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Yes, it is elder abuse, I am the elder, please don't make me clean anymore, come and get me, arrest me, get me the heck outta here. (I am the caregiver). Lol.
Helpful Answer (17)

People's standards of cleanliness vary considerably. What you consider "unsanitary" might be someone else's "mildly cluttered." So without more detail it is hard to know how serious this is. It would have to be pretty bad to be considered "neglect."

As the others have pointed out, the first question is, is it appropriate to expect this caregiver to do housekeeping at all?

When my husband developed dementia I was overwhelmed. The first help I got was a housekeeper for several hours a week. Without her help I'm afraid the bedding would go weeks without being changed, and vacuuming was not even on my priority list, nevermind near the top. I was an excellent caregiver. I was a fair housekeeper, too, but I couldn't do everything. I chose to focus on my husband's care. I have no regrets.

One of our sons took over household maintenance. Some of the things he did I could have done myself -- that is, I had the knowledge and skills, but I did not have the TIME!

You don't say how seriously the care receiver is impaired and what kind of help is required. That makes a difference, also.

We can probably give more specific answers if you want to share the details of the situation.
Helpful Answer (13)

Dear Virgil1,

It sounds like this caregiver needs more help with maintaining the house. It can be overwhelming. It always feels like ones to do list is never ending. Are you able to offer any assistance on this front? Hire a house cleaner to come in? Find another caregiver?

For myself I like to keep things clean and clutter free, but I also know not everyone feels the same way. Maybe this person is overwhelmed and needs more assistance.
Helpful Answer (11)

Goodness, I hope not. I might be in trouble.

Really, I keep things reasonably clean, but I can understand how someone could let it go. It gets monotonous to spend life cleaning the bathroom and mopping. Are you asking about a paid caregiver or a family caregiver? A paid caregiver shouldn't be expected to clean house unless it is in the contract. A family caregiver who is giving a lot of time may need to hire a maid to come in to help. Some caregivers take care of the house, the yard, the business, and all the chores that need to be done. It can be overwhelming at times. Families usually have a division of chores, but when there is only one person, everything falls on them.

Is the person being cared for unable to help? Is there any family willing to help? Would hiring a housekeeper to come in every week be a good answer? We need a lot more information before we could provide any meaningful answer to the question asked.
Helpful Answer (11)

There is a difference between messy and unsanitary. I have read on this forum of homes covered in human and animal waste, infested with bugs and rodents, or so filled with hoarded items they have become a tripping and fire hazard, any of these could be considered abuse.
Helpful Answer (8)

Oh, lordy, I hope not either. I'm a single mom, with two kids still in school, pets, and taking care of my mom at home. I pay a person to come help while I'm at work, and she does some laundry (there's always laundry!), and will make my mom's meals and take out her garbage, but I don't expect her to do more. I don't have the energy to take care of the whole house, but I make sure the areas for my mom are clutter free, no tripping hazards, bathroom is clean, etc. Hopefully, that's enough.
Helpful Answer (8)

No ONE person an do it ALL by them selves.
Care-giving is a full time job in and of itself.
then you add any one or more of the following:
A job
A family
Your own health challenges
Mental stress
And that is, as they say, is the Tip of the Iceberg.
As long as the person being cared for is
Clean, dry, fed, needs attended to
In many ways that is better than what I did for myself while I was caring for my Husband.
What I would consider abuse would be obviously physical abuse, verbal abuse (not the occasional outburst!) mental abuse, financial abuse would be the top 4.
If the house or apartment is not habitable for any number of reasons then something needs to be done but if we are talking dishes from breakfast in the sink at dinnertime, laundry from yesterday that needs to be put away, a full garbage can that will be taken out once I get my Husband settled down for the night well those are minor.
The leaking roof, the broken windows, the furnace or AC that does not work. These need to be addressed but would not be "abuse" unless the conditions remain unchanged and pose an immediate concern for health or welfare. If this is the case then repairs need to be made or other living arrangements should be discussed. (AC broken in winter not a problem, in summer another story)
Living in a place that is not "fit" stairs, narrow halls small bathrooms for someone that is in a wheelchair is not abuse but again, steps should be made to make the home safe for both the person being cared for and the person doing the care-giving.
If you are thinking of reporting someone please have a sit down talk first. Reporting someone for abuse is a bell that can not be un-rung!
Helpful Answer (8)

Oh, it can be, absolutely. At one point, I found at least 50 pair of poo filled underwear stuffed all over my mom's room and bathroom. She didn't know what to do with them any longer and the relative 'taking care of her' and living there rent free wouldn't even go into her room because of the filth. I moved her out, but looking back, I wish I had filed charges.
Helpful Answer (5)

I agree that it depends on the circumstances. Honestly, between the emotional stress of watching my husband continually improve, then decline;waking in the middle of the night to the smell telling me it is time to shower and change him, change the bed linens, clean the carpet, then falling back into bed; then cooking and cleaning the kitchen several times a day, there is little energy left for anything else. Fortunately, we can afford a caregiver a few hours a week for respite carebut most caregivers feel their job is to watch the "patient" (even to the point of sitting in the chair watching him sleep) and leave the housekeeping to the already fully stretched and exhausted caregiver. It is a problem stretching the budget to encompass a housekeeper AND a respite caregiver.
Helpful Answer (3)

Hi, valuable topic! I agree that before any reporting, have a sit down talk first - AND make a list of chores that need doing, consider if twice a week, or daily. I've done home health care and it helped the whole process when house cleaning was done regularly - but when different shifts of caregivers are involved, some may be superb, while others don't notice mess, dust. Then, allocate some range of chores to each day of the week: a Monday chore, Tues, Wed, etc - one day empty wastebaskets, another do laundry, another day dust and vacuum, etc. Adding in one chore is often possible on a caregiver's shift, and working in a setting that is kept up keeps everyone more positive. Consider how much time it will take to cook, prepare meals too.

And make sure the care tasks are also on the large list - once I was fired from a job by a working woman who had left me instructions to change the sheets on the bed. However, that day, the father in law went to have a cataract surgery, and when he came home I found it was more important to sit with him, because I noticed he kept scratching at his eye, and wanted to take the protective patch off. Just giving him a single instruction, worked only for 5 min - it was necessary to sit with him and keep him occupied, so he would relax and the eye operation, however minor, would heal. I also was always client feelings focused, and that was my expertise, but busy families sometimes thought they should be the only ones focused on client feelings, or they overestimated accuracy in reports they got from their elders, not remembering the tendency of elders to seek family affirmation, and thus to speak to expectations, not see the work involved for others, who care for them.
Helpful Answer (2)

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