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I feel like I tried everything to get my client to use my assistance for her real needs. I wanted to be a caregiver to help those in need. I have too good of a heart sometimes and I am not happy with the client I am with because I feel like she isn't using me to her real needs. I am constantly being told to do my chores when I approach her with conversation. She literally gave me a toothbrush to scrub. I reached out to my agency 3 times but pretty much just received a giggle from them. A few times I wanted to quit and then I feel bad and stay because for some reason she likes me and I actually do like her. As a caregiver we cook meals- she doesn't want that, we assist to appts- she doesn't want that. Help with exercise and mobility? -She doesn't want that. ALL I do is clean. Because I have been treated like a maid for so long I feel like I am slacking on my real job. They also allow clients to cancel all the time. They cancel every week, just because so it makes it hard for me to take a day off when I really need one. I went to work so many times in pain because they cancel so much I can't afford to take off when I should. I am beginning to think being an independent caregiver is better. I thought an agency would provide a sense of professionalism and stability but the miscommunication between them, the client and myself is stressful.

If you are going to be a housekeeper, hire yourself out at the going rate of $30/hr & quit the 'caregiving agency' right away! Otherwise, let the agency know you'd like a caregiving position and not a cleaning job.
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Kashi60 Jan 12, 2020
We hired a helper from a caregiving agency for my mom. She does a little bit of everything. She is only paid $10/hour by the agency so she could probably charge more as a cleaning person..
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I'd leave this position and find one that puts your caregiving 'talents' to use.

Now, having said that, I worked Elder Care for a few years. They ALL expected light-to moderate housecleaning. They weren't obnoxious about it and I brought a LOT of it on myself by offering. My client would have a bladder accident and I'm going to leave a soaking wet carpet and go home?? Not on your life. I'd haul out the carpet cleaner and get all the urine out AND do a once over with 'pet pee' cleaner. The family was beyond grateful---b/c the whole enormous house would have smelled to high heaven.

My client LOVED to bake, but without me doing 90% of the work, she couldn't do anything. So she'd take charge and boss me around and I made everything in the world she wanted.

After a few months, the family was so comfortable with me I had the garage door code, the key to the 'manse', and all the cars. WEALTHY people, but super trusting. Good thing they could trust me!

And, yes, more than once I got handed an old toothbrush to clean the guck around the faucets. Big deal.

Oh, they also had a weekly maid, but a lot of things (such as the incontinence issues) had to be tackled head on. I could have left a lot of stuff for the maid, but if it was a glaring mess, I cleaned it up. Did my client's laundry and got it ALL smelling fine.

I guess I would say, don't go into caregiving if you are not very flexible as to jobs. I also did PT with my client and she hated it, but I kept her going, living at home until there simply was no choice but to move her to an ALF.

And we didn't call me her 'caregiver' she called me her 'personal assistant' which, consider her 'standing' in the community, gave me certain gravitas. Made me chuckle.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 14, 2020
Mid,

You have a heart of gold! Of course, they trusted you. I would too. It’s because you are true blue.
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I have used Visiting Angels in south FL for several years now. I manage it long-distance for my 2 very senior LOs. So if I tell the agency that such-and-such needs to happen, that is what needs to happen since I'm responsible (as the PoA) and am working in their best interest. If you are hired as a companion (there is such a thing), then chit chat is fine. Their companion drives them to appointments, takes walks with them, does light housekeeping (ironing, making lunch, change bed sheets), play cards. We have a separate company come in and do cleaning (vacuuming, scrubbing toilets/showers, wash floors, etc). If a caregiver needs to do any more than that, like give out meds, or if the client is a fall risk, the agency has to send out someone who is "qualified" to do that and there is a higher hourly fee. Maybe you need to find a different agency and request to be a companion? I'm not sure about being private hire, as it is more complicated (think trying to get paid by someone with mild dementia) and you'll have to figure out your own tax stuff and find your own clients. Good luck!
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I’m sorry that you are not satisfied with your working arrangements. That is frustrating. Who hired you? Did the client or her family? What do you see that she would need help with that you are not doing? Are family members doing those things? Does she like doing her own cooking and is able to do so?

Would you explain a bit further please?

I had an agency for mom. Her needs were bathing, light housekeeping for her room in my house, preparing a light meal, companionship, playing a card game, conversations, etc.

As far as doctor appointments. I did that. PT and OT exercises I did with her as well with instructions given by home health.

Mom and I were satisfied with her most of her caregivers. The last one was absolutely incredible. She related well to mom and was a sweetheart.
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Jmartinez617 Jan 14, 2020
The client hired me through my agency. Her daughter makes her meals, she usually attends appts with her but decided she couldn't her last appt and my client went alone and didn't have an easy day. I am also concerned about her walking which i reported to my agency. I tend to follow her sometimes because i want her to be safe and she will tell me to do my chores. Her home is spotless. Let me be clear i don't mind cleaning. But i can clean AND do my job which is also to make sure she is safe. I was even asked to pick up a couch, move area rugs, clean after a home renovation (wearing a mask) which i refused to do and told them to call my agency if they need cleaning like that. They never did because it is stated that we only do light cleaning, no scrubbing. I worked with PT's and OT's so i can also help with exercises. I have another client and we get along fantastic. I do light cleaning, we socialize, i make lunch, i motivate him to walk (which makes me feel amazing at the end of the day) that is why i do this job. I know i am complaining about this other client but i do like her, i just want that same feeling at the end of the day.. like i made a difference and not only by scrubbing (lol)
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Who tecnically hired you? Is it the woman you are caring for or were you hired by a spouse, child or grandchild?
If you were hired by the woman then you are doing what she wants you to do. You could tell her that a cleaning company would be less expensive for her.
If you were hired by a spouse, child or someone else that is arranging this in her best interest you take direction from them and if the woman is not allowing you to do what you are hired/contracted to do you can discuss it with them.
If you do not want to clean and do the tasks this woman is asking of you ask your supervisor at the agency to assign you to another person that you "would feel more comfortable helping" I am sure there are a lot of employees that would rather scrub the floor then change soiled clothes, linens and give bed baths.
I am sure if the company knew that you would quit if you do not get assigned to another person I bet they would find another job for you. They do not like to loose good caregivers and would do what they can to keep an employee happy.
Before you go out on your own double check to see if there is a clause in your contract that limits what you can do, where and for how long. (lots of companies have no compete clauses)
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JMartinez, this sounds unethical on the part of the person you take care of and the company you work for. I wouldn't let someone take advantage of me. IMO cleaning anything with a toothbrush is deep cleaning and probably your duties include some light house cleaning?
It also sounds like you may have formed some sort of friendship with the woman you care for. I think you might need some boundaries. What would the lady do if you told her that wasn't part of your job? I don't mean for things to become troublesome, but maybe this isn't something you signed up for and the older employees look at it as you learning the ropes?? Can you find a job that is more of a sitter type job. No house cleaning?
Good luck and take care.
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If what your client is asking you to do is not part of your employment contract then you need to put your issues in writing, then you can leave the agency if they don't address the issue with the client and they can not enforce a non competition clause.

Remember that anything verbal can be a he said/she said battle, but in writing is in writing and no one can say anything beyond what is written. So address the agency in writing and have a plan for your next job. Just in case they decide that you are a problem.

Best of luck finding a solution.
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My mom received help through Council on Aging. They have a contract with a local caregiving company.

One of the workers explained to me that they offered two services from this particular company, one was sitting combined with light housekeeping (scrubbing with a toothbrush isn’t considered light cleaning.) The other service is strictly housekeeping which is more detailed cleaning and the employees are paid a couple of dollars per hour more for the deeper cleaning job.

So, I think I would clarify with the agency what they offer to clients and what exactly did your client sign up for.

If you are not interested in doing as much housekeeping then request to work with clients that need sitting, bathing, cooking and light housekeeping.

Mom’s last worker would offer to do more cleaning but I told her while I thought it was sweet of her to offer but that I did not want her to overextend herself. I’m sure some people would take advantage of her by asking for deep cleaning but I feel that isn’t right to do.

Best wishes to you.
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Just a note that some people are not so interested in chatting and may feel it's a waste of their money. My Mother is like that. She herself was always "busy" doing something. She did like cleanliness and order. So, I looked for caregivers that had a skill or talent - could be gardening or cooking for example. So they could be busy and engage her in their activity either physically or in the planning/shopping/chopping, etc. She also was not happy to have someone with her all the time. That made it hard from an agency hire standpoint. When she was napping, she didn't want someone to be sitting and waiting for her to wake up to ...chat.
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anonymous20208 Jan 28, 2020
Agreed, I have a family member who was the same way. It's so important for caregivers to be sensitive to client care and interaction preferences.
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J,

You want to nurture your clients. I commend you for having the heart of a caregiver which is an important role for the client and their families.

So please allow me before I continue further by saying, thank you very much for all that you do.

I am glad that you care about your client and like her but she doesn’t sound like she will ever be easy to please. You have gone above and beyond for her. Your job should only entail light housekeeping.

I appreciate your work ethic. Obviously, you are a hard worker but if you wanted to work this much dealing with deep cleaning you could work as an independent housekeeper and make lots more money.

I don’t blame you for being annoyed with her unreasonable requests. She’s got a cheap housekeeper! She’s quite manipulative.

No caregiver would balk at the normal tidying up. I don’t get the impression that you would be bothered by that either.

Reading about your client tells me that she is not interested in being nurtured by a caregiver. She desires a housekeeper that cleans and that’s all. The advantage for her is you are also trained as a caregiver in case a medical situation should arise.

Of course, she could benefit from your nurturing, doing the other things that are needed besides cleaning but as I said she isn’t interested.

So, why are you remaining in this position? We don’t have the power to change anyone. We can change our own behavior.

Find another place to fulfill your needs which is a desire to be more involved with your client.

Start putting your energy into finding a new position instead of placing effort into a relationship that she doesn’t wish to have with you.

Make peace with the fact that she has the right to choose the relationship that she desires, which is a cleaning person.

Acknowledge that since you are not satisfied in this position, you are free to leave and seek employment elsewhere that will better suit your needs.

Best wishes to you in your future endeavors.
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anonymous20208 Jan 28, 2020
You are incredibly on point about this being a caregiver / client mismatch. Even still, the bottom line is that part of a caregiver's professional responsibility is to respect a client's boundaries (whatever they are). I have seen caregivers attempt to push themselves or their own ideas on clients and it obviously not go well.

Having a stranger regularly coming into a person's home is unnerving for a lot of people. When that person then attempts to push their own ideas about how the interaction should go it can make it an awful experience for the client. Some of these clients already feel a sense of loss due to needing personal care and housekeeping services to stay in their homes. When a caregiver attempts to push their ideas about how the interaction should go on a client it can cause the client to feel violated. Rightly so; as it is the client (or their insurance) paying for the caregiver to provide the services of personal care tasks and housekeeping. Clients should ALWAYS be the ones in charge of the interaction. The caregiver is the employee of the agency, who is being paid to render the services the client has purchased out of pocket or through their insurance. It's the caregiver's role to perform the services; that's it. The caregiving profession understandably attracts a lot of idealists who want to help others; which is great. However, if it is more important for a caregiver to provide care the way they envision doing so over what the client is actually requesting and paying for, the caregiver needs to move on. Maybe they need to move on to a client whose requests better match the aspirations of the caregiver. Or, perhaps move onto an opportunity outside of being a caregiver, where the person can express nurturing in the way that the person most desires to.

I'm not sure what the caregiver's medical qualifications are and to what extent the person is allowed to provide medical care and in what capacities. (Some states may require you to be a CNA, etc., some may not - depends on the program). Regardless, in a caregiving arrangement via an agency, the client and the agency are the ones who determine how and what gets done (as long as it's within guidelines). Though it may not be the case with the original poster, many caregivers (often unknowingly and subconsciously) infantize their clients because they are elderly or disabled. They often see them as benefactors of their kindness and services. While that may be the view of the caregiver, the reality is the caregiver has been hired by the client through an agency to perform personal care tasks and housekeeping services FOR the client. The client and the agency are the ones in the driver's seat, not the caregiver. There are many wonderful and kind people who want to help others through a caregiving profession. However, in a caregiving scenario through an agency a caregiver is an employee not the boss.
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