I was managing private care for my 90 year old incontinent , mostly bedridden father with dementia. It got to be too much for me when the CNAs would call out at the last minute, leaving no one but me to fill in. I wouldn't mind but I have a dog walking/pet sitting business and I cannot not show up to care for someone's pet who has left me trusting to care for it and my father cannot be left alone and I don't feel comfortable changing him. I was extremely stressed out.

I decided to hire an agency although it is more money. She hired some of my private workers who had been with me for up to 2 years who promptly left within two weeks because this agency owner is unprofessional and a bully towards them. She goes through so many workers that my father now thinks he is in a nursing home. She is also unprofessional towards me and if I have an issue that needs to be corrected she comes up with all sorts of defensive responses and throws out stuff like... all the workers want more money, I am giving you a deal, nurses are $30 per hour...She dances all around and out of the issue.

The last issue was that my father has a prescription for Xanax and I had 2 of my trustworthy workers know where it was kept and would keep one pill in the bottle. All of her workers know where it is except a brand new woman and she needed it for my dad. I stated what is the point of hiding it because everyone knows where it is. She text bombed me with all sorts of random messages that had nothing to do with that particular issue.

She told me when I interviewed her that she drug tests and does background checks on all employees. I don't think she does and I am afraid of people not being properly screened. I asked her again if she did and she said she does. However, I have caught her in lies. If she did checks, it would cost her thousands of dollars with all the people she blows through. I have dealt with other agencies and they are even worse with totally incompetent workers. How can I be sure this woman is actually doing background checks?

To her credit I have not had to fill in, but one woman was there caring for Dad for close to three days because workers were calling out. I thought I was just popping in when she was working. She quit. Can't blame her!

I am trying to make it short. Does anyone have any advice?

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Good lord, this sounds like my very dear friend who is retired and who works part time. She spends ALL of her time managing caregivers, refereeing fights between them, calling Medicare for DME, running to see the Social Worker at the Area Agency on Aging, renewing her mother's lease, making sure her mother has the right kind of food in the house.....

We live in NYC; her mom has 24/7 aides. It's wearing her out.

When I mention the idea of a facility she says "my mom would die in a facility; she wouldn't have a private room; she'd be miserable".

I thought all of those things about my mom too. None of them were true.

I'm not going to tell you that having your parent in a NH is a stress free existence. But there are medical professionals there are MANY sets of eyes. All good things, in my book.
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One of the issues of trying to be an around the clock caregiver, when you have your own business to run, is that your hired caregivers may cancel, get delayed, not show, etc. That kind of thing may happen, even with a good agency. I'm not sure how you can remedy that, unless you arrange for someone to be a backup in case you need them. But, having that might not be feasible. Is there a neighbor who could help last minute if necessary? I'd likely explore placement in a facility.
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Is there some reason why you are continuing in-home care when you keep striking out with agencies/staff? It has to be costing you as much as if Dad were in a nursing home. And, it’s self-pay, right? I would be concerned, with all this drama happening with the agency and caregivers, Dad is not getting very good care. Did you make a noble-hearted promise to Dad to not put him in a facility? If you did, it might be time to do a re-think. Have Dad evaluated to determine what level of care he needs. Then research and tour facilities near you. If he needs it, apply for Medicaid. Hopefully, you already have POA because if Dad has dementia, he won’t be able to appoint you now and you may need to file for guardianship.

It must be very difficult to try to run your own business, a business based on reputation and word of mouth, and have to deal with caregivers like this. I know if I hired you to care for my fur babies and you had to beg off, I’d be a little irked and probably call someone else next time. Good luck. Come back and let us know how it worked out.
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