Follow
Share

I'm an independent in-home caregiver. If I'm working during mealtime should they provide the food or should I take my own? I've been in both situations and wasn't sure which was considered more appropriate. What if they want me to take them out to eat, should they buy mine or should I?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
You are being paid to do a job and should bring your own meal. The elderly person is essentially a patient whose mind may not be sound enough to comprehend. There are also family members that might see this as taking advantage in some cases. I would not accept food especially being taken out for meals. I would establish this as policy. If you take them to a meal, do not order or get separate checks. You aren't their date, you are being paid to help someone who is having trouble helping themselves.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My main caregiver for my mother was initially hired as more of a companion as Mom was still quite capable. I encouraged her to share meals with my mother so that mom was not eating alone.

When DH and I went out of town, she insisted on cooking for my kids as well even though I was just going to leave pizza money.

She is family and I have included her in all meals where she happened to be with us. She does NOT take advantage.

We have taken her to Disney several times and we do not allow her to pay for anything except her own souvenirs. We provide park tickets and meals (she shares a room with Mom). We would also pay if we went out to dinner back home.

When I hired this latest batch of caregivers, I included in my orientation that they could help themselves to coffee and tea but were expected to provide their own meals.

They key is to communicate directly at the beginning of the arrangement.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is just my opinion but I'm the client's family. My father has dementia, my mother died a few years back with lung cancer. Paid caregiving was something new for us and we hadn't had any time to research caregiving. Our situation is a little different in that my father lives with us and we have paid daily caregivers. Unfortunately our caregivers don't really cook. They're able to cook the breakfast meal all the other meals tend to be what's convenient for them to put together for lunch. At first our caregivers would bring their own meals. Ocassionally I would offer food and somehow it morphed into us providing her breakfast and lunch as well. There were also times when she would take leftovers home and asked if she could donate some of the food to a needy family. I don't mind helping out from time to time but now it's getting out of hand. We've had to go to pre-preparing my father's meals and having to label everyone's leftovers so that she won't eat them. I've been given lists of food to purchase as "we're running low" but these are not the foods that my father eats, they're the ones that she eats! I was raised to offer food to others but when they start taking advantage that's another story. Suffice to say, it's best if you come to an arrangement before signing on with a family so there's no trouble later.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

As an independent, I do eat what I prepare but I try to eat t he least amount and not the best piece of chicken, you know what I mean. Last night I ate the back and a wing of a rotisserie chicken that I had prepared. The client had the thigh and leg and breast. His daughter ate something too. But my client ALWAYS wants me to eat with him, even if I don't want to eat. He insists I eat and is offended if won't go to dinner with him or won't accept food from him. It is very upsetting sometimes as I have a slight weight issue that creeps up when I don't exercise. So I've lately told him to please understand if I don't eat because I am on a diet. So I sort of have the opposite problem I think than most of the comments above. My client is extremely generous with his food, money and time and would absolutely like it if I were his spouse. So we have other issues as well, but I navigate these things the best I can. He is 84 and can't catch me, if you know what I'm saying. So we muddle through. He's the type of man who believes the woman is weak and idiotic, so again, we have many issues. But I've told him lately to please not be offended if I don't eat his food. That went over okay.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Atta girl Pam! Thanks for sharing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Our home caregiver for my dad did both.. but she often brought home cooked soup or desserts she made to share with my folks! So we were happy to have her eat her with them if she wanted. She was willing to all the cooking, but mom liked to do it.. so they shared. We had her her 8 hours a day 3 or 4 days a week, and she was always welcome to eat our food. But this was made clear up front. We considered her part of our family. If she took folks out at thier request ( rarely) they paid , she was helping them anyway!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You're getting a paycheck. Last thing you need is a client complaining you're eating them out of house and home. ... It happens.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Get it from the horse's mouth. Ask the client how s/he feels about you bringing your own food. Most of them will probably insist you eat what they're having since you're preparing it anyway. In any case, make a habit of carrying snack items to keep your stomach busy until you get home.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks for the thoughts, they are helpful. In the case that I did eat with my client I was doing all the meal prep and she wanted me to eat with her. The jobs where I did take my own food I was just warming already prepared food and I was fine with that. However the one job I would occasionally work 24 hours or even 48 plus hrs straight if another caregiver was sick or gone. In that case I felt it was a little much to expect me to have all my own food.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I am going off previous experience, we had a caregiver I did not like at all. She was fake and all concerned. I had a ritual of how I cooked...enough leftovers for the old folks to have for lunch or dinner the next day. It started gradual but it worked up to me making 3 pounds of shrimp for dinner for the ex, his parents and the worker with no leftovers. I ended up finding out the worker was taking them home or to other clients' homes. I am not saying the op is the same way, but quite a few will abuse it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I was concerned about the same problem you mentioned Tacy, caregivers who overstep and eat their poor clients out of house and home. Sharing a sandwich and a bowl of soup is one thing, preparing what would be enough for a big family and gobbling up everything not consumed by the client is something else. I would think that anyone thoughtful enough to post a question about it would belong to the first category!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My opinion is a little biased since I was the person preparing and purchasing the food. No, a client should not have to provide meals for a caregiver. At any other job, your employer would not provide a daily meal. That being said, I am not referring to water or coffee or something like that. I would get extremely mad when caregivers sat down and ate several helpings of dinner daily. I know alot of seniors are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to feed their workers. If it is offered to you on special occasions or a dessert or snack, there is no problem with accepting the offer. I do agree that if you are taking your client out to eat, they should pay for your meal.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My Dad had paid caregivers from an Agency, and during breakfast, lunch, and dinner the caregivers were required to bring their own food and snacks. And not sit at the kitchen table with the patient. Dad felt lost eating alone, but those were the rules for this Agency.

Once in a while, if a caregiver would take Dad out for a doctor appointment or a hair cut, Dad would offer to buy them lunch at McDonald's or Burger King. That worked out fine.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Good question. I'm betting you're going to get a variety of answers as this is an opinion based thing - you being an independent contractor and all - then you'll have to decide what you're comfortable with. My opinion - you should not have to personally occur any expense beyond your usual cost of eating. Also, I think it can depend on what your client is comfortable with. So again - my opinion: if they are eating at home, you are preparing their meal, do they want you or need you to sit at the table with them? Given those circumstances I think you should be able to eat from the same prepared meal at no cost to you. If they don't want/need you at the table - bring your own brown bag or meal to heat up and find a quite space to enjoy it. If you are being asked to accompany them to a restaurant then they should pay for your meal out. Restaurant meals are likely to be more costly than your own brown bag and you shouldn't have to bear that expense. And really, what else are you suspose to do when they eat out - wait in the car until their done? If that were the expectation then I doubt these are the type of people one would enjoy working for! Good luck with your decision - you show thoughtfulness in considering this dilemma.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think it depends how many hours you are there and how many days per week, and of course it should be agreed upon before you sign on. If you are only there for a few hours that happen to fall over meal times then I think you would be expected to either bring your own meal or defer your meal times until later, lots of jobs schedule meal breaks at irregular hours. If, on the other hand, you are there full days every day and are preparing and serving meals I think it would be appropriate to eat what they do.
As for dining out, they should pay for your meal. Most restaurants aren't going to be happy if you brown bag it, and you shouldn't have to shoulder the costs of a meal that is job related and may not be within your budget.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.