Ruth1957 Posted December 2013

Am I a caregiver or a housekeeper?

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I'm sort of whining here, but I would like family input on my dilemma. I've been providing care for "Don and Ella" for several months now. Don has Vascular Dementia, and has recently suffered a full stroke and multiple mini-strokes. Ella has had a hip replacement and is recovering VERY slowly. Both are about 84. She's fiercely independent and proud. He is gentle, quiet, and a sweetheart. Both seem to love and appreciate me very much. Here's the thing; I am a CARE GIVER. From the first day, she had me doing a lot of housework, which I chalked up to her recent surgery. I work about 4 hours, twice a week. I've been doing vacuuming, dusting, floor care, bathroom cleaning, as well as cooking meals and baking. Getting the work load done in 4 hours means I'm racing. Very little time, if any, is devoted to caring for Don - which is what I specialize in. WELL- Yesterday I arrived to THE NOTE. The daughters, evidently, had decided "it was time" to have this in writing. OH MY GOSH. Clean out the refrigerator and wipe down all shelves, each shift. Vacuum every room, dust every room, all window sills, every shift. Steam clean all hard floors every shift. And the list goes on. The only caregiving on the list was to take Don for a walk once a shift. Seriously. As I said; I love them. I can only imagine what sort of conversation took place that led to a type written note. I know that I am an above-average cleaner, and I also know that's not what I signed up for. They hired me based on a referral from another care giving client's daughter. Yesterday I had brought supplies for, and planned, an activity with Don to engage him and help with dexterity. No chance to do this, as I was Holly Housekeeper all day. OH - ironing. I get to iron the pillow cases, handkerchiefs, and all clothing items including her SWEAT clothes. No joke. So, the daily task list is an entire typewritten page. I go back Friday.

I want to say - I'm not a maid, but I don't want to disrespect that industry either.

GAH.

I go back Friday. Just want some input from families who hire caregivers.

Ruth

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StressedOut365 Mar 13, 2018
I am a caregiver, housekeeper, holiday and party cook, gardener, bookkeeper, deep cleaning the basement and garage just full of mouse ridden crap. Now she wants me to mow her yard, weed wack it, fertilize it, prune the bushes, mulch the entire outside of the house. And I deduct $50 a week to help her with her bills. All the while her grandson who is in his mid 20's lives here, doesn't work, doesn't contribute anything and sits in the basement playing video games 24 hours a day.
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KCol811 Oct 22, 2017
I am in the same situation plus prep for their gatherings on the weekends or whenever they decide to have guestsssss over. But even after i told my agency what was going on she just said well its just balance since i dont have to really take care of my patient. :(
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assandache7 Mar 2014
Oh this sad....They do not respect you or your profession...
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The daughter(s) seem clueless. Maybe you should take a week's vacation and dump the parents' care in their laps. They'd straighten out pretty darn quick!
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lsmiami Mar 2014
They see you as a maid. It is easier to tell yourself you have the luxury of daily maid service, than the need for daily caregiving. These folks are looking for a maid, so if housekeeping is not your career of choice, look for different clients
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Veronica91 Mar 2014
Ruth PS when you take another job make sure both you and the employer are clear on what your duties are and how long it takes to do certain tasks.
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Veronica91 Mar 2014
Ruth it is my understanding that a home care aide or private caregivers' primary duties are to care for their patient. that is personal care. preparing meals and snacks and patient's laundry including bedding and towells. What ever is used in the kitchen should be cleaned and put back where you found it and of course wipe stove and fridge if you spilt something, likewise messes on the floor. Also keep the patient's bathroom clean. vacuming and dusting the patient's own rooms is also reasonable.
Heavy housework should not be part of your job description definitely not steam cleaning floors, cleaning the fridge , doing windows and dusting wondow sills. i think it is OK to take the dog out or fetch mail and newspaper. Taking a patient for a walk is fine but you don't rush to get other cleaning done because you were out for 1/2 and hour. Taking patients to Dr appointments or shopping is fine if asked but that time is included in the hours you are hired for. If you prepare lunch that is time spent working and there should be a note left about the menu for the day and the ingredients. It's fine to pick up a deli chicken if requested and you are reimbursed.
You work four hours twice a week. that gives you enough time to get two people bathed and dressed. A meal prepared and eaten. beds changed and laundry put in the washer,a short walk and half an hour to sit with them read the paper play games or whatever. If there is a Dr appointment that is about it for the day, plus a quick meal as in soup and sandwiches. While you are baking however much the patients enjoy your work you are neglecting your patients that is unless cooking is part of their therapy. You say Ella is recovering from a hip replacement so you should be helping her with her exercises and walking her around the house. You should be devoting half an hour a day to that unless a PT also comes on those days. Don't eat any of your words. talk to the daughters about that list and explain what the duties of a caregiver are and just how long it takes to complete each task for the patient. They probably have no idea just what to expect from a caregiver so give them a little education. You are a paid employee not a volunteer
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goldfram46 Mar 2014
Hi, Ruth not changing the subject, but taking care of two patient, will you charge double the fee, or one price for the both.
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Ruth1957 Dec 2013
Well I'm here to eat a few of my words. First of all - wow - I really do love this couple. I showed up today with a deli chicken. I thought it would make lunch easier. I entered with a little trepidation, wondering what the climate would be. I'm convinced, now, that the "note" was pretty much 100% the girls' doing. Ella was thrilled to see me and so grateful for every little thing. I did some basic household chores (yeah, I steamed all the hard floors, which amused Don) but it was a light day. I can't help myself, I really care about these people. Don was lucid today, and even teased me. It was a good day. I'm going to hang with them - she is realizing that he is in need of a caregiver and that they know a good one. How funny.
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Veronica91 Dec 2013
Ruth you are already providing way beyond your caregiving responsibilities so be proud of that,
All the paid caregivers on this site provide far more involvement in their clients lives than simply going to the home and doing basic duties. One caregiver from any agency I met once we called her "Sally with rocks in her head") turned up in the middle of a crisis and just stood at the bedside with her gloves on waiting to give her client a bath which of course is what she was hired for. The patient was being cared for by a husband with advanced dementia and I believed he had allowed her to fall out of bed and bang her head but no one was talking. I think Sally would never have noticed if the patient had died, she would have still done her job.
You guys are all fantastic and truly love your charges
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