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My mother died a month ago and he has gone downhill quickly. This is very upsetting for us to watch and we would love to hire someone to come in and do some of the "shifts" for us to help us mentally. He gets very angry when we try to bring someone in to help. Anyone suggestions on how to make this work without him freaking out?

Your father is going downhill and nothing is going to fix him. Either be extremely strong and enforce caretakers whether he likes or not or put him into a facility. He is damaging you and making life hell for you and you don't deserve that. With his behavior, who cares if he freaks out. He is not going to cooperate - don't allow that.
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Reply to Riley2166
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Sorry about losing your mother. We lost my little brother right after my dad had his stroke (my brother was helping us care for our dad). Then the dementia showed up in my dad. So I know that what your going through is hard. 

When me and my siblings were completely worn out after switching shifts daily for years, I had to hire help. My dad lived with me and it was overwhelming. I introduced 'the help' as a friend of mine who wanted to meet him. I hung in the room while my "friend" asked my dad questions about his life and it seemed like we were all just hanging out. Then I left the room for a little while (which I couldnt do before). My dad seemed to enjoy the new company. This was a surprise since very little made him happy at this time and I was extremely nervous about hiring somone. I had her come just a few hours the first visit. Next time she came I said I had to run an errand and left for a little while. He pretty quickly eased into seeing her and letting her help out. His dimentia was already pretty bad at that time, but as it got worse it was easier for him to accept help, but alot harder to find good help. On another note, if you find a caregiver that you do not think is doing well dont stay just because you figure this is the way they are. I did that and caused my dad and myself additional trouble. When I finally looked further, I found a much more caring agency with extremely understanding caregivers and they were very agreeable to only sending one specific person (not multiple switching out). I nevertheless needed extra help so I got a different caregiver on weekends.
So I just want you to know that there is some hope and help out there.
I hope this helps you.
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Reply to HeadNourishment
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my2cents Sep 25, 2020
Great way to transition. Glad it worked for him, and for you.
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Imho, start slowly. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Bring in outside paid help, but start off slowly. Maybe have them come a few times not to help him or do any works, just to let them get meet and talk while you're there or one of your other family members. If he's going to need personal hygiene care, he may be more comfortable with a male aide helping him too.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Dad needs to be told that he is no longer in a position to say no. You need to decide what you can do and do only that. If it falls short on what dad needs it is on him to figure it out. He will continue to turn down outside help as long as you pick up the slack. He truly does not care if it is too much for you. All he can see is that his needs are being met.
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Reply to lkdrymom
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I have not had a problem with agency switching people, other than when full time person needs time off (and everyone needs time off!).    I agree with PP, LIE.  Tell elderly LO, it is friend who needs the money.   Tell them anything that works.
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Reply to FloridaDD
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No agency please. Different people coming in and out and touching HIS THINGS drives them nuts.
hire one person and introduce as a friend or cousin of yours
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BurntCaregiver Sep 24, 2020
Amen. Always hire private help if you're able to. That way it's one or two people and not strangers coming in and out.
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Change is always difficult when your LO has dementia. Go ahead and hire a help - probably through an agency so he will have consistent. reliable help. Tell your dad that family can not be there all the time and that nice, reliable people will come in to help. Start with a week where the paid helper(s) come in and family stays while they are there. Then start staying for less hours until he is ok with a full shift of helper only.
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Reply to Taarna
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My father with Alzheimer's was reluctant to have help as well. Sometimes you just can't reason with dementia. So...We hired an aide and introduced her as "a friend of mine who was a nurse." (One of those necessary little white lies we end up saying to help our loved ones.)
That first day she came in and sat in the living room with him and chatted, but when it was lunchtime she got up and fixed his lunch. She was very matter-of-fact about everything, just did things instead of asking. When he asked to use the bathroom the aide helped him out of his chair and walked into the bathroom with him. By the end of the day they were best buddies!
Dad seemed to accept her "authority" and was very accepting of her help with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc. On some level Iin his mind I suspect it was better to have a stranger do it than his wife and daughter.
Every day he asked if his friend was coming that day! She was at his bedside with our family when he passed away.
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Reply to swanalaka
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My father in law got very angry when we told him he would have to move nearer to us after his wife died of cancer treatment. He was legally blind. His sons were paralyzed by his show of hostility and resistance, but I wasn’t. Children often listen to parental acting out as though the frail elderly parent is still in charge of their lives and yours. As a daughter in law, YOU tell him what is going to happen and then count on professional caregivers to make it happen. Though it is early days and your father in law probably wants to be alone to grieve in his own way, if he has to have help to continue living alone, then it’s time to get tough. He will get used to the new routine after a while unless you continue to plead with him
or dance to his tune. Some men will bully their children and try to get their own way as long as you let them. Women too. My guess it that your father has been intimidating his way through life long before this because the people around him won’t fight back. This was my father in law’s pattern long before his wife died. It never stopped and his sons continued to be intimidated by him. When it was time to tell him what he HAD to do, I stepped in and handled it. He didn’t like it but he did what I said.

Hostile, non-compliant men often respond to people they perceive to be stronger than them or who outrank them in some way. If that isn’t you, figure out who that person is and ask them to help.
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Reply to Chellyfla
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Do NOT be bullied, I’ve been there. Sit Dad down & tell him (calmly but firmly) what you is fair for you to do.!Other things will be handled by others - and if you try to kick them out, that work will go undone!
Dad I love you, and this is how it’s going to be!
I did it. Nothing else worked.
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BurntCaregiver Sep 24, 2020
That usually works. Then there's the other reason that usually always makes someone compliant with outside help. The work has to get done or else the LO will have to go into a nursing home. I'm working with a client now who was totally against any kind of outside help. She would turn her aides away when they showed up and the family was at the end of their rope. I told her daughter how to explain it to her mom that she has to cooperate with help coming in, or she will have to go into a nursing home because they can't care for her themselves. It works.
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Sorry for the loss of your mom/his wife. Hard enough to deal with one or the other (loss/care) but to have to do both is difficult even in the best of times, and it hasn't been long, so you're still in the worst of times. He may need more time to adjust to the loss.

It isn't always men who reject the help. I tried to help keep my mother in her condo longer by bringing in aides. I was working full time with a long commute and lived about 1.5 hrs from her, so I couldn't check in or help all the time. She didn't need really any help at that time, but was Dxed with early stage dementia, so the plan was to get her used to having someone around and ramp up the hours as needed.

I had them start with 3x/week, 1 hr/day. Things seemed to go well (no real "help", it was more a check on her and make sure she took her meds from a locked/timed dispenser. Sometimes she would forget, or wouldn't hear/see it - it had and alarm and also a blinking light) They could look and if she hadn't taken it, they would remind her, but could not give it to her. At this point, I didn't care what they did for the rest of the hour - sit and chat, sweep the floor, whatever. Since it seemed to be good, I moved it up to 5x/week, still only 1 hour. They didn't last 2 months - she refused to let them in.

When she moved to MC, she didn't really need the "personal" help, just a safe place with good regular meals. The personal needs have gradually built up, and she didn't seem to mind when male staff took her to the bathroom. She pretty much needs help with everything now - tries to feed herself, but a recent stroke affected her right side and she's right-handed,

My suggestion would be to start slow and bring the person in when you are there, but don't have them do any "hands on" at first. Don't introduce them as hired help, just a friend helping you out/visiting. You could tell him you two have plans to do *something* together when you're done here, so s/he has come along to keep up company and/or help me so we can get out on time. Perhaps they can engage in some idle chit chat, bring in beverages and a snack (you provide, they just bring it from kitchen), "bring" him a favorite book or magazine (have on hand), and discuss the book or articles in the magazine.

Let them know ahead of time what his interests are or were, so they can chat about things he likes. It might take him off guard and he'll be more comfortable with them there. Next time, excuse yourself and go outside for 15 min or more, to see what happens. If they can develop a bond with him, while you busy yourself in another room or outside, it could get him more used to having this person there and perhaps feel more comfortable with them. Make your trips outside a little longer each time. If/when he is more accepting of having them there, try to time your "excuse" to coincide with the need to go to the bathroom - perhaps he might be willing to ask this new "friend" for some help? Increase the number of days/hours AFTER he gets used to them being there.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I help my dad with different things, including changing his clothes.
While he prefers his family helping him, instead of an outsider, he might prefer a male caregiver helping him change his clothes.

I would love for him to have a full time care giver. He doesn't want to spend the money.
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Reply to Lvnsm1826
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Thanks CM,

Perfect explanation of how gender issues are handled. I understand all of those circumstances. My mom felt very safe with a male physical therapist.

Her movements are so shaky due to her Parkinson’s disease. She shuffles her feet. The therapist was wonderful in getting her to pick up her feet in ways that I never would have thought of.

Mom did feel more confident with him. He had her doing things I hadn’t seen my mom doing since I was a child. I was amazed. He actually got her to to toss and catch a ball! It was remarkable. She never ever took her hands off her walker, but she did for him.

She was too funny at times. As soon as he would leave she would say how handsome he was. I told her, “Mom, you’re going deaf but you surely can spot a handsome man!”

The same with the nurses. As soon as they checked the swelling in her legs and told her to put on her compression stockings she would listen to them. Then she wouldn’t argue with me about wearing them. On the weekends when home health wasn’t here she didn’t want to put them on no matter how nicely I asked her to. Having professional helpers was a blessing for me.

I love how persuasive your health care workers are with your clients without being harsh or disrespectful.

I had to learn the hard way not to push about everything. I did it out of frustration and it never worked. I wanted to do my best. I would lose patience if she continued to resist. It’s hard for the caregiver and the elderly. It really is.

It’s behind me now. I have faith in the hospice staff and now when we speak it’s not as stressful as before since I no longer have the responsibility of caregiving.

CM, let me take this opportunity to thank you for the work that you and the rest of your staff does. It’s a tough job. Not everyone is cut out for it. Those who are capable to care for others make the lives of others so much easier.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Please don’t ask a GRANDDAUGHTER to help with his toileting. Don’t put her in that position. I am sure she would be highly uncomfortable with it. your dad may not even be comfortable with it!
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Reply to worriedinCali
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BurntCaregiver Sep 24, 2020
No way should a granddaughter have to do that. Or any of the grandkids. That's not fair or right.
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Sometimes with older men that are set in their ways, it helps to get someone that is family or someone they really like.

Older men do not tend to like "strangers" helping them.
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NeedHelpWithMom Sep 21, 2020
No, a granddaughter deserves to be a granddaughter. I could have never handled caring for my grandpa. My grandfather was larger than life to me. We were very close. It would have killed me to take on that responsibility. He would never have allowed that.
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Countrymouse,

Your posting was really good at getting to the heart of the matter. May I ask you a question to get your opinion please? Since the OP’s dad has a “pride” issue, can she request a male caregiver from an agency? Are there men who apply for these jobs? My dad didn’t have objections to women caregivers but obviously some do.

I know that you are in the healthcare field. Do you see men working in this area? The only men who helped my parents were the physical and occupational therapists.
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Countrymouse Sep 21, 2020
At the last count, in a team of roughly 45 people, there were five men; and I think a couple more have joined but I haven't met them yet.

Here's the thing. They are *often* refused by lady clients (and sometimes by men who don't like the idea of personal care from other men); but not often twice. It is part of our job to make our clients comfortable. If a client is not comfortable, whether the client's reasons are concrete and relevant or not, it is up to us to put them at their ease and reassure them.

As an example: I once attended a double-up call with a male colleague. The client was a young Muslim man; but on this particular morning his aunt was visiting him and the arrival of my colleague caused consternation - our client's first reaction was to tell us to leave because his aunt couldn't be seen by a male non-family member (we hadn't known she would be there). I asked my colleague to step outside while the aunt put her veil on, checked with the client if this would be enough, and after that the visit went fine. By showing we appreciated their feelings and understood (instead of being affronted by or dismissing) their objections, we stopped him going without care. He was a wheelchair user, paralysed from the waist down and catheterised. His daily shower was important but so were his family's religious principles. If you can't provide support in a way that is acceptable to the client, you're no use at all.

Far more often, there will be a lady who is petrified by the idea of help with washing or continence care from a man. It's simple: if a client tells you to leave, you leave. If a client declines support, you don't argue - but you can reassure, explain, and encourage. I have pointed out to several ladies who've remarked on one of my male colleagues - about six foot three, weighs goodness knows how much - that it's nice to have someone that strong making sure you don't fall! One lady who began by complaining about male workers ended up saying that she didn't want to be sexist towards the women but she felt safer with the men.

When there is a compelling factor behind the objection (history of sexual abuse, mental illness e.g.) our service will avoid sending the wrong type of worker to a call (this is a legitimate exemption under sex discrimination law) but it's pretty rare.

Of *course* there is a pride issue. How would any of us like it if someone we'd never even met barged into our bathroom and took our pants down? But a trained caregiver ought to be able to handle such anxieties by showing proper concern for the person's privacy and dignity.

I'm wondering if the OP's family has got as far as asking a service to come and assess the father's needs and explain to him what the support would be like.
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I am really sorry for your loss. That must be really hard for all of you. Another idea but I don't know if it will work for you. I live upstairs and my mum downstairs. I am working 3 days per week at home but the 2 days I have to go to the office I asked my neighbor's daughter to come and iron our clothes and to clean my mum's part of the house. Actually I do need help with the cleaning not really with the ironing... But my mother knows I hate it and I am not good at it. So she doesn't complain. She has known this lady all her life and when she comes they would have coffee together and speak. Maybe you could find some kind of excuse saying it is actually to help you not him.
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Reply to Anche71
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First things first: it's only a month since you lost your mother and he lost his wife. It is VERY early days. Give it time. How long were they married? My sympathies to the whole family, who must all be still very upset.

"He gets very angry when we try to bring someone in to help."

What does he say about it? What are his objections?

I mean these questions literally: making him feel better about the idea depends very much on exactly what about it is upsetting him.

What are his care needs?
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allsonew Sep 21, 2020
He yells no, starts cussing and gets so stressed out. I think it's a matter of pride for him. He has just gotten semi-comfortable with us heping him with toiletry needs.
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I am very sorry for your loss of your mom.

I don’t know if this will work. It is a solution that my mother in law used with her mom. Her mom was a very demanding woman to begin with and when her husband died the demands became greater.

Like you, my mother in law catered to her mom more after her father’s death. My mother in law was an only child so she did it alone.

I would pitch in to help when I could. My husband’s grandma was never grateful and expected more and more.

My mother in law said something to me one day that broke my heart. She said, “Thank you for helping. I do appreciate it. Don’t let her walk all over you. It’s too late for me. I have to do it but you don’t so tell her no when it gets to be too much.”

I responded to my mother in law by saying, “Okay, I won’t do anymore than I can do. You deserve a life too. So you should start saying no to her too.” She then said that she had to or her mom would make her life a living nightmare. She buckled under due to guilt.

So, she came up with her own solution. Whenever she needed a break she would tell her mom that she had a dentist appointment or a doctor appointment and amazingly her mom did not get mad about that. Before if she said she was going to have lunch with a friend she would rant and rave.

Maybe you could try that. Tell your dad about an important appointment and that you will make sure that he isn’t alone and will be cared for by a highly recommended caregiver. Of course your siblings will have to have an appointment at the same time too. It’s worth a shot.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Lvnsm1826 Sep 25, 2020
Dad is similar. If I go out somewhere, he would complain later. But appointments he's fine with, I guess because it's not something fun I'm doing
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I am so sorry for your loss; was your mother your father's caregiver?
It sounds more to me as though he may eventually need permanent placement. Don't expect him to "agree" to this. He would much rather have you there to care for him. You will have to get together as a family and figure out the path forward. It has only been one month, so this is a day by day and step by step process. Your doing shifts will only enable him in believing that he can go on this way. You do not mention what deficits he has. If he has no dementia, no one acting as his POA, then honestly the decision is his, and your withdrawal will help him to come to conclusions more quickly. Wishing you the best.
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