How do we deal with a caregiver who has become too attached to our parents?

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We have a caregiver for our elderly parents. She worked in daycare before, has no formal training but is a mom so things are assumed. Despite being told to stop asking my parents if "they need to go potty", "honey, sweetie, little one", wanting to only be with my parents. Not recognizing when she should step away...example when our cousins visited my Dad having not seen them in 50 years, she remained in my parents apartment until she was introduced. My cousin stated later "who was that woman insinuating herself into our family". This past weekend I arrived to give my dad a bath and asked her to leave and return in 2 hours. When she returned she apparently asked the receptionist "is she out of here yet". She then came to their room, came right in and over to my mom "has she had water" I said yes I just gave her a drink. She ignored me and gave my mom more water...not even noticing that her cannula was not on. I then noticed and put my mom's air on her....the girl then came right over and attempted to put the cannula with me already doing it. Then she walks over to my dad. I had washed his hair and it was a bit fly away....she proceeds to lick her palm and slick down his hair. I immediately put my hands up and said "can you just stop it, they are not your parents and you are not their daughter". My sister likes her because she will sub at anytime for my sister. I suspect my sister tells her to ignore what I ask and say but I don't know for sure. All I want is for her to observe established boundaries for a caregiver. No gifts or presents, no honey, sweetie crap, understand when to back off.

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It sounds to me you might be a little jealous. Accept the behavior for what it is and appreciate it. I know it can grate on your nerves. We have a house keeper one day a week and she stays 8 to 10 hours. She fawns over my husband, puts his bib on, wipes his mouth when he is eating, cuts his hair and manicures his toes. When she comes in to work about noon, she first fixes lunch. My husband is the king and I am a second thought. It bothered me at first but it makes my husband so happy, he has dementia and I don't fuss over him like she does. It gives me a days rest from caregiving and I appreciate what she does. She can baby him all she wants too and he eats it up. So try to use the woman to give you some needed relief. I mean this in only the nicest way.
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My thoughts take them or not... If she is good with your parents then so be it. Who are the cousins that have not seen them for you said 50 yrs to say anything???? So she is super attentive to them GREAT, be grateful that's a rare thing to find!
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Observe established boundaries... Which are what, exactly? If you feel that what your parents actually need is a discreet, self-effacing servant, good luck with finding one of those. What they have is a caregiver whose personality you don't happen to like. But if your parents do, that's what matters. Is this actually about your disapproving of your sister's choice?

There's nothing unreasonable about her expecting to be introduced to family members. On the contrary, what if your long-lost relatives had been left thinking "who was that rude woman who was in the apartment and buggered off the second we arrived without so much as a 'good morning'?" Then again, first you criticise her for failing to notice a problem immediately, then you criticise her for trying to remedy it once you'd drawn attention to it. She can't win, can she? The way you describe events, it does rather sound as if this poor woman is scared stiff of you. And you can't then be very surprised if she's rolling her eyes and hoping not to encounter you.

You don't have to like her, but do try to be less frigid and more appreciative of her efforts. You will then be better placed to discourage her from doing (I agree) irritating things such as addressing your parents as though they are slightly dim infants and spitting on her hanky to wipe their faces (eeuw!)
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^^^. Yes, what do your parents think of her. That is what really counts here.

My Dad fired so many very decent caregivers...finding one that he got along with was a major issue. It is completely possible that you would go through a large number before finding another your parents like. Be careful what you wish for.

You obviously do not like her fawning over your parents....but...you are not on the receiving end of this. Talk to your parents.

Also, your sister having someone to count on to cover on a minutes' notice is a great benefit. Are you prepared to do the same while a search goes on to find a replacement that meets everyone's criteria?

Sorry to sound harsh, and I do get that it grates on your nerves.....but consider the possible alternatives.
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Well, thank God someone cares for your aging parents! Of all the nightmares out there, this kind of person who actually cares is among the very select few among many who actually care because many don't. Yes there should be boundaries though. You can set boundaries without being hateful because you don't want to drive away the actual help you need especially during this time. There are so many caregivers out there and so very few who actually do it from the heart, and it sounds to me like this person really does care. However, you really do need to take precautions that it doesn't go beyond caring and into coercion and wrongful gain to steal family inheritance.

What you can do is express your appreciation that she actually cares enough to take care of your aging parents.

Also acknowledge her past experience as a mother and daycare worker.

Express your appreciation for her position in life and how far she has come.

Thank her that she has cared enough to care for so many others and even your parents. What you may want to do is to guide her as to when it's time to step away and just give it a rest. If you have her contact info, let her know that you will call her and that again she needs to know when to step away. What you can do is if you're expecting family over to your home, I would go ahead and relieve her first and send her home before calling your family. This is how I would handle it. If she won't leave, you can have your visitors back you up after a private conversation about what's going on. Just ask your guests to please help and if they care enough about you, they will step up to the plate and support you in any way needed.

I don't know if this caregiver is a professional or not, but professional caregivers are not going to want a bad name and definitely not a bad report getting back to their boss
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There's an inherent conflict in the roles and nature, for caregiving works best with a relationship, and if a caregiver is there over a long time, and acts attentive and friendly, a bond will grow between them and the elder. I find this is healthy, it helps a caregiver feel needed, useful, helps them be alert to any changes, and to help the elder cope with changes that might otherwise give them anxiety.

Not easy for family, but they can't have it both ways, and sadly, some tend to speak as if they can, as if they can be there rarely, yet judge and criticize a person who is.

For the family, there is a sense of intrusion into their world - but they are the ones who said, caring for this family member is too much for me, I want outside help. My stepfather was able to live on his own for about 10 years after my mother died, because he was helped by a full time caregiver. We all knew we were lucky that she was available, and the one brother most closely connected to our stepfather, was grateful and kept in touch and respected her.

The rest of us... I hated the way she decorated the house at Xmas - our mother loved natural decorations, for this woman, glittery plastic was just fine. It was hard for stepfather to talk for long, or very loud, so visits with him, involved her sitting in, and translating or speaking for him....

Life has so many dimensions and change is constant. I only visited once a year or every two years - yet it was still hard for me, for when I did make the 7 hour drive, I was eager to renew some old family connections and feelings of home that would be familiar and protect me - instead I felt I was arriving in a stranger's home. She would have listened to him, and would tell me how he often praised me, as if I was her daughter too - yech!!

Years later, I regretted any signs I had shown of my folly, difficulty recognizing a changed situation and new person, and let go my understandable but unrealistic longing for a home after my mother had died. When I became a home caregiver myself, and developed close and helpful relationships with several elders, kept them motivated, healthy and growing much longer than expected - I took pride in my work, and my elders became friends in my own life.

I've discovered with a shock - that an aging caregiver can be a pretty lonely person, for those wonderful seniors, that were not "ours" to begin with, but sometimes for 3-6 years, became "ours" in important ways - they all died. I've gone to some funerals, and realized with a shock, that even though the elder knew, cared and trusted me, the family didn't know me, and suddenly I was nobody, in a home that I had helped take care of for years. Years later, I ask myself why I'm not very sociable - and realize, I had close friends with a long series of elders - I count myself fortunate, and i always worked to maintain boundaries and respect for all - but as I succeeded, I felt part of things, and then families move on, stay in touch with each other, and have nothing to do with me. I tend to think that humans are naturally designed to live in villages, stable villages over time, so that different people can fill different roles as needed, and not be cut off as our professional leaders expect.

Last note, I found the best caregivers for my disabled brother, whom I placed 5 hours away from me, in country settings. The best caregivers who reassured him and noticed changes that could disrupt his progress - were those who took a particular interest in him, one borrowed videotapes from him. Meanwhile the professionals would not lift a finger to help him, after the clock struck their hour, drive past him even if they saw him walking outdoors to get home in bad weather. I understand boundaries, we just need to find ways to include humanity, care, love, respect for all parties - along with them.
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When the caregiver speaks to your parents with those phrases and terms you mentioned, it is called Elderspeak and VERY DEMEANING. The caregiver is not demonstrating ethical care or dignity to your parents when she talks to them this way. Also by doing this she is creating a pathological dependency in them and this is a precursor to elder abuse. I would not continue to employ her. Your parents are vulnerable. You need to be very watchful. I have seen elder abuse before and it starts with emotional exploitation.
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I speak from experience. There are two ways of looking at this situation. First of all, if she does a good job and takes good care of the patient, that is a plus. Perhaps she doesn't know she should step out when family is present. We have no idea how she was brought up. I would politely tell her you want some "private" time with your patient and she should respect that - if not, make it plain to her in firm words - she must excuse herself. Perhaps at the end of the visit, you could include her in some coffee/cake time before the visit is over. On the negative side - and only time will tell - some caretakers will deliberately endear themselves to the patient to such a degree that they have a hidden motive. I was friends with someone and was her guardian and POA for 28 years. In the beginning someone like this literally "took over" (I worked full time and looked after her at night and on the weekends) and before long I discovered some horrible things, i.e. she was being paid cash by the patient AND getting checks from the patient (being paid twice for the same work). Eventually I fired her and her son came and threatened me (I was terrified) until I told him I would discuss things with the attorney and get back to him. Well, he ran....he had a long criminal history. End of that. Then later someone managed to extort about $l00,000 from the patient an wrote a large check and cashed it. After six months of sheer h*ll, I got the money back into the patient's account. So what I am saying is: it might be genuine caring and a desire to "share" in the family atmosphere OR it could be someone wanting to eventually take what they can get. I can't tell - but beware is all I can say.
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I've been a nurse 40 yrs, which included Private Duty nursing in peoples homes. The relationship between caregivers & family is a delicate balance. 1) It is in the patient & families best interest to find, and keep, competent caring help who is also punctual & dependable. That sounds great however, anyone reading this probably knows that bundle is NOT easy to find. Therefor, all family needs to try hard to get along with the caregiver(s) & attempt to make their jobs as simple & pleasant as possible. 2) It is in the Caregivers best interest to make the patient & family happy, comfortable, & confident in the behavior & decisions of that caregiver. If the above two are not kept in balance frustration, probably on both sides, will increase to the level you are currently at.
Problem: a) You want caregiver to stop treating parents like children, b) You want family to have more privacy when visiting with parents, c) You want Caregiver to stop talking & treating parents like a child.
Solutions: a) Have family only meeting (include your parents unless you think it will stress them out too much) & decide if you want to try to work things out with current caregiver or find someone else now. (No matter that decision, still do the remaining suggestions). b) Type out a Caregiver / Family Contract, with what family expects from the Caregiver [ EXAMPLE: * Speak to 'client' as an adult (NO baby talk...). * NO gifts are to be given to or received from Caregiver & client/clients family (this includes everything except special occasion card...), * When family arrives, there will be a short Report given between Caregiver & family to update each on current care & any pending issues, then the Caregiver is to go ___________ until _________ (the Caregiver will / will not be paid during the time the Family is caring for clients & Caregiver is not.
c) NO cellphone use while on duty, except _________. d) TV use is for client, & is to be on channels that client desires. e) Fluids are to be offered to client(s) every 2 hours.... f) Clients meals are to be prepared by __________ . g) Caregiver is expected to arrive shift within 5 minutes of start of shift ________ , and leave shift within ________minutes of end of shift _________. h) Caregiver is to not have her family, friends, ... in clients room or around client during work shift or any other time, except __________.
i) Client(s) family member __________ will pay Caregiver a salary of $______ every _________week/week(s) . Also Caregiver will receive bonus pay of $_______per hour of work on ________ Holidays... j) Family has provided __________ place for Caregiver to store her personal meal/food brought for that days shift. k) Family has provided ________ place for Caregiver to sit / stay /... while family is visiting. l) Family has approved Caregiver to adjust air conditioning/heat controls to keep temperature between _____________ .
Things to Remember: Never yell, curse,... at the Caregiver whether alone or in front of others, and Never allow the Caregiver to do the same to you or the clients. The Caregiver is your employee, be a boss any Caregiver would love to work for (Caregivers often know other Caregivers so you getting a bad reputation is not in your benefit). Competent, punctual, available on short notice, caring, fun, loving, clean, intelligent Caregivers, that make the client smile and the day go by quicker are difficult to find. It is usually best to try to work out any problems, and learn to compromise a little (Caregivers are people too, & also have families, get sick,..) is usually in the family's best interest, plus in the client's best interest because they like familiarity and tend to dislike change.
If your situation does not improve, find someone else.
Also remember, if you want professional work, hire a professional.
Obviously always be on alert for any signs of Elder Abuse (Google it), whether the Caregiver is a male or female.
I wish you all well.
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Do you have a position description for this person?
Do you have performance standards that are clear and explicit?
Have you ever set out what she should do in unexpected situations, such as a visit from a family member?
Do you have a clear payment policy,e.g. does she get paid when you ask her to leave?
Did you interview several persons before she was hired?
Have you had a conversation about this caregiver with your parents?
Is she honest or does she steal from your parents?
If your parents like her, would you be willing to find a training program so that she could improve her skills and knowledge of the elderly?
In closing, I feel that your nose is pressed to the glass about this caregiver. You need to step away and evaluate what she brings to the table as well as her shortcomings.
Unless you make your expectations clear, she will not know what you expect from her. Caregivers are not mind readers!
Good luck
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