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...and here's the BUT (feel free to throw stones)


My caregiver (Bless her heart... you know what that means) is driving me bananas and I know the majority of it is my normal, super picky, codependent stuff... BUT


She cooks these disgustingly greasy, over-seasoned-southern meals with ingredients that I CAN'T eat and things I would prefer Dad NOT to eat. We've already had two nights of vomiting and diarrhea with Dad after eating her "I Do Declare" cuisine. Seriously, must we put a pound of butter, a ton of salt and a "hock" of some disgusting animal in EVERYTHING?!?!


I've tried to be diplomatic (not my strong suit) and let her know that we need her in other areas OUTSIDE the kitchen, yet she shows up with a heart attack in a bowl almost every shift. I have left instructions and leftovers for her on meals for Dad, yet when I come home, she's prepared something else or somehow "southernized" what was intended to be a healthy meal.


I'm not kidding. The woman has gone through a jar of mayonnaise in three weeks (gross)!!! I rarely eat the stuff, but she doctors up vinagrette dressing by adding sugar and mayonnaise, because, in her backwoods world, salad dressing is supposed to be white (HUH?!?!) and sweet.


I've had to repair scratches to my granite counter top because she decided to slice something directly on the counter despite there being three cutting boards hanging in front of her.


I came home to find soapy water soaking in my grandmother's cast iron pan...


She took it upon herself to make chicken salad out of my farm-raised, free range chicken that I had cooked for myself and shredded for other dishes... Three pounds of it at $6.50 a pound!!!!!! I explained that I have dietary restrictions, so it's just easier for me to prepare meals, but she keeps doing it.


I know that in the long run she's saving me money and she's good with Dad, but I want her to STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN (and other areas too, but this rant will be dedicated solely to Mother Southern's Cholesterol Crazed Kitchen)


I've tried to be nice, but she's costing me extra money from throwing away a lot of what she prepares. I've spent two nights up dealing with the aftermath of her cooking, and it's REALLY getting on my nerves.



How can I nicely discourage her from cooking or get her to follow the DA** rules?



In my mind, she should do what I ask because I'm paying her!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tiny, the reason I am saying what I am going to say is because you said feel free to throw stones which I am interpreting as constructive criticism. I have read your story for years and do not comment often on it. It is the proverbial train wreck and you have been given alot of helpful advice you have disregarded.

I do not believe you are completely in a codependent relationship. You display quite a few narcissistic tendencies. Way back when it all started, I remember you having a problem and wanting to bring food to a restaurant because of your obsession with food choices. To be honest, I am probably one of the pickiest eaters on the face of the earth over 2 years old but when I am asked to go out of my comfort zone, I do without trying to always make it about me.

You have questioned every doctor, psychiatrist and undermined almost every healthcare professional. It is about your Dad, not you. You need to start looking at his care as a team effort and stop micromanaging and undermining every health care professional in his life. Contrary to popular belief, the squeaky bird doesn't get the worm...they get ignored, sent to voicemail and subpar service. How would you feel if the janitor at your work was over your shoulder, questioning everything and telling you how to do your job? You are not a healthcare professional and should ask questions but not telling everyone else how to do their job. In my state, doctors will drop you as a patient and you would get the hacks. My advice based on your description of interactions, be more respectful and less demanding and threatening.

As for this caregiver, the manual and your activity day just sounds condescending and will not go over well. It is not just your money, it is your dads too. The food is not just your expensive food but both of yours. Maybe instead of controlling your dad, you could let him have input a few days a week that she could cook. When I caregave, I made two different meals a day...one for everyone else complying with their diet and one for me...it was just part of the gig. Let him enjoy life without you controlling everything. Remember most successful bosses or managers learn to adapt to employees rather than put demands on them.

I really hope you are not offended but sometimes tough love is necessary. I think you have an unhealthy obsession with control which may be due to insecurities. Realize you can only control so much...life isn't perfect.
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Ah yes, in my younger days I loved to cook a head of cabbage with lots of bacon...and almost red with so much Seasoned Salt! Now I would be in agony for 2 days. Ah to be young and foolish again....
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Sorry, I see no compromise here. She isn't suppose to be cooking meals. She is just responsible for maybe breakfast and lunch. Two plain easy meals. She has been told that Dad has special dietary needs. She needs to abide by what Tiny tells her. Also, that no dinner is needed because.. Tiny has a special diet. I can't see where this is so hard to understand.

My MIL was like this. My daughter has irritiable bowel syndrome. After hit and miss with food, we found that spaghetti sauce was one of the big things that bothered her. We were taking MIL to sons house. SIL said she would have Spagetti when we got there. My MIL, knowing this was a no no for granddaughter, said OK. She never understood Ms problem or chose to think it was nothing. People like this bother me a lot.
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Oh the one hand, as your employee, she should follow your suggestions. On the other hand as the employee/friend line seems to be blurred, can you go through some menus/recipes with her and see if some of "her" kind of food would be Ok for you and your dad, while you can mark other recipes as no-nos. Is she willing to compromise and are you to see if something workable can be set up?

I hear you about kinetic learners May be a few hours in the kitchen with her will help, if she is willing to learn some new things Good luck to you. You need a plan B anyway.
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THIS is good stuff.

...and I am going to look into plan B. My history with caregivers has been so shaky I'm a bit gun shy.

I was so happy that we had someone Dad already knew, but she's probably using that to her advantage as well

... bless her heart
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THANK YOU!!!!!!

I'm not saying that I'm not super picky, but when I'm PAYING good money for something, I should get what I want...

and it's not like I haven't specifically told her what I need. I literally write it down and spell it out. Seriously... I leave a checklist for her before every shift.

That's why I'm thinking she's more of a kinetic learner (sorry, I train senior adults for a living). Most of the time, checklists work, but maybe she's just not reading.

I'm hoping the hands on orientation will help. If not, I will just have to admit that she's over-stepping her bounds which can't continue to happen.
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I leave her a detailed list for every shift. She just goes off script and does her own thing.

It's so weird. She's only with him 3-4 days a week. On the evenings I'm with Dad, I cook and leave the leftovers for her to heat up and serve.

She insists on cooking something at home and bringing it with her or preparing my EXPENSIVE stuff on her own. Maybe she just likes to cook?!?!?!

...at any rate, the "Walk Through Orientation" is scheduled. That's my last resort. She's a nice lady... just hardheaded....
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Am I picky... yep.

...and it's not like we are tearing each other's eyes out. I LIKE this caregiver and get along with her. We were friends before she became Dad's caregiver and was a complete GODSEND when I started this journey with the deer-in-headlights look.

I just come here to vent a bit about those nuances that would most likely hurt her feelings if I didn't bounce ideas off folks here.

She's WAY southern and pushy, and I have boundary issues so it's a bit of a struggle because of MY people pleasing / codependent stuff.

...and despite the challenges, bringing Dad home was the BEST decision I could have made... ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that the state has restricted the hellhole I pulled him out of from taking in any other residents as a result of their investigation.

Dad has gained 8 pounds in the short time that he's been with me. He's having fewer panic attacks and we've been able to cut back on the morphine. He's on a bathroom schedule... and he's HAPPY.

My stress level has gone down and my income has gone up because I'm not paying $5K a month to do things that SHOULD have been covered in my care. I'm not constantly worried about things like Is Dad changed? Did he eat? Is his oxygen on? Did they give him too much morphine, etc.

I'll NEVER apologize for wanting my money's worth. $5K was a lot of money to spend for mediocre care, and in this case... Paula Deen (love that) is getting paid $5 more per hour than the going rate for caregivers. We should be able to work this out or I should have the unapologetic freedom to get someone who can do it.

AL was TERRIBLE (below Dad's level of need) and I'M not ready for Dad to go to a NH. Should he continue to live and get to the point where he's so out of it and I HONESTLY can no longer handle him, I will entertain that option, but for now... this is the best lemonade I can make with those super sour lemons we were given.

...and Dad has been upgraded to Palliative care. We're all going to die someday, and I know Dad is closer to it than we are, but I'm not going to rush the process with unhealthy foods that give dad the squirts. Sorry
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She's accused me of eating "snooty" food!!

Don't get me wrong, there was a time when I could devour that heavy cooking. I grew up on it, but as I've gotten older, I've made wiser, healthier choices. Even when I do try to break down and eat it, my stomach quickly reminds me that it doesn't want all that heavy grease.

Her poor arteries!!!
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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! LOL!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!! HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

I needed that!!!!
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Tiny, there is a certain type of woman who loves (and lives) to “take over” any damm thing — but especially another woman’s turf.

Ms. Caregiver has already taken over your kitchen. She already undermines sound medical advice. What’s next?

Well, let’s see. Your father has a lonnnng history of expecting women to fawn all over him. You are too busy working 2 jobs — to compensate for Dad’s lifelong mismanagement of his finances, his health and his relationships — to be Dad’s full-time narcissist feed. (Lord knows you’ve tried.)

Don’t be surprised if Ms. Caregiver leverages your food spat (and your father’s poor judgment) into full-tilt triangulation. Be on your guard. If she starts “speaking for Dad” and treating YOU as the hired help, start shopping for her replacement.

Or really, start shopping for her replacement now. There are plenty of qualified caregivers who are respectful and do not have personality disorders. But you have to make an effort to find them. They will never find you.
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I have to be on Tiny's side here. To me this is not the Southern comfort food that Paula Dean cooks. Its more like Mexican found in Tx, NM and Arizona. She says this is the only thing the woman does that she has talked to her about and the woman continues to do what she wants. I doubt Dad is asking for it and if he is, the woman takes her orders from Tiny. Her Dad and Tiny got sick from it. So there's a problem here.

I have found that Doctors, nurses and aides pretty much do what they want. I had a paper I gave every time Mom went to the hospital that listed all Moms surgeries. Her present doctors with phone nos. What foods she wasn't allowed or didn't like. I caught her being given coffee, a dr. no no, scrambled eggs, she didn't like and they said she didn't eat the soft breakfast they gave her. Maybe because it was scrambled eggs. They would line up consultations with other doctors when hers had privileges there. You HAVE to be on top of LOs care. I think mistakes are made because no one asks questions and won't consult with patients doctors outside the hospital.

Tiny has had some good complaints. Her Dads oxygen concentrator not being plugged in for one. Is it really that hard to plug in a concentrator when u put him to bed? I find more people don't go that extra mile and I really thank them when they do.
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Leave her a list of her daily duties and include what food she is to serve, since you are home every night I wonder WTF she is doing all this cooking anyway, it's not as though your father is living alone and would otherwise do without.
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I guess I am just confused about all of this and will be a little bit harder than everyone else. In the years you have been posting, you have not gotten along with one person involved in your dad's care...there has been problems with family, every caregiver, doctors, nurses, facilities, etc...and now it is this caregiver. How is it everyone else is wrong and you have been the only person right in every circumstance. I dont think you should fire her because no one will ever meet your standards.

The reality is your father is on hospice and no matter how much you continue to micromanage his care, he is going to die. Maybe he is asking for this comfort food and she is making it. There is a point no matter you good intentions, he should be able to enjoy things.

You have repeatedly been given advice about AL or NH and you do not follow it. This was your choice to undertake this and bring him home. You need to either quit your job and do it all yourself or start cutting some slack to others.
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You two couldn't be a worse match. Is it possible to get a different caregiver politely explaining your diet concerns? It would hopefully be a cooking style issue that is too hard to persevere with. I do wish you well. I could never eat that type of food at my age and if one can remain healthy through diet it should be encouraged.
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Make sure you have your Paula Deen look a like stay over some night (get yourself some respite honey!) so that SHE can deal with the aftermath of the diet she's insisting on feeding your dad.
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I have to giggle when you talk about the pan. I think it will be ok. My Mom had one that was smooth like teflon. I don't know who took it but I cannot find. At flea markets they are expensive.

Cooked cabbage. I am getting stomach pains thinking about it. 😊

I can never understand people like this. Yes, I like things my way...in my house. But I never tell someone what to do in theirs. I don't like working in someone elses kitchen either.
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She may be passive agressive. Very hard to get this type of person to understand that you have your own way. They always think their way is best. My MIL was this way and my DH a little bit. I am cleaning out Moms house and he is right behind me doing things I told him I wasn't worrying about.
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Had to share yesterday's shenanigans...

I made Dad a healthier version of his Southern favorites (I haven't gotten THAT far away from my roots): Pinto beans in the crock pot seasoned with smoked turkey instead of a HOCK with brown rice.

I even made cornbread (Ms. Pushy Caregiver had the gall to bring Jiffy mix into my home... I think not). REAL Southern cornbread WITHOUT sugar... OK... it had quite a bit of butter, but it's Sunday dinner.

I had to go to work, so I instructed her to serve my meal for dinner. A few hours into my shift I get a text that she decided to prepare cabbage to go with the meal. Apparently, she took a trip to the store and bought the ingredients (she likes to bring CRAP from her house. I don't keep junk in mine) I didn't THINK she could Southernize that, but when I got home I found a greasy, mushy head of what used to be cabbage in a pot.

She FRIED some bacon and tossed in the cabbage in the great. She then boiled the whole concoction for way too long. I can't believe she served that to my Dad. WHY did I think she would know that you can STEAM cabbage and add fresh seasonings (which I have plenty of) and it taste just as good?

I was too tired to get into it with her last night. I just let her know that I would be scheduling a day for us to take care of Dad together so we can "get on the same page"

...and the re-seasoning process has begun on my beloved cast iron pan. UGH!!! I had it perfect before the dish water!!!!
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I agree JoAnn. I need to find a backbone on this one. Caring about her feelings is truly putting my GI tract and Dad's health at risk.
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Guess what? Before she started I gave her a caregiver manual WITH PHOTOS (I moonlight as an instructional designer) on how I like everything done.

This manual included lists of approved foods as well as things Dad didn't like / could not eat. I even stopped her when she happily announced that she could make chicken in a way Dad would eat it. He doesn't eat it. Hasn't in over 70 years. DO. NOT. GIVE. IT. TO. HIM....

... but I do get your point. I think I'm going to do a "day in the life" orientation with her and physically show her how I like / need things done (she's done some interesting things with Dad's undergarments as well) and have her sign something that says she understands that not following these protocols can lead to termination.

She really is a nice lady (kinda reminds me of a Jewish Bubbe sometimes with her well-meaning take-overs).

I'm definitely making some changes THIS WEEK.
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Ugh! My own Southern (though evolved) struggles with this.

I do need a backup plan, though. I want to start documenting things (having her sign manuals and a checklist). I was thinking of having a hands-on orientation day where I show her how I would like things done. Then, if she insists on doing things her way, let her go.

... it is a matter of life and death though. She's clogging the poor man's arteries.
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Nope. I am paying her completely above board (much to her dismay and mine. Employer taxes are RIDICULOUS).

She's working about 25 hours a week for me (she didn't want to mess with her social security benefits), but seems to have blurred the lines between caregiver and employee.

After all I went through with the VA fiasco earlier this year, I document my documentation. She questions EVERYTHING (which is annoying), but good help is hard to find and the agency folks (in my experience) just didn't cut it.

I'm trying to be patient with her. I think she means well... but...
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...and I LOL'ed at this answer.

I do declare BarbBrooklyn! I wish I had the New York gene (which I love by the way). Just saying it would be... unladylike....

I am going to have a talk with her and more firmly say... I need you to stay out of the kitchen and do what I ask

...I did write her a pretty detailed instruction manual... guess she isn't reading it.
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😊I am surprised that this Southern cook doesn't know how to care for cast iron. Its remedied. Coat with vegetable oil and bake in the oven. Directions are on the internet. Actually, one wash shouldn't have hurt it.

Yes, now its time to not be so nice. This woman can't read between the lines. Maybe she is not aware that the house is yours. Maybe she doesn't see you as her boss since she is Dads caregiver.

First say that you appreciate everything that she does for Dad. That he likes her and so do you. But she needs to stay out of your kitchen other than to get Dad a simple breakfast and lunch, drinks or snacks. That both your Dad and you are on diet restrictions. She needs to take this seriously. It was a nice thought to cook dinner for you but you both had diarrhea, something u finally had under controll with Dad. ( this doesn't mean there was something wrong with the food, it means your stomachs can not tolerate her way of cooking since you are on soecial diets) She needs to stick to what Dad is allowed or she could cause him harm. Tell her she needs to follow YOUR directions. You are following Dr orders. Make her realize that you own the house, you pay her. Dad lives with you not the other way around. If she is entering parts of the house you rather she didn't, like ur bedroom or bath, tell her. These are off limits. Its your private space.

By the way, her cooking isn't good ole comfort food from the South, sounds more like Texas, NM and Arizona Mexican.

I really do sympathize with you. My brother says I am my own worst enemy. I do feel when I am paying for a service, it should be the way I want it. I will take suggestions, but in the end it needs to be the way I want it.
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Oh man, grandma's nicely seasoned cast iron pan with the soapy water in it . . . That would be like a sucker punch to the gut to me. Oy vey!
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Not getting what is asked for is a common theme I see as well. And one of the problems of having dad at home. If it's not the caregiver ruling the expensive clean specialty food, who's to say it would not be dad in his dementia?
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If you and Dad are happy with her in all aspects other than the cooking, it would be a shame to cut your nose off to spite your face. I’d hate to stop someone from cooking for me as it’s such a time consuming task which if done correctly will be a real help to you. Have you shown her how to use your utensils and equipment? If not, take some time to show her how your kitchen works. She may never have worked on granite so doesn’t know you can’t cut on it. Don’t let her put a hot pot on it either! I admit I would have soaked the cast iron pan too, but I probably wouldn’t have used it in the first place because they’re too heavy and I don’t like them. So maybe just some instruction with the process and tools can help.
BUT as far as the meals themselves, she is taking liberties with your Dads health, and maybe needs something more formal in writing. I would post a list (and hand her her own copy) of the foods or ingredients your Dad CANNOT eat such as:
spicy foods
fried foods
high fat food
salt
Whatever else is bad for his system

On the same page list the foods he SHOULD eat:
lean meat
fish
fresh vegetables
whatever you want

Make sure you don’t have the bad stuff in your pantry.
Let her know these are dietary restrictions from HIS DOCTOR (fib?) so that bears the weight of authority which she needs to follow. Call her out on anything she makes contrary to the list. Then if she continues to disregard the list, she won’t be surprised when the pink slip comes.
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You must put your foot down with this woman! She is out of line, and your dad could end up in the hospital, since he already is showing signs of illness due to her culinary craziness! She is flat out disrespecting you and your instructions.

I agree with BarbBrooklyn, that a termination must be set. Your dad's health, and your peace of mind, depend on it!
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Are you paying her under the table? What happens if she injures herself during one of her cooking extravaganzas? Are you withholding taxes? It sounds as if this woman is working a lot of hours for you.
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