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My parents are in their 80s and have limited mobility following health conditions. They are desperate to stay in their home and so they have a live in carer to help with all everyday tasks.


The issue is that they are both incredibly stubborn and have started being rude to the carer, complaining non stop that nothing is done in 'the right way' (even small things for example she doesn't fold clothes the way they like, they just expect her to know without having ever told her). It's gotten so bad that they've actually got through around 12 different carers, who either leave because they're being treated so rudely, or are told to leave by my parents. There doesn't seem to be any other options left. Please can anyone help offer some advice, I feel at a loose end! We've tried talking to them many times but they won't listen.


They have lived in a care home before and hated it so that doesn't seem to be an option.

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They sound like they are going to be contrary and unhappy no matter what, so my advice is to step back and leave them to it. Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to be sucked into their drama or step in to fill the void when they are in need, it's their choice to behave this way and they need to live with the consequences.
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Reply to cwillie
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Well, sometimes we make our choices by not making choices--in your parent's case, if the are plowing through CG's at that rate, there won't be an agency that will work with them.

'They lived in a care home before and hated it, so that doesn't seem to be an option'.

Well, that was then, this is now. Stubborn or not, they need what is best for them. I'm sure you've talked to them pretty sincerely about this dynamic--how they need to treat their CG's if they want to stay in their home.

You don't say how involved you are in their day-to day.

Let them try to get by with NO help for a week or two. They have to come to the conclusion they need to A: be nicer or B: they'll lose the ability to live in their home.

Growing old is the pits. Not to excuse their behavior, but be aware of that. Do you have any kind of 'control' over them? If you don't have POA, you're kind of up a creek.

Whatever you do, DON'T run to their house and make it be all right for them. That just allows them to continue on in a negative way.

I'd be all about letting them deal on their own. (DO they drive?? That's one thing that must be addressed, for safety issues). If they have to go completely without help, they may be kinder, or it may be time to re-visit an assisted living facility.
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Reply to Midkid58
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If you’re dealing with an agency and you let them know that your LOs are super unpleasant, you may be able to hire people who won’t care how unpleasant they are.
We started out by telling the agency AND the potential caregiver that our LO would be “rude”, and were able to get a VERY good caregiver who didn’t give a second thought to what LO said, cooked like a pro, and ignored EVERY COMPLAINT.
I TRULY HATE those commercials on TV that are bathed in sappy sugary sweet music, show a sweet, smiley faced “caring friend” serving an exquisitely crafted salad to an equally sweet, obviously grateful and adoring person.

REALITY?? NO WAY! NEVER HAPPENS!
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Reply to AnnReid
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Step away. If after 12 caregivers they've managed to run them all off in one way or another it's pretty clear that they aren't ever going to accept anyone. And they didn't like the care home either so it's obvious they want to "live independently" with no help (except probably you!) Let them try it for awhile, without you taking on the responsibility. Talking to them isn't going to help because they need to learn by experience. If they have no help for awhile they will either make it work somehow which means they don't need the caregivers, or they'll realize that they need help and will accept the caregivers, or the disaster will occur and they will be forced into a care facility. In any case hiring one more caregiver or having one more discussion isn't going to help. Just like children, they learn through experience, especially bad ones.
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Reply to jkm999
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katiekat2009 Oct 5, 2020
I would be concerned about the cooking aspect with this, as in.leaving the stove on.
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If you do not already have durable power of attorneys both medical and financial over both of your parents, make appointments with an attorney immediately. Attorneys can determine whether or not their client understands those documents i.e. is competent to sign the documents. If your parents refuse, it is a terrible idea for you to take on the responsibility of your parents without having the authority. Without having authority it's not surprising that your parents ignore you when you try talking to them about it.

Also, your parents do NOT get to decide about going to a care home as if they live independently and in a bubble. If they don't start being nice to their caregivers, make it clear that you are NOT going to step in and enable their poor choices. Learn to say something like "Mom and dad, if you continue to drive away your caregivers, you will not be able to continue to live in your home and I will not step in to fill the void left by those helpers."

If one or both does have dementia, start looking for memory care now before a crisis happens.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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I agree with the comments pointing out that most caregivers grow thick skins quite quickly. The incident I remember best (because I reported it without thinking in my handover notes and people in our office laughed at me) ran: "G_ greeted me with 'go away' but soon cheered up and was able to engage fully in his morning routine."

Mind you, for the G_ in question, that was pretty mild. I was also on the receiving end of "you don't get any prettier, do you?" "do what you want, you stupid cow" and a few unprintable expletives. The key thing about this particular client, though, was that we all of us - and some of my co-workers heard much, much worse from him - really cared about this man's wellbeing. Usually, if you spoke civilly to him he was civil in return; but there were days when his miserable life made him desperate and foul-mouthed. I can't truly blame him for anything he said.

There was a long-running battle about food. It was our job to make sure that if he didn't eat a meal, he at least had food to hand that he could help himself to. G did not agree: "I SAID, I'M NOT HUNGRY!!!" I watched one sweet girl, who can't be more than 24 years old, carefully arrange a plate full of G's known preferred snacks in the kitchen; then just as we were about to leave and lock up, she darted into his room, popped the plate on his table and ran like the wind.

So - the OP's parents may be hard to please, but it is a rare client who stands out for intolerable rudeness. I'd be interested to know exactly how many caregivers have resigned in protest, and how many have been let go.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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beeje7623 Oct 5, 2020
Dear Country,
You advice is always spot on.
I love your responses to this one.
Wash the floor, no problem 😊
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Not sure if this has been suggested, but I got to a point where when the Caregiver showed up (first few times I was there) we would pretend it was 'my old friend from school' and 'oh, well here"s Michelle mom, remember her?'. And have conversations as if wed known each other for a long time (just basic how's it going, how's the kids, etc...). Eventually, she'd show up, knock and come on in and slowly but surely work up to the "well, I'm going to have grilled cheese and soup, would you like some?'.... 'Or, I'm going to fold these towels real quick, would you like to help?". Instead of a Caregiver, it was their 'old friend' (or long lost cousin, or whoever it was they liked)....We got them very involved with whatever Caregiver was doing. Didn't matter how bad the folding went (matching socks is a great brain game too) and my mom, for example, loved to have someone read to her, so - I'd have the caregiver say, '" oh, listen to this part' and keep reading until your parent\s say to stop. Don't let them know he\she is actually working for them, rather an old friend stopping by to chat or do things together. Worked for a little while for us. Best wishes to you!
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Reply to JBryan
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Well you say in your profile that one or perhaps both have dementia. This means they are no longer capable of being reasonable.

It also means they are no longer capable of making sound decisions.

If they need full time care, then they need to accept it in their home or live in a facility. Since they refuse to play nice with care givers in their home, they will eventually have the big problem that puts one or the other into hospital and that will be the end of living at home likely for both of them.

The thing is, you have to step back and let nature take its course. It is hard to watch someone crash, but often it is the only option.
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Reply to Tothill
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Let them know it's treat the Caregiver nice do they stay or back to a home they go.

Also, if you have a Live In, you should use a relief Caregiver one day a week so your Live In can have a 24 hr day off or give her two 12 hr shifts off. Believe me, they need the break.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Seems that it's time for YOU to level with THEM about how you perceive YOUR responsibility. Let them know that on-looking authorities are WATCHING YOU to see that tou have the ability to help your parents - - that if they keep doing whay they're doing, even though they want YOU to help them, the State will step in, without THEIR consent, or YOURS, and take over their care, and strip THEM of their rights, and YOU, of making any choices on their behalf.

So explain, if THAT'S want they want, then keep doing what they're doing, because that is the eventuality of what will happen.

IF you try to reason with them, in all sincerity, and they're not able to "get it", then it's time to realize that they are incapable of making decisions in their own best interest, and you must do what you must do, sooner rather than later - - that is, NOW...
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Reply to CarolLynn
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