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We are looking to have someone stay with our 92 year old mother when family members are not available or away for a period of time. She doesn't need a nurse...just someone to be there to make sure she eats and takes her meds and a presence for most of the day. I have researched and spoke to a few but wondered if anyone with experience in this can provide some words of wisdom.

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p.s. I had a hospital send a nurse out to help me with wound healing and she refused to wash her hands...said the purell was enough. Excuse me? I'm the patient and we should get washed hands at an open wound! We showed her the door and my husband took care of me. I do have private insurance. A medicare ppo. This country really needs to revamp their ways of dealing with disabled people. Many don't have family to look after them. It's very sad.
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I'm not saying all agencies are totally bad...only as good as the worker. But I have years of experience and it's been mine that agencies I've had weren't good...I had to let each one go. Independent aides that I use (and nurses) are not off the street. They have Medicaid numbers so have background checks, npi numbers and are contracted. As far as private pay I cannot say as my daughter has the Medicaid waiver.
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p.s. I've tried to report these people for their ways...to my knowledge nothing has ever been done. An aide harassed my daughter after I let her go for trying to get my daughter to lie on a timesheet....then the harassment began. I got her the package so she could trace calls (hand up/hold the line) calls. But she knew how often to call...so calls were upsetting but not often enough to get the prosecutors attention. It stopped. Eventually. I'm DONE with agencies. I WOULD start my own agency but no time...that would solve my problems, I could pay staff a bit more and secure them to stay as money is why they work (most of them work/live paycheck to paycheck). If you have good staff try to keep them. Don't put up with substandard treatment. There ARE good people out there. I've never met any aides who were good. One nurse was good but she's independent now and still with us. In Ohio they cut the workers salary twice this past year and gave agencies a raise! Ohio isn't fair to independent workers. mmm wonder if there are enough of them to start a union...no wouldn't work as they are up against agencies and Ohio is FOR agencies. it's terrible...some people have NO CONSCIENCE! One aide did tell me she's heard aides take cans and boxes and put them in the trash..take the trash out but stop at their car to take the food out first. So part of their pay is from stolen goods!!!! If you can't check them out yourself, then don't bother with them. Also if they are licensed like STNAs they can lose their licenses. Nurses also. There are nurses' boards.....do your homework and let them do the home health care. Check on them still but you'll find its so much better...Ohio wake up!
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The Visiting Nurses is a long-standing nationwide agency that generally has a good reputation. Check with others, ask the hospital discharge planners, talk with several agencies, not just the first one. If you decide to have an untrained person off the street, you will be liable for their payroll and you are hoping they are as nice as they seem. Search the internet for complaint reports on agencies.
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Use independents. You'll know their last names, addresses, you KNOW who is in your house with your loved ones. With agencies you do NOT. I've been down that road. Better to know who is there and where they came from, area etc than to have only a first name and an agency that only cares about their cut. These workers make less money for a reason.
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sherry1anne, great info, thank you. I have not been happy with some of the aides sent to us by my husband's PACE program and for the same reasons cited by YourGirlCindy. Last week I told one agency not to send back an aide who didn't want to give my husband a shower; this aide is afraid of cats (we have one). I don't begrudge the fear of cats -- people have fears -- but I do expect an aide to shower my husband on the day the aide is scheduled. And I've found myself doing transfers while the aide either just stood around or was sitting in the next room. It's ridiculous.
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Oh and the PEO will also do background checks and drug testing if you wish.
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My advice is to stay away from agencies. I've been cheated by the agency and robbed by the "caregiver" they sent out I was also stood up with one "caregiver not showing up at all. I hired my own person through care site and we've been happy with her for over a year. I pay her through a PEO company so that I actually "rent" her. The company has all of the responsibility. The name of the company I use for this service is Einstein. It costs very little for a servicing fee and they handle all the taxes, insurance etc. In my book, it's the only way to go they offers background checks also.
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Hi - thank you, this is good to know! After reading this whole thread, and your response, I agree that no route will be the magic answer. I sincerely hope you find good service and a good person/s using this agency!
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Zdarov...no, actually...I never did get a response to where to find independent caregivers. I did go on a site...believe it is Care? However...after giving your e-mail address it brings you to the next page where you find out there is a membership fee you have to sign up and pay before going further. I was annoyed they didn't tell you up front about this and left the site. But...because I had already given my e-mail I started getting a lot of e-mails from what appeared to be independent caregivers who use this site to get referrals. To get complete info from these people though you needed to sign up for membership! Did not like the way this site was handled so therefore did not pursue it. But there were a lot of caregivers sending partial e-mail. I went back to searching agencies. And I never realized how many HHA agencies are out there! I contacted a few. If an agency didn't get back to me after my original e-mail I crossed them off my list. I eventually went with Senior Helpers and are meeting with the owner this week for an assessment. A friend had used them for her husband and was happy with their service. I think it's like anything else...you can research up the kazoo and still have a bad experience and on the other hand pick the first place you look at and hit gold! Good luck. Let me know if I can help further!
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Kathy, did anyone answer "Thank you everyone for your advice on this. Many mention independent caregivers. Where did you go to find them?" How did you go about your search?
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Try independent workers. I had the same from agencies. Now I don't. I believe it's because they get more money, and also I have their information. I can file charges on someone I can locate but the prosecutors wouldn't take complaints about aides from agencies because I didn't even know the aide's last name. They need to be on equal footing with you. If they are in your home, you should know who they are. If not they feel....they have no license to use, it's your word against theirs, the agencies always went along with the worker (they profit as long as the aide works)....
Good luck to you.
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We are using Home Instead also, with my in-laws in AZ. (We live long distance and they must have someone in the home 24/7.) We have used Home Instead for over 2 years now. It has been very difficult to keep good caregivers coming in. The ones that do come are constantly on their phones texting or Facebooking and hardly pay any attention to my wheelchair bound FIL who needs physical help to move from chair to chair. (left-side paralyzed from a stroke + moderate dementia) They want to do as little as possible, watch TV, use the WiFi, etc. We constantly complain about this to the agency, but unfortunately this is an unregulated business in AZ and the caregivers have so much autonomy. We require and have asked for "AWAKE" night shifts because my FIL doesn't remember that he is paralyzed and still tries to get out of bed on his own, but most of the time we find they've slept on the couch. I have had numerous meetings with everyone from the caregivers themselves all the way up to the owners. Still, we get apologies, and no improvement. :-(
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We used Visiting Angels for my 92 year old mother before moving her to AL at the beginning of last month. The aides were reliable and trustworthy. Like with any of these situations, however, if the regular aide(s) are unavailable and a substitute has to be found, this is sometimes more trouble than it's worth, especially in my mother's case with advanced dementia. But, again, the agency as a whole was very good.
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I was lucky as she was already living there helping my sister. I just added more staff to support her. As I said earlier, I highly recommend her. I wish you the best of luck. Great people are hard to find.
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Thank you everyone for your advice on this. Many mention independent caregivers. Where did you go to find them?
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I also prefer independents to an agency. My experience with agencies was that the level of experience and even maturity varied so greatly that you never knew what they might do. I caught agency employees doing bizarre things to my mother, like cranking her bed and leaving her with her head down and feet way high which was dangerous! One brushed her hair out of her head. Another grabbed my granddaughter's potty-step from the bathroom and made my mother try to use it to get into bed, which scared my mom as it was so small, and of course it broke, being made for less weight. Agencies hire anybody with a certificate showing they barely passed a six week course. Independents often have a great stake in maintaining their high quality because they are running their own business. It is their own livelihood and reputation and they are more professional. Even so, I would spend time right along with them at the beginning, and be clear with them about what I expected. And yes, I'd install a nanny-cam, not for petty theft, as no professional would do that, but because I care about their tone of voice and how they work with my loved one, when I'm not there.
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Hi,
I signed. We paid our hard earned money for these benefits, they are not "entitlements". This is not welfare. It's supposed to be an investment account that is here for us when we need it. I hate the diabolical government grrrrr....
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Oh sorry...from this sentence down
It would mean a lot to me if you took a moment to add your name because:
is the petition I created. I',m not asking anyone to sign it...I'm wondering what opinion you all have of it and my post. Thanks.
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I wrote this and am putting it here because I believe everyone should understand what is going on with Medicare and Medicaid even though most readers here likely are private pay. This MYCARE will eventually be, if they go forward as planned and told to me, everyone's problem. I would seriously like it to go away now in the trial stage. The trial isn't for the people on Medicaid only...it's to see how the process works. It doesn't...but they say it does. I believe this will be everyone's problem. And as far as independents at least you can find them...know where they live. They know where your loved one lives. What is the problem with knowing who is working for you? Agencies keep it secret. Well read and let me know what you think. Thanks.
I just added the petition: "MYCARE and Privitization of Medicare and Medicaid"

It would mean a lot to me if you took a moment to add your name because:
Now it affects only the poor disabled and elderly on Medicaid and Medicare (under CMS which governs both). But this is a progressive movement to privatize these programs and it WILL affect every citizen of the US; that is the plan. Please stop Mycare NOW and stop it from becoming the Medicare and Medicaid of the future for everybody in the U.S. It's terrible. You'll spend most of your time filing grievances and state hearings only to be denied. You'll have to get prior authorizations on many of your regular medications as often as every 6 weeks. In the meantime, how will you get your medications without a break in service? We are offered about 2 options/companies to choose from to deliver our services. Instead of privatization of services which never works (look at the prison situation when they've tried private prisons!) they COULD spend more time working on fraud to save money. They used to make spot home visits to recepients....but no longer. Just as with children's services, they set a time for an appointment so you are prepared. There is fraud and waste. Fix that and save money and quit trying to save money by going private which takes away our rights to services we need and deserve. There are also new advocate organizations....trust me....they are paid by the same system that is promoting this Mycare/soon to be YOUR CARE. Even if you are never disabled, you will need Medicare one day. Don't let them take this away from you. Stop it now. Social Security is bound to join in as well. Fight socialized care and let's stop this slippery slope to rights lost. These companies tell you they pay for everything Medicare and Medicaid pay for. This is not true. Providers don't often take the Mycare insurance either. They pay less and less often. Ask them! They will tell you the same thing I'm saying here. Another issue...they have increased pay for agencies for care of disabled and elderly but CUT pay for independent workers TWICE this past year. There are things going on in Mycare that simply do not make sense. There are a lot of hidden things going on....we can't know why they are doing what they do. If we lose independent workers by pay cuts, we will lose choice of who we have to care for our disabled and elderly. With agencies you don't even know the last names or addresses of who is caring for your loved one. With independent workers you do. But the system is doing everything they can to get rid of independent workers by paying them less and less. When they leave independent work, we lose our rights to choose who cares for us. There are so many problems with this Mycare and turning to private companies for care. This is NOT regular insurance and they pay differently than private insurance companies. Do not be fooled. Talk to clients/patients, independent providers and families of loved ones who are victim to Mycare. And remember, soon it will be the way for all of us who need Medicare and possibly Medicaid and then may leak to social security. Get the cheaters off of the system to save money, do not destroy the systems for those who need it.
Thank you.

credomobilize/petitions/mycare-and-privitization-of-medicare-and-medicaid

Real change happens when everyday people like you and me come together and stand up for what we believe in. Together, we can reach tons of people and help create change around this important issue.

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Be very careful with this type of agency. I have had a very bad experience. The worker stole from my home and the agency kept all of my deposit when I fired her for stealing. My attorney told me just to eat the $1000 that it would cost me more in the long run to sue them. This is what they depend on.
I got a wonderful individual through a web site called care website. They offer background checks. This caregiver is a devout Christian (I am not) and she takes impeccable care of my mother. Whatever you choose, do your own background check on the agency as well as the caregiver. There are a lot of thieves and con artists out there.
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I have been a caregiver for many different agencies over the years. Most treat their caregivers poorly. I discovered Comfort Keepers and the location I know about is in Palatine, IL. They are individually owned and operated. I was pleasantly surprised to find an agency unlike the others. They go above and beyond, even broaching the subject of clients nutritional needs. They are way more in depth with their approach to care giving, and many different topics are addressed for the client in detail. All caregivers are drug tested and background checks are done. They must have a clean driving record and current auto insurance. Specialized training is required before any caregiver is placed with a client. I am extremely impressed with Comfort Keepers, especially the staff and caregivers from the Palatine office. I highly recommend Comfort Keepers and will definitely turn to them for services if my loved one was in need.
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I am a Case Manager in Northern Virginia. I have not been impressed with many of the caregivers I have seen. They work for agencies and not for me. Many have a language barrier. While a few are good, it's like finding a needle in a haystack. Checking on them is a must. There are also companions and CNA;s. I would ask for a CNA. They at least have training and have a state license. Just be careful. Not sure if I would leave my mom with any whom I have met.
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With the agency I had used, what I also liked was that the agency was licensed, bonded, and offered Workman's Comp in case the Caregiver got hurt in the home. And if a Caregiver was unable to make his/her shift, someone quickly would fill in, even the manager of the local branch office filled in for a couple of hours with my parents.
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I think everyone needs to use caution, supervise and pay attention to the workers. It is too easy for them to take advantage when no one is watching them.
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If companionship is important, you have to emphasize that. Foreign nationals we've had for at home care are conscientious and hardworking but they cannot carry a conversation with the care receiver and some don't even shut the doors behind them when they enter a home. Also, we've just had an experience with a new aide who came to do home duty today and found that she had not been prepared or informed that my husband gets a Saturday morning shower. I hardly think it was her fault that she was surprised and uncomfortable. But all these things add up.
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As you try the agencies, make sure you have a LOCKED room or closet set aside to store anything of value. Do not give the key to your elder.
Inevitably, visitors have sticky fingers--sorry to report. You want to concentrate on the care---not what is enticing in the house. Even in the hospital, a hired caregiver stole my mother's Estee Lauder perfume.
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You can get cheaters in every agency....spot check on them yourself. That is the only way to catch them. Agencies do not check on workers. Some private pay if you have money works better of course. Those making min. wage are not what I'd want for my family. I've tried agencies and they cheat and lie and steal...at least ones I've had with several agencies. We do independent workers now. FOR NOW Medicaid allows this. Kasich (governor) Ohio tried to stop it but public outcry changed the way he was trying to go....for now.
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We are using Care Finders out of hackensack n.j. 2days a week when i take a break .So far so good. Mom senses its not me but they are trained to help her adjust. Putting in a nanny cam , for my piece of mind. I ask for advice from this forum about this but didnt hear from anyone. Good luck
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I have also used Home Instead for many years.They regularly have training sessions for their staff. Laurie Bender, RN, MSN, CCNS and her husband, Bruce Bender, opened the first Home Instead Senior Care in New England. Laurie Bender, RN, MS, CCNS holds a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Nursing. As an Advanced Degree Nurse Specialist and Educator. She is terrific.

I appreciate being able to candidly converse with Lauri and all of their staff.

The caregivers we have do not give showers. We use them for Home Care. Meals, Transportation, Household Duties.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers

Having the caregiver fully vetted and personally evaluated. Is a MUST. Franchises are each unique and you should talk with the owners.
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