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Typically I work with elderly people but was called in to a case with a client who's regular caregiver couldn't be there and he had previously cycled through caregivers that he didn't like, so they asked me if I'd be willing to take the shift. Aside from location and time I didn't get much info but accepted regardless. If I'm going to work with a client for more than one shift, I selectively (name, health concerns, and tasks) read their care plan as to not make any preconceived notions about our interactions, since mine are often, very different from previous caregivers. This client was very different from my previous clients, only a few years off my own age, positive, very engaging. We instantly connected on a level that is uncommon for a caregiver client relationship. We talked about it and both agreed that we make really good friends, and enjoy each other's company and interactions. We are similar in a lot of aspects and we have fun. Over the few days I was with him we became rather good friends, and he expressed interest in maintaining a level of friendship after our professional interactions end. I would love to be friends with this infectiously positive person that I came to be pretty close with in the brief time we worked together. I know there are rules about stuff like that but don't exactly know what they are. My company, even in it's name, targets seniors. I understand the ideaology behind not having a friendship with seniors, as often unpredictable things happen and it's important to not get attached, but personally I don't see any problem with two adults who are similar in age and demographics can't both agree to be friends after care. I do acknowledge though that everything is red through Rose colored glassed.


Why does making friends as an adult have to be so complicated?


>.<

Talk to the Agency you work for, let them know that you would like to have a personal friendship with this person and therefore would not be able to take any additional assignments as his caregiver. Keep your relationship strictly personal, do not offer any assistance for tasks that the caregivers would or should be providing. Do not discuss the caregivers with him. It's going to be a thin line trying to balance what you do as a caregiver for others, working for the agency that services him and your personal friendship.
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Reply to EllensOnly
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I "hit it off" with a counselor some years ago. We talked about it and that we both would like the relationship to continue as a friendship. The guidance in her profession included a six month waiting period after our professional relationship had ended, There was also mention of no undue influence from her to me and safety in that I would not sue for such. We both felt very confident that these issues would not arise, so we waited for 6 months then went out for lunches. Key here is that our professional relationship had ended.
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Reply to golden23
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What the rules are...

As long as you continue to work for this company, and as long as your client continues to be a client of the company, I think you will have to consider a personal relationship with him as out of the question. Nothing to do with respective ages or how well you get on, it's about professional boundaries and that's that.

Of course, there's nothing to stop you changing your job; and presumably there's nothing to stop him switching to another provider, is there? But myself, I think I'd let time pass and see what happens. You never know.

Teachers marry students, doctors marry patients, lawyers marry clients. But not until AFTER they have clearly and unquestionably passed beyond being in a position of trust.
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We solved the problem of people trying to take advantage of me while at the point of not being competent. I turned over all of our property to my DW and we put it in a Living Trust in her name, and she is the First Trustee, as soon as I was diagnosed with early onset ALZ. There are a couple of benefits to taking these actions. When the patient dies, no probate required, patient is not competent, he/she doesn't have anything they can have swindled away from them. via my Medical Directive, and DPOA, she will make all of the decisions that need to be made on my behalf and nobody can interfere with it, even our adult children. The children have studied all of these papers, been given a chance to ask questions and told what their roles will be and not be as life goes on.

We've gone through the Trust with them, engaged them in discussion and all of our wishes are spelled out in black and white, finished with a statement saying, my DW has made no provisions for me in the Trust. I sleep well at night. Hopefully, people reading this will take action to button up those holes in planning their later years which just might arrive, earlier than you ever thought it would present themselves.
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I speak from first hand experience as I live in a health care facility because I can't walk due to the effect of an old spinal injury. I will be 86 but still do all of the things I did some 50 years ago and act the same as I did when I was in my 30's. My mind is almost a photographic memory - better than I was younger. I worked and still do at one job for 50 years (I will never stop - I help animals from a local to an international level and did so even while I was working full time before I retired - I am the president of my own organization, The Animal Defenders, with many people being involved) and I am also a Power of Attorney for l4 years to two people whom I take care of. I just finished six years of online college courses in December and still have another year of computer lessons. I drive, go out to eat by myself and am immersed in all kinds of hobbies and care for myself 99.%. I use a walker and an electric wheelchair to get around. All but two friends have passed on and they are far away. I am very lonely as everyone here is either ancient and feeble or has dementia. I am truly the "fish out of water" for my age and everyone thinks it is wonderful what I do and can handle being so old.. I can't find clubs outside that are suitable for me because I can't walk without a walking aide. I am close to many staff members here and we would both love to be friends and share an occasional meal outside - but they are terrified. Were I a nomal "senior", I could understand but I am a highly intelligent, motivated, individual and I am so lonely for a friend to occasionally eat with me. No one budges and I get lonelier every day and more resentful. What do you suggest? Thank god I keep very busy with plenty of things to do, and art work and loving my kitty but it would be nice to have a companion once in a while. Any ideas?
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Reply to Riley2166
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bettina Mar 12, 2019
Riley2166, Kudos to you!!! For staying alert involved and active. When people on the forum and elsewhere start talking about life expectancy cut offs at 75, I am always surprised. There are so many active and contributing seniors into their 80's 90's and beyond. Some who continue businesses and with their jobs even past 100. I know of one avant garde composer, sorry can't remember his name, who continued writing excellent compositions well into his 100's. His last written at 105 was his best.

I've seen a similar dynamic at the facility my father resides in. So many residents become all about their meals, TV and doctors appts. Lack of mobility compounds the issue. I wish I knew which way to advise you.
Perhaps one of the nearby churches might be helpful. Don't know what your energy levels are, but you could also volunteer with literacy project. or tutoring, etc You honestly could help a younger person and/or family as much as you are helped yourself. I think many younger people crave contact with their wise and still able elders. I see this dynamic with care givers and the residents. who retain their zeal for living . Good luck to you!!
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Your ‘friendship’ is based on a unequal power dynamic. Even if this individual needs less hands on care than your usual elderly patients, you are still in the dominant position with the client depending on you, which puts him in a vulnerable spot.

I was at a workshop this weekend where this was discussed. I worked in medical and counseling offices for 20 years, there is a moral and ethical line that is easy to cross. I met a great deal of people I would have loved to develop friendships with, but it would not have been appropriate.

Even my current ‘best friend’ I met through work, but it was not until my last day of work that I told her I would like to be friends.

Have you spoken with your supervisor at work about this? Have you spoken with your wife, his partner?

There is one thing that stands out as odd in your post. You state that he cycled through care givers, yet is ‘infectiously positive.’ Why the prior problems with caregivers?

Is there any possibility of him ditching his current caregiver in favour of you, so the two of you can hang out while you work?

I guess I am seeing lots of red flags, not rose coloured glasses.

If this friendship is meant to be it must be disclosed to your employer, his current caregiver, your spouse. You should refuse any further shifts with him and socialize outside of work hours.
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Reply to Tothill
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If he's well off, it's the easiest way to inherit the estate..marry it. I actually knew a nurse who did that. She no longer has to work. She too formed a relationship with a patient.
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Reply to cetude
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Love is love...follow your heart-enough said. Don't turn it into a drama, go with what feels right.
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Reply to Cherrysoda
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Such a fine line.

Like you said, it really is hard to find someone you instantly click when you are an adult. Its even hard seeing those friends you had in hischool and college.

Does your agency frown on outside friendships? This man is probably lonely and limited when it comes to socialization. You are already married so he knows nothing can come of it. So I say, why not. What you do out of work hours is really none of the agencies business.

I friend at work married his nurse. Another friends brother met his wife, RN, while my friend was going under chemo so why can't you find a new friend.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Boundaries..
This is/can be a difficult subject.
The CNA that took care of my Husband was a friend prior to his status on Hospice and we had lost contact for years so when she came to the door the first day I was blown away.
We discussed the situation, I did not mind. She informed her supervisor and she remained our CNA.
She is still a friend.
It can work.
If you are not their full time caregiver I would think that being friends would not be a problem. However....
Can you be friends and NOT get into the "caregiver role" when you are socializing with your "friend"
Can you deal with the situation as a "friend" as this person declines? Being a caregiver is difficult enough without entangling with personal emotions. (one of the reasons I am in awe of Hospice workers, they often have patients that live a long time how can they not be effected emotionally when a long time patient dies)
You mention in your profile you are seeing a counselor, this might be something that you want to bring up at your next appointment. Your job is difficult enough both physically and emotionally without making it more difficult.
But in the end it is your decision, I would go easy and see how it goes.
And you are right making new friends as an adult can be very difficult.
You might want to try something like Meetup.com
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Kole1820 Mar 8, 2019
It is very hard having older clients and not getting attached. I have a few consistent clients who are on hospice as well. With them, you go I'm with your walls built high so unexpected occurrences don't break you. With him, his "care" is so miniscule, cleaning up his house a little, driving around, and his biggest part of care is companionship. Additionally he will be getting his original caregiver back and he [caregiver] would be doing all the caring while he's on shift, so our friendship would be strictly that.
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I see no reason why you can't be friends, the only complication I can see is if their family sees you as an inappropriate rival and replacement for his wife, so you might be wise to keep your interactions public and low key. Would this even be a question if you were both women?
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Kole1820 Mar 8, 2019
Im a female married to another female so that particular concern is negated haha
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Most of the problems raised on this site are from family members who have had no real contact with the carer involved, and who have good reason to suspect the 'instant friendship'. Would it be worth asking the person to help you meet their family, so that you make your own interests and ethics clear to them. Perhaps you could discuss financial safeguards.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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With or without impairments or even age, people bonding because they have that special connection is really a great thing! I've had friends many years older that I clicked with so well the age difference disappeared. Either way hope you have a chance to deepen and enjoy your friendship :)
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Reply to bettina
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I think I'm in a unique position to answer this question as my father has been in the habit of befriending care givers, and service people who have not had the same altruistic impulse as you have described here. Unfortunately there are unscrupulous individuals who wish to avail themselves to any hand outs possible, and the elderly are perfect targets. People such as myself have been put in the position of having to deter care givers posing as friends stealing their parents possessions, attempting to take control of assets, selling fraudulent products or expensive unnecessary services. I've put in the middle of some unhappy care givers who thought a few extra hours of "free" care would parlay into a free car, money, a lucrative low effort gig, help with pyramid schemes, or the ultimate cash cow of control of assets. These are only some of the difficulties I've had with my father's care giving "friends" and a few long lost relatives (people who were never in our lives until he became quite elderly) Thus some of us family members are wary.

There are also family members who want to isolate their parents so they do not
get attached to anyone else. Either due to jealousy or again worrying about money problems from a selfish angle. All of this clearly does not apply to your intentions, but I give you these details so you might understand why family members might not be so welcoming. It is such a problem that some facilities and agencies have strict rules about off the clock contact.

Basically the old adage of a few rotten apples..... Not to discourage your desire
for friendship with your client. It sounds like it is mutual and a very lovely thing.
Please don't let what I've said deter you. Just understand why you might run into
some side eye. Good luck, I say be friends with him :)
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Kole1820 Mar 7, 2019
The thing about this client is he is a few years younger than my older sister. So he's young enough to be my sibling, and he doesn't have the cognitive impairments that people get as they age. I also do see where you come from as I have seen it with caregivers I have worked alongside. It's disgusting I'm so sorry that you have had some of the bad apples. I hope you have found one that is true of heart and good to your father.
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