs.
Occasional field trips.
Other activities such as cooking and card-playing and jig-saw puzzles were available but not of interest to Hubby.
Personally, I cannot say enough about the value of adult day programs. A good one is extremely worth finding, in my opinion. And better, while it is feasible, than only stay-at-home support.

Also, regular Senior Centers are worth looking into for very early stage dementia patients. Unfortunately we live in a "young" community and the nearest Senior Center for us is at the other end of the county. But Hubby did enjoy their book club, where members all read the same book and had a discussion once a month. And through the center he joined a senior bowling league which became the highlight of his week. We also went on a few outings, such as a bus to a local dinner-theater matinee. (I escorted both my mom and Hubby. Nice to not have to drive or deal with the arrangements. Just show up, get on the bus, have a nice lunch, and see a funny play.)

Another thought I have is to break out the various help you need and hire "specialists." I have a homemaker who does regular cleaning and changes the bedding each week. She is from an agency specializing in serving people with handicaps and she relates well with Hubby, but that is incidental. Her main focus is on cleaning. Now that he can no longer participate in adult day programs, we have a personal care attendant coming in. Her focus is strictly on helping Hubby. She likes to keep busy and she does laundry and light housekeeping when time is available, but mainly she helps him do daily exercises, sees that he takes his pills, helps him bathe, and keeps him company while I work from home. She is also from an agency. She has 12 years experience but Hubby is her first dementia client. I was a little worried, but it is working out fine. I also try to arrange for them to go on brief outings together, such as to the science museum and the local botanical conservatory. His health hasn't been up to a lot of this, but the things they have done have been satisfactory.

Perhaps instead of trying to find one person who can do everything to your satisfaction you'd have more success finding a few people who each focus on certain duties.

In the business world, if a given job defeats several good workers, the suspicion is that there is something wrong with the way the job is set up, rather than with the workers chosen for it. I have no idea if that applies in this situation, but it might be worth a hard look. Are there ways that this job could be broken up or redefined to still meet objectives but increase the chances of success?

NewportOC, bless you for your hard work in trying to ensure the best quality of life you can for your mother. She is extremely lucky to have you on her side. I wish you great success in the frustrating job of hiring/arranging appropriate help.
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Thank you to JeanneGibbs and to TevinColorado. Good suggestions Jeanne, I currently take her to a couple of the local Senior Centers regularly, and to exercise classes 5 days a week. It gives me at least a couple hours 'off' during the day. Unfortunately, the Senior Centers will not keep her all day, and she WILL wander off if not managed. The staff at 24Hour Fitness all know her, and they are so incredibly good to watch her if class lets out a couple minutes early. Someone will actually stay by her side until they see me pull up to the door. BUT, I do have a full time job and have to work too. . . I cannot spend my entire day doing this. When we don't have a caregiver, I am screwed. . .
To Tev, just to clarify, we are paying above the local average for services. We specifically did this so we could get the better people. And, although mom is not 'abusive' to anyone, she does have the obvious issues and frustrations that are encountered with dementia. She still wants her independence and does not understand why we require "this person" come to the house and spend time with her. And, my observations of 'going through a lot of caregivers' comes not only from my experience, but from others within my support group. They all said 'get used to it', as even one member went through 38 caregivers in 5 years, with her own mother. The reasons given by my caregivers for leaving were all issues that had been discussed in the interviews, which is what frustrated me the most. "Can you do light housekeeping?" YES, ok so why are you leaving me and saying that you don't want to do light housekeeping? . . . Are you currently seeking other employment? NO, Ok, so why did you work for me one day, and then tell me you accepted another job that you had applied for? . . . "Do you have experience with dementia patients? YES, Ok, so why are you now saying you didn't know she had dementia?. . . We even had one woman who, after accepting the position as a live in, say that her husband and kids will be so excited that she got a job. . . ?
We have always been very up front and clear in our job postings, and very extensive with scenarios and questions in our interviews. I think a lot of people are desparately out of work, and that hurts the 'real' caregiving experts like yourselves.
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Again , Newport, I am so sorry this has been so difficult for you and persons in your support group... and sorry you are so frustrated, just as I would be when they up and leave for the very reasons you spoke of.... when you ask them if they have worked with dementia patients, do you get them to tell you HOW they do that.? I know it's hard for you to convey here what you have to go thru, the questions you ask.... ect... Just am frustrated for you....either these people are very good actors or there are red flags that are being missed.... not saying you aren't paying attention... the lady I have filling in for me right now, started seeing red flags the second day....And M is not the easest person to work for... she has pre-lukemia, and her husband has Alz.....it has taken her a year to get used to me being in her home, and we have even butted heads a few times... and I have thought about quitting, but just could not leave them in a bind... I do not think I am the only one to provide care for them, just my work ethic and integrity was more important... don't mean to be blowing my own horn here, it's just who I am... possibly you are too nice during the inteview.... I knew right away M was going to be a handful, but I primarly work with Alz so was very interested in working with her husband.... it finally took me setting down with her one day, setting some boundries, letting her know how much I cared for both of them.... and things have finally smoothed out.... I do not want either one of them in the NH, not saying it won't happen, but they have the money to do it this way for quite awhile longer... so don't know if the new girl is going to work out or not... daughter did say I could set in on the next time they had to interveiw someone... told her I'd pass on that.... but I can't help but wonder how different the process would be with another paid caregiver setting in....there are questions I would ask that they would not.... I figure might as well find out what they are about in the interview as opposed to being left stranded....
I am going to do extra prayers for the right person to come into ya'll's life....I know I am not powerful enough to make that happen, but please know I do understand, and hope you get some one whom you trust, is reliable, and is willing to work... I certainly am not in this for the money...... would love to get a raise, but won't ask for one.... would love for it to be her idea.... just something to let me know she appreciates me... she says she does, and I believe her. but I do ALOT for the money I make.... prayers for you and your family... and give mom a hug from me and tell her it's from "one of those people".....
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Thank you Carol and Ladee for your support and suggestions. And thank you for realizing I was referring to "hired" caregivers, not "all" caregivers, since I consider myself to be a caregiver myself, having managed mom for almost two years in our home, while the hired caregivers have come and gone.
Your suggestions are very helpful as additions to our already extensive interview process. The one piece of the larger dementia puzzle that I have yet to grasp, is regarding the following:
There appears to be, in my own observations, experiencing our caregivers, and in discussing with others in my support group, a sector missing for the individuals and families caring for a person with "early onset" dementia. As I stated originally, mom (actually mother in law), is 80 years young, she is in extremely great physical condition (we take her to exercise class every day), she has absolutely no "real" physical disabilities (her back hurts when she doesn't want to do something), and she pretty much can put her breakfast and lunch together with a little supervision, and needs no bathroom assistance. But, she cannot drive, and is still subject to the obvious memory and anger/frustration issues associated with dementia. She truly believes that she is perfectly fine and does not understand why we keep bringing these people into our home, and why she cannot go back to her own home alone. The caregivers we have encountered seem to be seeking clients that are debilitated or immobile, regardless of how detailed the ad or the interviews are. They don't have the gumption to take her out and actually DO things. To make her think and interact. They all want to sit in front of the television. . . Which is what I hate most in our home. Literally, on a national search, I find no programs or facilities that cater to the "day care" of those that are actually able to engage in activities more stimulating than macaroni art or just watching tv. She is at least 3-5 years away from that. In the area in which I live, the number of families that could benefit from a daycare format for the early onset dementia loved ones would be pretty significant. Has anyone else encountered a similar frustration?
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I agree with Carol about hiring an accredited and licensed agency - they can help you, as the family caregiver - with the interview and background check process and also have back ups if a "hired" caregiver is unable to come to work. Good luck!
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I would say that it is just simply tough for a single individual to find a care giver on your own but i think that u might get a care taker by consulting with a good agency..
But i also think if certain type of facilities are available to u at your door steps then no one would go to the independent living centers or the assisted living centers .....
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I would say that it is just simply tough for a single individual to find a care giver on your own but i think that u might get a care taker by consulting with a good agency..

But i also think if certain type of facilities are available to u at your door steps then no one would go to the independent living centers or the assisted living centers .....
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