Both my elderly parents 87 and 85 have caregivers during the day and a few hours in the evening. They also have someone for five hours on the weekends. I committed to one day midweek to be their caregiver. Just before the weekend I start to stress and worry that I get a call that the caregiver will call out and the agency has no one who could fill in which is why I found a group of skilled aids who are used to fill-in privately. I am 56 and have two children in middle school. I worry about missing out on their weekend activities in case there is no one to cover helping out and my parents. My brother has been temporarily staying there since my dad‘s fall also does not want to place them in AL. Unfortunately I feel that this will be my life going forward having to constantly worry plus I live an hour drive away so I’m not totally nearby to fill-in. My dad is very adamant and does not want to go into assisted living, and my mom has vascular dementia. The worrying makes me sick to my stomach and I feel that I will never be able to make plans on the weekend with my husband/kids or go away for weekend since I feel like I need to always be on standby. Appreciate any suggestions.

Find Care & Housing
I can't wave a magic wand to make you stop worrying but I have to ask - why do you feel this is your responsibility? It seems to me that even if they find themselves alone on the weekend it is up to your brother and father who are resistant to AL to own that choice, it's not your problem to solve.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to cwillie

You need to realize caring for an elder is a complete sh!tshow and you learn to adapt to the insanity or set boundaries. You can only do what you can do.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Stacy0122

This is where you put boundaries in place.

If the care giver does not show up, that does not mean you have to stop everything, cancel your plans and step up.

If Mum and Dad need 24/7 care it is not your responsibility to provide it, nor your brother's.

If they only have care for 5 hours a day on the weekend, that means they are on their own for 19 hours each day.

Have you had a full assessment of their needs and abilities? That is where I would start.

One you have that information you and your brother will be in a better place to assess if they can receive the level of care they need at home.

If your brother does not feel they need assisted living, and they may need a higher level of care, is he prepared to continue to stay with them to meet any gaps in hours?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Tothill

Firstly, congrats on getting the home help in the door!

That can be the biggest hurdle. So well done you, Dad & Mom to accept. Oh & Brother for not taking the rediculous stance of you're the girl so you have to be the carer... Or.. is there an undercurrent of that?

I have a relative requiing daily home help. I also offered one day a week, like you. (This was after some time in the trenches at beck & call learning how to set some boundaries 🙃)

The aides would regularly cancel on weekends, or public holidays. I was them called to fill in.

I started to get anxious every weekend, call or not. Would rush by breakfast & shower in case. Wasn't sure if I could make commitments for myself. There's more to the story of how & who was cancelling but one day I decided *enough*. I couldn't live like that. I was back at beck & call, to a care agency! So a 2nd agency was arranged as backup.

That's what I suggest you do. Be signed up with a 2nd agency. It may not be perfect of course, getting a new person who doesn't know their routine etc.

Stick to your one day for your folks. Block out the weekend time for your own kids.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Beatty
Sjmomoftwins Jun 17, 2021
I did sign on with a second agency hoping to only do weekends but they required some weeknight hours as well which ended up working out so far. Then it seemed like summer kicked in and all of a sudden Saturday or Sunday morning they decide to call out and I was forced to call my group of private aids who I was referred to. Luckily at the time one was able to cover. I feel guilty as my brother is temporarily staying there mostly because he’s local but he is a veterinarian and the caregiver hours that are required work around his schedule. An AL would be the easiest fix, I would still be able to visit my parents without having to be a caregiver and enjoy the time while visiting. My dad is worried that my mom would just be left in a corner with all the other wheelchair-bound dementia patients. Also he remembers visiting folks in a nursing home in the past when he was younger and how they basically were left sitting around until an aide got around to them. He does not want to end up like that.
As they get older their needs will get more profound -- it only gets worse.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to cetude

You seem to be more worried about what others think than you care about your own health and about your children.

If this caregiving thing doesn't work for YOU, then it doesn't work.

"I can't commit more than one day aweek to this venture; if that doeant work, you'll have to make other arrangements".

As women, we are trained from birth to give in, please others and lend a helping hand. It's high time you stood up for yourself.

And if the menfolk get mad--so what?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
TouchMatters Jun 20, 2021
Thank you Barb.
See 1 more reply
A big factor will be how OK they are with no aide for the day.

Inconvenient or a real safety concern?

No help getting dressed, to wash, have a hot meal served, be driven somewhere?

Or unable to get out of bed, get any sort of meal, water, meds, continence care?

My relative has decided staying home is priority one so she is willing to accept no care on occassion, even though this results in staying home, missing appointments, staying unwashed & undressed. Not ideal, but as she can do food & meds, is not so dangerous.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Beatty

Unfortunately many of these situations are only resolved by a crisis. Unfortunate, but that’s what it takes to get a stubborn senior to move. It is going to happen eventually, the only question is when and how bad. You can only do what you are able/willing to do and you cannot do more nor should you. The situation is unsustainable and will eventually resolve itself, not necessarily the way anyone wanted. It is what it is!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to LakeErie
BurntCaregiver Jun 20, 2021

Unfortunately, you are right. More times than not something bad has to happen before a "stubborn" senior will accept that their situation has to change for their own safety and well being.
Perhaps you should re-explore the 2nd agency, or find a different 2nd agency? We used a regular and secondary agency for my mother, many years ago, and both agencies knew of the existence of each other. It's not unreasonable for the 2nd agency to want some week-day hours as well as weekends. Since the regular agency is frequently not finding someone to fill in when their aide does not show up on weekends, the 1st agency should understand that you need to increase the hours of the 2nd agency so that they will be available on weekends when you need them. This may mean more switches in caregivers from day to day than your father would like, but he's the one who's insisting on not moving to AL; he needs to compromise, too.

One other point. Am I understanding correctly that when an aide calls in that she can't come she is calling the agency, not you? That's what should be happening. The agency should be the one trying to find a sub, and the agency should call you; the aide should not call you. That's normally an agency policy.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to caroli1
Sjmomoftwins Jun 19, 2021
Yes - The agency contacts me directly that they have a call out. But the second agency is definitely more reliable and responsible than the first agency. Keeping the first agency because we love the daily caregiver would be great if she would move to the second agency probably would make more money to. It’s just the stress of worrying that someone may call out. My dad is finally getting stronger to walk again and my mom needs her walker and would be a fall risk. They cannot be unattended for long as they both need help with bathing and toileting.
See 1 more reply
Can you task the weekend caregiver with the authority to replace herself if she cannot make it? You can take yourself off "Standby" for the weekends at least.

Provide her with the relief staff contacts, and ask that she not 'call out' unless she has someone arriving in her place for her shift, before calling you to let you know?

As a temporary secretary (volunteering) for a nursing staffing company, getting the no-show errant nurse to call back; and also getting the relief person to answer and agree to go was a tense time. When I called the missing nurses, I left messages to call back and answer if they wanted to be taken OFF the scheduling. And that they would need to counsel with the owner to be put back on the schedule.
The nurses started to take the schedule more seriously. But being the in-between person was really hard. So I understand your concerns about your making plans and about being on standby. It is good you have a list of willing aides to stand by. That is really smart!

If you have covered all the bases, there can be less worry. 🤗

Being strict, I would also suggest the nurse to go there and wait for a relief aide to show up to relieve her shift, if possible. That is if no one has been found.

Maybe after some successful weekends you can start to enjoy your family time.

If there was at all enough money to go around, I would schedule 2 caregivers to come on the weekends. 1) 8 a.m. -11:00 a.m., and 2) 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Sendhelp

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter