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I'm just trying to figure out if this is typical...


We've hired a geriatric social worker to help us navigate short/long term planning for my mother (recently diagnosed with dementia). I've had three meetings with this case worker so far. She's a perfect fit for my mother but personally I find her quite tedious.


For starters, she's always late to our meetings by a good 20-30 minutes. She also has a tendency to try to reschedule our meetings within an hour or so of the originally scheduled time. I've had to give her information repeatedly. She forgets about medical appointments that she's set up for us.


She's certainly knowledgeable and, again, great with my mother directly. But I'm juggling a very demanding full time career (that's paying for all of this), in addition to parenting the schedules of little kids, my husband's work commitments, etc. I find myself constantly having to say to her, "No, we can't adjust our schedule on short notice today. You need to get here now."


A friend suggested that maybe this is typical of the industry - I'm on their clock, they're not on mine. Have any of you had similar experiences? Do I just need to deal with the unpredictability?

Why pay someone to bring this much stress to an already stressful situation?

I think your friend may be a bit correct. However, it IS the SW's clock, her appointment that she made.....and is bringing this chaos to you by not keeping her own schedule.

One of the roles of a geriatric SW may be to help organize, organize a schedule.
How can this person do that if she herself is disorganized?

Imo, you just do not need this unpredictability.
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jjmummert Mar 10, 2019
Agree. Find someone who knows how to manage time.
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I can tell you I would NEVER hire someone that is that disrespectful of my time. You sort of expect it with a visit to the doctor because other visits can run long or the other person before you or one previous to that was late..(maybe this woman!) But if I have an appointment I am there on time, actually I am always early.

If you think this person is a good fit for your Mom and she will be dealing with your mom a bit more than you you could contact her and nicely explained what you have indicated here. That you find her time management poor, you have a schedule that you have to keep, commitments that you must be on time for. And that your time is just as valuable as hers. You will be left with no option but to find another care manager that can adhere to a schedule.
You can give her one more chance to prove to you that she can set a schedule and adhere to it.
What would happen if she were to take your Mom to an appointment for some test that needed to be done and she were 30 minutes late..even 10 minutes late for some tests they would have to reschedule the entire visit.
I think it is time someone had this discussion with this care "manager" I would imagine she treats all her clients this way. (I doubt she will have many for very long though)
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gdaughter Mar 10, 2019
Way too harsh a response not knowing the GCM perspective. She may have been giving time to others, although she may need to plan her schedule a bit better and pad it so that she has time to "run late." GCM is no different than the medical people you reference. They too are dealing with people who are slow and need more time to be tended to, which is exactly what makes them good and desirable to hire. I've been working with older people 25+ years...punctuality is lovely, but sometimes lacks compassion; rigidity is not all it is cracked up to be. If she treats all her clients with compassion and giving of her time...and that's IF, then she very well might be worth her weight in gold. So far this is a sort of one-sided version and we will not likely hear the GCM version.
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My biggest concern is how much extra are you having to pay because she is so disorganized. If you are charged hourly all of the reminders you have to give are time spent again and again.

Things happen and we all occasionally are running behind, however, this sounds chronic and probably won't change.

As far as her clock, your clock, you are the paying customer and that is all that needs to be said. It is called professional conduct to arrive timely for scheduled appointments.

If she brings chaos, she is not doing her job. You hired her to lessen the chaos, not increase it.

I would interview others and specifically ask about your current issues, ie how often can I expect you to be late for appointments? Am I required to remind you of appointments? What specifically would cause you to try to reschedule appointments on super short notice and how frequently does this happen? And anything that you feel should be addressed.

A good fit needs to fit every single person involved or it's not really a good fit.

Come back and let us know how you deal with this. Best of luck getting it sorted out.
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Maybe someone with better time management skills would be an even better fit for you and your Mom.
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Start off with stating that her disorganization is putting you at risk of losing your job and you and your family cannot be down an income due to her foolishness. Simply state you are not paying for this to happen.
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My mom had a GCM. Occasionally she would run late, this situation sounds like it is all the time. Things can happen with a GCM too. Another client could have been sent to ER, anything. Yes, they have to take care of emergencies first, but it is unlikely that GCM has emergencies as often as this sounds.

Sit down with GCM and explain this isn't working for you and she needs to fix this or you will have to get another. It sounds like GCM gets along well with mom, very important. How long has GCM been working with mom?
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I think this is unprofessional behavior and that the social worker is disrespectful of your time, i.e. disrespectful to you.

I don't know what your options are, if there's another social worker available to help manage your mom's case, but unless you take action this behavior will continue. Either politely say something to her or see if you can find another social worker.

Regardless of who is on whose clock, she's always late and she tries to reschedule at the last minute. That's not okay.
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gdaughter Mar 10, 2019
Devil's advocate: it may be out of consideration that when the worker gets backed up she offers to reschedule for the convenience of the employer (the poster). But it is not good if it is chronic, although as I responded prior, it may be based on the time of day, and perhaps because the poster has a rigid schedule she needs to tend to.
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I am a Geriatric Care Manager, what you are describing is not professional or acceptable! I would fire her immediately! I work with many GCM and I don't know of any of them who would do this to a client's family.
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Llamalover47 Mar 15, 2019
cjwilson: Agreed!
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When you say hired, is this a private SW you are paying or is it a SW you've been assigned?

If it's a private SW you are paying, then she should be charging enough to pad out her schedule with gaps to make sure appointments are on time. If she's a SW you've been assigned, then she probably can't. Things are unpredictable in SW. Things happen.
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You have hired her privately, so it is your choice to tolerate the issues, if you or your mother are a good fit personality wise, or not. What time of day are the visits scheduled for? Like many professionals and those in particular dealing with older adults, the later in the day something is scheduled, the greater the potential for appts taking longer and backing things up. This may be the kind of dedicated professional who gives 100%+ of herself, doesn't rush people or cut them off, listens...and runs late...and if one appt runs late, so do all the rest. If she is self-employed, she needs all of her appts. BUT I would not hesitate to share, kindly, that you do have a full load on your own plate, and what can "we" do to make it work better. She may also have set up a schedule to conserve time and mileage...maybe your location is at the end of her "route"/closer to home instead of further etc. I would just be honest. Of course there may be sacrifice on your end or your family members. Maybe earlier. Are you putting limitations on when she can come? You could be part of the problem. It sounds like you have small windows of opportunity with your own heavy schedule.
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