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I have periodic problems with my moms caregiver. However, I am not assertive and don't always speak up. She is kind and loving towards my mom though so I feel guilty letting her go. She is 10-15 minutes late every morning but I always let it go since I'm retired and my mom lives with me. She doesn't follow instructions when I tell her to only spend a certain amount of money at the store. She almost always spends more. She has too much personal knowledge about our family due to the fact that she's here all day. She has family issues that periodically, but not too frequently force her to leave early. She wants me to pay her at the beginning of the workweek due to her financial needs. I always paid caregivers after they put in their weekly hours. long story short, I let too many things go unaddressed and now if I grow a backbone and express my need for changes, it will be a LONG LIST. I actually just want to tell her I can no longer afford to have her work so many hours and am going to drastically cut back on caregiving. I know she needs to work at least 7 hrs a day. Is it wrong to just use this as a reason? If I tell her I am dissatisfied, I KNOW she will argue with me. I am SO burned out and vulnerable (I've had my mom for 13years). Only needed help the last 5 as her physical condition has declined. She is 94 and has Alzheimers. I feel the caregiver is too 'at home' in our house. She can be fantastic on some days, but moody on others. My husband has suspicions she may have taken money from his wallet. No proof though. She also looked at a very personal prescription for a family member that was in a bag on our counter and then told me what it was for. I was speechless. I know I let things go too far and didn't set boundaries. She can be pushy and I tend to be accommodating. I had a superb caregiver who retired and we had a great relationship. I found a new more mature lady and clearly told her my expectations. My problem is getting up the guts to fire my current caregiver.

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Thank you Blannie! I do indeed feel an amazing sense of relief. I now realize how stressed I was having this person in my house all day and being worried she was stealing from us when I was out. I will be checking in with new caregiver as suggested. I should have let the former one go much sooner. Her attitude was not good. Oh, and she was late again today. I asked her to stay later a few days ago to make up for being late. she did but I guess that didn't keep her from being late again today. Fortunately we let her go within moments after she arrived. Weight lifted off my shoulders.
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Empathy I'm so glad it went well - I'm sure you're heaving a sigh of relief. Just keep on checking in with your new person, even if things seem to be going well from your side. Be sure to give her the opportunity to share how she feels and how things are working for her.

Thanks for the follow-up info, we don't get that here often. Good luck with your new person!
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Update: my mother told me she saw the caregiver take money from both my and my hysbsnd's wallet. My mom has Alzheimers but still is able to remember lots of stuff. This is tricky since I can't be sure she really witnessed this but I have enough doubts now (over $60 has gone missing) and along with the other issues I decided to let her go. Asking if she took money is ridiculous bc of course she would deny it. I was going to use a nanny cam but don't want to lay in wait for theft to happen, perhaps weeks in the future. Plus one can't tape entire home plus upstairs where other valuables are. I trusted my gut and I know I did the right thing, dismissal went smoothly. Just said we were changing our system snd hours and gave 2 weeks pay plus offer of a referral. She did not argue or get visibly upset. My new caregiver got sterling reviews from her prior employer plus is known and respected in an adult day care program in our town. I have clearly conveyed expectations to her and feel optimistic about her beginning to work here, I would also like to add that I HAD several times told my prior caregiver when she did things I did not approve of, but never gave an ultimatum or did do forcefully. She was usually defensive. So will do things differently this time but it goes to show that this is a darn hard road to walk and certain skills are difficult to develop. We develop them when the need arises, as I see myself doing now. Thanks for all the heartfelt advice!
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You can certainly use finances as a reason. She appears to be causing a loss of money. Sometimes both sided know why someone is being fired, but it helps everyone keep up the pretense. Do try to give decent but honest references over the phone if you can. Your next choice is to sit down with the caregiver and simply tell her these are the things you need for her to do. Examples would be to stay within the budget or call you first before spending. Find a private place to put your wallet and papers. Write the expectations with a copy for both of you. If she does not follow your expectations, you have a reason to let her go. Either choice is up to you. I have found, though , if I enter the conversation by beginning with at least two or three very positive comments prior to heading into the unpleasant issues. Best wishes. This is never easy.
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I agree with Johnjoe and the money. Also I would tell that she has to be on time all the time. I would tell her what is bugging you, then tell her you are giving her another chance. Then if she does these things, fire her and tell her why. Maybe give her 2 weeks pay before you fire her. What the others have written are very good ideas too.
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Empathy You seem to have allowed this situation develope. Rule number one, keep a distance between You and an Employee, as You do not want them to be too comfortable with You.
If Your Husband thinks this Caregiver stole money from His wallet, and is not 100% sure, set a trap leave four or five 20 and $10 bills underneath a book but showing slightly and know exactly how much is there, and wait. A thief can never allow opportunity go unanswered. To some this may seem sneaky but You kneed to know for sure Who You have caring for Your elderly Mother, and has the run of Your home. IF YOUR CARER TAKES THIS MONEY, ITS A STRAIGHT RED CARD, Get Your Husband to support You when You dismiss Her instantly.
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Donna I am on the GA fence here. It is wrong to fire someone without giving them the opportunity to change. Tell her that you would like to conduct an appraisal so that she gets the opportunity to tell you what she is happy / unhappy with and you get to tell her what you value and don't about her work.

It is critical here that you don't completely annihilate her because she will have some wonderful points. So start off by listing the good points she has and alongside them list the things you don't like. Do it formally and in writing and get her signature on the action plan.

So she may like you doing a b and c but find d and e difficult.
So you write that down and action plan what you will do to help overcome d and e

and you sign it

Then you do the same with her and action plan what she needs to change and then she signs it

Then you agree the action plan and a date for a review.

Remember the golden rule of SMART

Specific - you have to be to avoid a lack of awareness
Measurable - so if she is spending too much for example then limit her overspend to 5% or insist she calls or texts you before going over
As for time she has to be there on time at least 80% of the time in the future and you will review this after a month, and as for pay you will work over a month period to paying her on Friday and not on Monday but you will do it one day at a time so that it isn't a HUGE issue for her

These are example of things that are Specific and are Measurable and what is more they are Attainable or Achievable They are also Realistic and they are Time Bound

It truly isn't difficult but you will need to make time to do it and you MUST review it. Good luck me dear but stick to your guns. If she comes late she stays late to make up the time - IF YOURE OK WITH THAT. Do be aware though that if she works 7 hours without a break she might consider that in lieu of her break
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Donna I'm a retired HR person and I can see both sides of the issue. I guess I disagree with the folks who say you have to give her another chance. Someone who is chronically 15 minutes late to a job probably isn't going to change in my opinion. You'e either an on-time person or you're not. And someone who disregards your limits on spending isn't doing an important part of the job. She's been there less than a year, which is a pretty short time. If she's doing these kinds of things already, chances are she's only going to get worse over time.

Should you have let her know what she was doing wrong along the way? Absolutely. So with your new person, set the expectation (and put it on your calendar and tell her) that you'll have a sit-down discussion after one month and then every three months on how things are going. That also give her the opportunity to let you know what you're doing that is making her life more difficult. If she's good, you want to give her the opportunity to express her issues as well.

I don't think you'd face a lawsuit - that's highly unlikely in my opinion. Give her a good reference, give her two weeks pay and learn from your mistakes. Use the hours reason if you want, but you could also just give her some "friendly advice" that being on time is important and sticking to the budget is important too." Caregivers have enough stress that trying to get someone to change their basic employee behaviors shouldn't have to be a struggle. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Oh and yes if we take the route of letting her go, we will give 2 full weeks salary. I think it's best when letting someone go to not have them remain in ones home. Too many opportunities to do damage if a caregiver is so inclined.
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Thank you all so much for the valuable advice! I am going to take your advice to heart. Yes, I will be more assertive and try to be a better employer. It is hard though for me, but a necessity. I also need to set more clear boundaries. I was so lucky with my first caregiver. I never had these problems. Having someone in our home 7 hrs a day is hard. Yet, that is the nature of elder care for many. this is a hard job! Thanks folks for your responses.
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Donna, I feel for you - I have terrible trouble too when it comes to telling people I basically like that I have a problem with something they're doing. If they're strangers, it's easy peasy; or if they're close friends, because then you know how to put bad news in a way that won't hurt their feelings. But when it's someone like your current c/g, well, I cringe for you.

But. Now, look, this is where *our* attitude - I stress the "our", because I'm no less guilty than you - has led.

This woman has been sailing along, taking advantage of your good nature, doing the key part of her job very well, and has no idea that you're not happy. Then - whammo! - just like that, you're firing her. Those 7 hours a day she needs to work? Well, she's crashing down to Zero. This is not good.

In meaning to be nice, what we are actually being is grossly unfair and needlessly destructive. We have killed with kindness. Could we both please resolve never, never to bottle up grievances like this again?

I would second Rainmom's hope that there is room to give this lady a chance to correct the problems, except that meanwhile you've found someone you actively want to recruit. Are you sure that the disadvantages - the change in personnel for your mother, the real possibility that while the new lady is great on paper she'll have drawbacks of her own, which, of course, you'll be equally reluctant to tackle - don't outweigh the advantages? If you are sure, we'll make that Plan A, and go from there. What to do about c.c.g.?

You can tell her that, after thought, you realise that your mother's care level needs stepping up; and that you have followed up a recommendation and hired a better qualified candidate. She is therefore redundant.

You MUST give her adequate notice - ideally sufficient for her to find alternative work before she finishes with you. A reasonable notice period would be two weeks, not more than four.

For the same reason - that she needs to find alternative work - you must make it very clear that the new, better qualified caregiver has already been appointed and that there is no possibility of continuing employment with you. Otherwise, she might hang about hoping it won't happen.

In terms of addressing her performance, do what's called an outplacement review. This means sitting down with her, praising her to the skies for her strengths, but highlighting too areas she could usefully improve. While she may have understandable reasons for lateness, moodiness and leaving early, those reasons will cut no ice in a professional environment and, though you've been reluctant to add to her worries, have also been a headache for you. She will be doing herself good if she can work on them.

I'm afraid that it is all too likely that you will hear a torrent of arguments. Stay calm, don't be defensive, don't argue back. You don't need to say anything. Let her finish, then say "I understand that this is difficult for you, and I'm sorry about that, but I've made my decision and arguing with me is not going to change my mind. I will be happy to provide a reference for your next job."

Best of luck with it. And, by the way, you have nailed down the new lady, have you? Not to give you nightmares, but what if *she* has a sudden change of heart?
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GardenArtist is correct in all she wrote. I will add that it's not impossible for an employee in a private in-home setting to file a wrongful discharge suit, just much more unlikely and harder to prove. If the caregiver is aware that other caregivers have done or are doing some of the same things she's being let go for and your aren't firing them as well - she could have grounds. Check your state to see if it has an "employment at will" law - if so you have more protection to let someone go with a simple "it's just not working out." I worked as a district manager in retail and then as a HR manager for a loooong time. Over the course of my career I've hired hundreds but only fired a few dozen. I can honestly say in my firings only a few got really upset with me. Most said they understood and even a few thanked me. The reason - in almost every case I gave the employee the opportunity to correct their behavior by way of a discussion and then an action plan with follow-up dates. In your situation it's probably a little late for that but if you think this employee has any value to your mom you might want to give her a fair opportunity to correct her behavior - in all likelihood if you've never said anything to her she probably doesn't realize she is doing anything wrong and is in danger of losing her job.
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I agree with what Garden Artist wrote. What I also feel is that you feel it is easier to let her go than to now become more assertive with your expectations. Tell her no more being late and no more upfront pay. Those seem to be the two main sticking points, since we really don't know if she took money.

Someone who spends large amounts of time in your home is going to become familiar. If you are also there most of the time, she will also become familiar with you. It will be up to you to maintain that professional distance. People who are born to wealth seem to be able to do this better than we common people do. I also have trouble doing this, because I tend to be overly friendly and accommodating. I can't expect someone else to pay the price for how I am. I would need to change myself.

The main question is if you have good cause to fire her, or are there things that she could correct if you tell her. I would say to give her that chance, then let her go if she doesn't correct the things that bother you.
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Donna-I think she does deserve an explanation, of sorts, as to why you're letting her go. I worked in Elder Care, and I wasn't nosy, but living within a family in close proximity for months causes a certain amount of "closeness" that you WANT, but you don't WANT them to know everything. It's a thin line.
As far as talking about personal prescriptions, that's a no-no, the possible theft, also a definite no-no, but the other stuff--my client was not on a budget of any kind, but I could NOT control her spending no matter how hard I tried to be sweet, coercive, etc. She once bought a case ( a case is 72!) of those Cadbury Crème Eggs for her grandkids' dessert. Couldn't talk her out of it.
I'd be gentle and maybe bring up some of these points. She's taking advantage of you, since she obviously feels comfortable in your home, and has gotten TOO comfy.
You sure you want/need to fire her? Can you maybe address these issues? Just thinking how I would have felt with my clients if somebody had issues with me and then just fired me with no pre-warning. Good Luck with this.
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I see you just posted while I was posting and plan to use the money excuse to fire her. In that case, you should at least offer to giver her good references if you're going to be dishonest about the situation. She has a right to that.
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I'm going to take a slightly different approach. You recognize that you're not addressing issues as they arise and let some situations get out of hand.

That isn't going to change unless you do, and you could continue to have problems with repeated caregivers.

What I also find disturbing is that you haven't discussed the issues with the caregiver to give her a chance to change. She may not even have any idea you're dissatisfied.

If you're going to be in the position of hiring someone, evaluate your own behavior, get advice on how to work with people who are employees, and stand up to situations that need addressing. Otherwise, this same situation could easily happen repeatedly.

Not everyone has natural instincts on how to be a good employer. It takes practice, sometimes years of it. Even people in business aren't always good employers, but they get evaluations from their supervisors and are often required to address their own behavior to achieve a more compatible working environment for all.

I personally feel that firing this woman without even discussing your complaints is unfair and irresponsible, even though you do admit that you're uncomfortable standing up to her. You can't complain about her behavior if you don't address your own, and recognize that your failure to resolve situations has allowed them to get out of hand.

If this situation were in a business, and the employee was fired w/o ever having been counseled, you might have created grounds for an unjust firing and lawsuit (unless you made it clear the employer/employee relationship was an at will one).

Don't forget also that a lot of people still write about their lives on social media; if she's in touch with other caregivers in your area, your unwillingness to address problems could easily be shared online. You might find it more difficult to hire someone.

Best address your own behavior now and recognize that you're partly to blame for this situation. That's not a criticism, just a blunt reminder that it's not all this person's fault.
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I have had this caregiver for about 9 months. So she's not new. We are very friendly with each other, so it is going to totally shock her. I really don't want to go into a why I'm letting her go bc I think it will open up the possibility of arguments about it. So I think the best thing to do is use finances as my reason.
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Aas eyerish says, "this isnt working out. Friday will have to be your last day". " I'm sorry, I can't listen to arguments now. That's my final decision."
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You didn't say how long this caregiver has been working for you so I don't know if this will apply but you can simply say something like, "This arrangement isn't going to work out. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to let you go." Or you can say what you wrote, that you have to cut back on caregivers due to expenses and can no longer afford to keep her.

Make it quick. If she argues with you tell her that your decision is final.
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