CFG505 Asked January 2014

I have found caregivers napping when my Mom's asleep. Should I be upset by this?

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I have 8 hour shifts w/caregivers for my Mom. Mom naps a lot. My Mom has Alzheimer's (approaching middle stage). Memory issues affect her ability to prepare food. When I can't care for her (I'm the daughter), we have an agency provide caregivers in 8 hour shifts, 11am-7pm to cover meal issues. The rest of the time Mom does a few household tasks and naps a lot. Sometimes she wants help w/chores, sometimes not. She does need some help. But in an 8 hour shift, 7 days a week there is only so much cleaning a person can do. When she's awake they are active with her (we have watchful neighbors). My Mom also gets upset if they disturb her by doing things while she's asleep. I drop in unannounced a lot to check on her. We have 2-3 regular caregivers. I have found all at one time or another asleep in the same room as my Mom, while she napped. She generally sleeps soundly. Sometimes she talks about them sleeping and it bothers her. My gut reaction is anger, but I've slept while Mom napped. Should I be upset? Should I talk to them? Talk to the agency? I like the agency and caregivers. We have had consistency, no theft, no abuse, active participation to keep my Mom active. Confused, frustrated, and maybe a bit guilty. Please give me some guidance

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EXPERT Sue Maxwell Jan 2014
BUT DEFINITELY--NO SLEEPING!!! I would talk with the agency and let them know about your concerns. From the agency that I have worked with in the past, I have never heard of an employ napping especially during the day time. Diplomatically, call the agency and let them know of your concerns as you are paying for an alert staff person.
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NancyH Jan 2014
If these caregivers bother your mother while she sleeps by doing chores, and your mother naps A LOT just how much reading and/or watching TV can these people do WITHOUT falling asleep? I know the boredom alone would kill me if I couldn't actively be doing something while someone sleeps.... A LOT. So within these parameters, I'd say that if they can wake when mom wakes and make sure mom isn't wandering the neighborhood while they snooze, then you're ok.
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Eyerishlass Jan 2014
Hold the phone here!!!!!!!

I am a home healthcare nurse who works for an agency and I would never...NEVER... sleep while my patient is sleeping. The only time a caregiver should be allowed to sleep is on a nightshift and that's only if it's a 'resting' nightshift. Yes, I have had very boring jobs where my patient sleeps a lot, I do a lot of hospice where my patient isn't even conscious. I get very sleepy and drowsy but I bring a book with me and tough it out.

Of course there is only so much these caregivers can do before they run out of things to do but they are being paid to be there, to watch over your mom, and they should NOT be sleeping. It's just not professional.
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ladee1 Jan 2014
Would you be less offended if you came in and they were doing a hobby, as in, crocheting or needlework... either way they are doing this on their time there and at your expense.... it is impossible to stay moving 8 hours straight unless you work at McD's..... I don't sleep on my job, but when there is a lull late in the evening I do crochet...but I would hope you would speak with me first as opposed to going to my bosses....

What would bother me would be you 'dropping in', that would imply to me that after a sufficient amount of time you still didn't trust me...you also say you are very pleased with the caregivers and the agency.... if it really bothers you that much, speak to the caregiver.....do you let them know either by word or action that you are not ok with them napping? We are not mind readers and none of us will ever be able to fully reach families expectations.....because just as you are feeling taken advantage of... we, as paid caregivers, can tell you lots of stories about being taken advantage of.....
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LadeeC Jan 2014
I'm coming up with more questions than answers:

What qualifies as disturbing her? Moving around the house? Doing the dishes? Sitting in the other room, watching TV? Turning pages of a magazine while sitting there? I'm not being facetious .. some people are disturbed if the air moves.

Does she (or you) want them in the room with her, while she's napping? Is she at risk of falling if she attempts to get out of bed? Do the caregivers have regular chores, or does she want to supervise everything they're doing (ie: never leave her sight). Are they responsible for more than helping her make meals, such as incontinence care, physical, occupational, and speech therapy? How long is their lunch break? Do they consider the nap their 'break?'

You say there've been no problems, but are there trust issues? Concerns that if they're not right beside her, they'll be doing something unacceptable? The fact that you show up unannounced suggests to me that you HOPE to catch them doing something.

My initial reaction was, "oh, for pity's sake, it's an 8-hour shift .. they can't stay awake that long?" But boring is boring, to be honest. Are they sitting there reading and dozing off, or laid out on a cot, with the covers over their heads? As an employee (contracted through an agency or otherwise), I'd hope that you'd talk to me, first, and ask what's going on. Maybe mom told them it was okay, because she didn't want to be confrontive, and is hoping you'll help work it out.

In the end, if it turns out that it's an untenable situation, be prepared to lose your workers to maintain your standards .. don't let them control your mom's world, except as you and she wants the help.

I'm not trying to provide answers, here, as I don't feel like I've got a good picture. I'm just trying to prod, a bit, to see what the root issue really is.
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JessieBelle Jan 2014
Although it may not be professional for them to nap on the job, it wouldn't bother me as long as they were awake when they needed to be. It also wouldn't bother me if she read, watched TV, or got on her own computer as long as she was doing the job she was hired for. Now if her work was not getting done it would be something else entirely. If the caregiver was dependable and did her job, it would be all I would worry about.
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pamzimmrrt Jan 2014
When my parents first moved in, mom was in rehab and dad with ALZ was in need of a companion. I hired a guy from an agency, he took dad to visit mom, for walks, etc. When mom came home, she noticed he was on the computer alot, and napping, while Dad watched TV or slept. Caregiver quit shortly thereafter (as we didn't need him for as many hours.) Our new caregiver reads with Mom when dad sleeps, or bakes alot. She would love to do more, but Mom likes to feel needed. I guess I really didn't mind the guy napping/on computer as I knew he did alot for dad... but the new gal is always looking for something to do, just Mom won't let her. So I see both sides of this.. As long as you know your Mom is being safely taken care of, that is the main thing. To me the caregiver is kinda part of the family now! That is just how I look at it. I am so glad to have her!
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josiep Jan 2014
as long as other assigned tasks are done...and they wake when mom wakes...and THEY SHOW UP means alot...let it go :)
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blannie Jan 2014
I can also see both sides of the issue. Some people nap heavily, while I'm the kind of person who awakens at the slightest noise or movement. I'd be worried about a caregiver who couldn't wake up the moment that mom started to wake up or tried to get up. But I can also understand how hard it would be to just sit there hour after hour and day after day. I love to read, but I have been known to fall asleep while reading or doing crosswords or even watching TV.

So I think you have to look at the results. If your mom seems to be well cared for and if the caregivers don't continue to sleep while she's up and awake or around, then I think it's OK. Not ideal, but acceptable. If there are other things they could be doing and they're not doing, then ask them to do them. And like Eyerishlass says, talk to them individually before going to their management.
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CarolLynn Jan 2014
What Mark and his wife Lynn are offering is fine for them and fine for you if you can afford double what it cost for a private person. But, IMO, if you have found a good caregiver or helper who enjoys your elder, and more importantly the elder enjoyed them, you can't just call up the agency and get a replacement. All the talk about not professional notwithstanding, if the required work is done and the elder is completely supervised, napping or resting is the least of your worries. This is assuming the person is honest and caring and that we're not talking about a deep sleep, like sawing logs. Certainly they need to do their regular "8-hours" off the job. But, for private help, a good one is a gem, and you need to be careful nitpicking a little rest. As previously stated, get a room monitor. They work great and don't leave the elder feeling as if their room is invaded. If the Elder is less aware, a reclining chair by their bed could certainly be in order.
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