I'm a full-time caregiver for my 89-year-old mom with Parkinson's. I have hired an agency to have a CNA sit with her when I'm gone for any length of time. I have been relying on her LifeAlert when I'm gone for less than an hour to run errands. The agency is suggesting she's too great of a fall risk and should have someone there 24/7. I'm not sure we can afford that. Anyone have a similar situation?
The reality is there is no perfect system, you have planned for various contingencies according to your best judgement, and there is only so much money.
I think I would give this agency info about the intricacies of your family's schedule and the finer points of your personal household arrangements only on a purely need to know basis. To be perfectly frank, they are the hired help.
They were good at their job - it was one main person who came - and I like the woman at the agency and I will use them again, but for $20/hr I use them as little as possible. Mom only has so much $ and it only goes so far. The other people who I knew personally were only $15/hr, but they couldn't do overnights. Anyway - I don't see how this agency can report you, OP. In fact, you can tell them that you now always have someone with her. How would they know?
Edited to say that my mom has Phillips Lifeline and I don't know if she would push the button if she fell. I don't know if she would remember that she has the bracelet on. She won't wear the necklace with fall detection.
No one called those of us who have keys.
She is eligible for 2 hrs of care a week.
My mother also had Parkinson’s Disease. Although I wasn’t her “caregiver,” I did provide some daily assistance to help her while my dad was away at work. I would go to spend my lunch break with her and bring my kids over after work until my dad got home in the evening. She had both a Life Alert and cell phone strapped on her at all times. I could see the potential of her falling. I encouraged my dad to get someone to come sit with her. All he would agree to was 3 days a week. Good enough. Better than nothing. On one afternoon that the sitter wasn’t there, while making her lunch, she fell in the kitchen and broke her hip. She used her life alert to contact emergency and my dad. Within six months, she was gone. Were there possibilities of her falling if the sitter was there? Yes and no. If the sitter was there, she would have had less chances of a fall because the sitter would have been there to ASSIST her with her needs. That fall was preventable every way I look at it. In my mom’s case, my mom was left for hours by herself. I wish that I had known the things that I know now. My dad never made the house safe for her walker, because he didn’t know any better.
I am now my dad’s caregiver. I have companion help while I’m at work. When my dad first came home from the hospital, they sent someone out to assess the house to ensure it was safe for him and his walker. My parents home has laminate floors with large area rugs and thick throw rugs everywhere, including the kitchen. It all had to go. Changes in the arrangement of furniture etc was recommended. I followed everything they suggested. My dad has had two falls in two years. Both times, I was there, but not in the room. No injuries. Preventable? No. The falls just happened. Was there anything he could knock his head on? No. It’s all been moved or removed.
There are times that I have errands to run as well. I sit him in his recliner with the remote, cell phone, Life Alert, water, and clear instructions not to move around. I also call him while I’m away. It provides reassurance in his case. I also have both of the neighbors phone numbers in case I have to call on help. The other alternative I have available is the two teenage girls that live down the street. They sit with him and chat, or play UNO, while I’m away. It’s a lot cheaper than the companions from the agency.
Okay, I’ve said much more than necessary. Just wanted to give you a well rounded view of my experience.
Take Care & Best wishes to you and your mom.
Some accidents are just no preventable. Thanks for your good words of advice.
I used to work for Podiatrist and most our patients were seniors. I would chat with the care givers that brought the frailer patients into the office. A common remark was that Mum or Uncle Jim and fallen and refused to push the button. We had this happen in our family too. Aunt Ruth fell when she got up during the night, her alert necklace was on the bedside table and she could not reach it. She was found 2 days later, still alive, but in kidney failure. She lived entirely alone (no dementia) until age 96.
Would your Mum push the button if she fell, or would she wait for you to come home? How do you have the Life Alert set up? Does it call directly to emergency services or do it call you first? How long would it take you to get home, then how long would it take for an ambulance to get there, if you could not get her up or if she was injured?
Even if your mother was in a nursing home, she would not be under the gaze or within arms reach of the staff 24/7. Even the caregivers who you pay to come watch Mum have to use the Loo, make meal and otherwise are not within arms reach at all times.
It is a fine balancing act and I do not see anything wrong with the system you have in place. You ensure there are people there when you have to be away for a long period of time and you have a safety device in place for when you just need to make a quick trip.
If a care provider tried to intimidate me I would let them go and find another agency. Your mom sounds fine. As others have said, anyone can fall at any time. You aren’t gone for days, just a couple of hours I imagine.
My mom was one who fell and wouldn’t use the button. She waited for my brother. She knew she wasn’t hurt and didn’t have any confidence that she could get the ambulance driver to listen to her and not take her to the local ER where we all believed real danger existed.
But my mom had neighbors who did need an ER and used theirs and got the help they needed.
Many seniors are home alone and not under the watchful eye of a daughter or a Medialert as it is their right to be. You are obviously doing a great job.
You can do technological things. Install cameras so you can check in every few minutes or constantly if your mobile data plan is big enough. Just glance at your phone every few minutes to check in on mom.
Instead of a life alert I would get an iwatch. It has fall detection and they are working on other things like heart conditions. So they will be able to detect problems even if there is no fall. The watch can contact you and/or emergency services. You decide. Apple is talking with health insurance companies to possibly issue them to the elderly. Since monitoring people this way is far cheaper to paying for a human sitter and you get better data. A gait detector can actually detect a fall before it happens. Which a human isn't really good at.