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Mom's version differs from caretaker version regarding possible elderly verbal abuse by caretaker.

I have a “in retrospect only” disturbingly funny story to tell about problems with caregivers and not knowing when your family member is telling the truth or not. My dad had dementia along with other health issues. I took care of him but I was still working full time and he lived about 35mi away. Eventually, I had to hire a live in caregiver who although she was kind of young, came highly recommended. I still spoke with him and the caregiver every day and saw him every other day, everything was fine. One day after about a year with this caregiver he told me whispering, that there were “naked sex and drug parties every night after he went to sleep” and he said there was several people living in his house. He also said he didn’t mind (!!!). It was a fantastical story. I was there every other day nothing was ever amiss. Also, he had absolutely become sex obsessed as his dementia became more and more pronounced. The whole thing was confusing because as I said he was sex obsessed but “...naked sex and drug parties every night” after he went to sleep? Wellll....I finally confronted the caregiver about it and..., it turns out it was TRUE! The caregiver who was otherwise great, dependable, kept the house clean, cooked wonderful food that my dad liked and just as important: my dad loved her, had in fact, invited her boyfriend to spend the night every so often. Once and a while they had another friend that would come over in the evening after my dad went to sleep. They would drink beer and smoke pot and once or twice things went too far and they all had sex (!) I couldn’t believe it! I was of course soooo upset. Now here is the part where you all will think I am crazy BUT, the woman was very apologetic and promised she would never to it again. I was in a caregivers support group when I told him the story, the man who ran the support group told me that “these things” were more common than people realize. He told me that as long as my father was safe and she had not involved my dad in any way, if she was otherwise taking good care of my dad, and if my dad seemed to “not mind” and she promised not to do it again, that I might want to give her another chance. I was shocked. I was mortified. I was outraged! How dare her, etc. Now before you are all as outraged as I was, here is the other thing: my father had no money but his social security. When I hired her, this caregiver agreed to work for us deferring her entire salary to some undefined time in the future when we would have to move my dad to assisted living and I’d sell his mobile home at which time I would pay her out in one lump sum. My dad had a little dog who was not house broken, it was a mess. We were in a situation and I was asking her for a lot, but she had accepted this crazy arrangement. The agreement was I would buy her soap, shampoo, food, whatever she needed and she would live there full time. I would relieve her on weekends during the day but she would always come back at night and again, my dad adored her. Eventually, I broke my leg, and I couldn’t drive down there any more. My husband would drive me down there and drop me off, it was a mess. It was decided to move my dad closer to where I lived into assisted living and he agreed to go. I sold his mobile home and paid the caregiver out the wages we owed her for about a year which came to about $25,000 to 30,000. It was a crazy situation with, yes, a big weird hiccup, but we were also in a crazy situation with no money to hire a caregiver. My father could not come live with us under any circumstances. So we made it work. I have since also taken care of my mother and stepfather and have had to hire caregivers for 24hr care and have never, EVER, encountered another situation with a caregiver quite as crazy as that. My dad reminisced about that caregiver a long time after he moved. He adored her. Lol.
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BethS12 Aug 9, 2020
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You go with your gut instinct and with the understanding that regardless of the "truth" your mother doesn't like or trust this caregiver. We had a caregiver that I never really meshed with, she seemed competent and experienced but there always seemed to be little incidents, the major ones being several falls and once coming home to find a stove burner pouring gas into the house unnoticed. People on the forum assured me that accidents happen but after I asked for a different caregiver mom never fell again.
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Sarah3 Aug 10, 2020
Another thing that sometimes happens is the person will find fault with ANY caregiver or helper, some start out ok and fine and then get restless for attention and a sense of control for example and suddenly they have all these complaints about said caregiver - the family hires another one and things seem ok for a while until the person starts once again complaining or accusing the new caregiver- it’s not something obviously that is across the board but it happens enough to be aware of this
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I do know that there are some CRAZY caregivers. I have been a home health aide for 25+ years. After taking care of this man for 3 Sunday's in a row, I asked the wife what she was going to do for lunch. She asked her hubby, my patient, what he wanted and he said a hamburger. Long story short, wife handed me the credit card like she had done the last 2 Sundays and there were also their 2 grand kids there with them. I took ALL their orders, went to Brahms, got the food and brought it in. As 2 times before, I also put the receipt on the counter along with the credit card. The wife turns sees what I did and then asks me with this look on her face, "Where is the other card?" Of course, my body goes into "overdrive"... wondering.. "uh oh... oh dang.. here we go". I ask her, "what other card? Esther, you gave me the visa card as usual but no other card." She has this look on her face like, "sure... you liar". She says, 'I gave you the other card. I gave you 2 cards. Where is the other one?" I told her that she gave me the visa and only the visa just like before. "What is the other card?" I am thinking, "Why give me two cards? I only need one." "Check your pockets, Donna". To appease her, I check them. Of course, no card. Maybe the "other card" had stuck to the visa when she gave it to me and I did not realize it. She asked me to check again my pockets and she still has this look on her face. I am getting pretty ansy by now. "How is this going to end? Am I going to lose my job? My certification? My livlyhood?"I honestly know nothing about a second card. I finally ask her to please go look for the card where she normally has it. On the way to wherever that is, she saw it on the dining room table. Looks like she meant to give it to me but did not. It was some card that I have never heard of before --- when you buy something, you don't have to pay sales tax. She did NOT apologize. I texted the owner of my agency to let him know what happened and he texts back that she had accused another caregiver of taking "her keys". He had already told me that he thinks she is in the beginning of dementia. Yeah... she keeps losing things all the time... like her phone. And he says he has gone round and round with her when it comes to her husband's care and schedule. She can't keep it straight. Yes... I have known some pretty horrible caregivers. One was leaving the husband without care. Every time I came on, he would be soaked and dried feces on him. I decided to come early so this caregiver would have time to help me clean him up before she would leave. She would not help me. Would not even touch this man. Would not help turn him. She also did not know how to turn on his suction machine which he had had for over 2 weeks. She had never suctioned him. She also was giving the insulin wrong to the wife. Husband and wife were our patients. Caregiver was also NOT turning husband who had become bedbound. This caregiver had reported to me that one of the OTHER caregivers was not cleaning husband up when it was HER not doing it. This caregiver... very charming. Got two other caregivers fired and definitely trying to get me fired also. Well.. I reported my findings to the daughter. She would not believe me. I quit right then. My car had also been hit... by this caregiver. She had NEW damage to her car. The patient's daughter said that her dad was being turned by this caregiver and doing everything but it was so apparent that she was NOT. Daughter just loved this caregiver because "she is so nice". Yeah... people do this all the time...act wonderful while being satanic. I asked this daughter to PLEASE... PLEASE PLEASE put up cameras. She would not even consider it. So...I lost a great job at the expense of a psychopathic caregiver.
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beeje7623 Aug 10, 2020
Yes Donna,
I am also a caregiver but not with an agency.
We hired a women to come for a few hours in the evening .
She wanted my job as well.
All sweetness. Her and her friend had bee. Doing this racket for some time.
She made a portfolio and sent it to the son telling him I should be be fired
The son has known me for over 5 years and knew me well.
He told her to F off.
I had become suspicious earlier and bought my own mini cam to record her.
Lots of bad people out there
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It's an interesting situation since most dementia patience are accusatory and living in paranoia. My mom accuses me of yelling at her all day long. NO i do not yell at her. My moms past care givers were yelled at and accused of stealing. I felt sorry for them. My mom would slam the door in their face. The last one she yelled at and fired her. Since i am now my moms live in caregiver..I write down her patterns of behavior. Because they are patterns. Very predictable. Its taken practice not to take her personally. It also takes practice to not correct her illusions with logic. lol! I am here because she seriously needs to be in a home. Since COVID is here..I will not put her in a home...no matter how mentally sick she is..I cant imagine her locked in a room all day long. Yes..I changed my life to be here. NO she is NOT my mother. The one that raised me. But.. she is a human being. This is a season of learning. A season finding strength and understanding in the midst of ciaos. I am not perfect but i do care. Because i am now a caregiver.
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Omobowale Aug 10, 2020
Wow! I am in a similar position. My mom has mild dementia presently. My father is also home...but I’d fragile (his mind is strong). He is in denial....but slowly coming around that he can’t take care of her alone. I am still adjusting to my new role and learning not to take things personal.
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You can't know unless you set up surveillance cameras and recorders, can you? Especially if Mom has any dementia. I would sit the caregiver down with her agency (if she has one) and I would go through what Mom reported to you. You may learn a lot from watching her. But this happens to caregivers who are innocent all the time. And as we know, our elders who have dementia, and even those without it, are not always the best reporters.
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Sarah3 Aug 10, 2020
Great point unless we want to drive away good people who want to be caregivers we must as a society have a balanced informed perspective that not all seniors ( in fact many) do not have dementia and the uncomfortable but necessary truth that there is a chunk of them who engage in problematic behaviors without any dementia. The reasons vary, it more often than not is related to a bad set of character traits they had since youth, some of them engage in attention seeking behavior which is something that will result in most good caregivers sooner rather than later quitting, for obvious reasons.
If family and relatives either can’t or frankly which we all know is a reality don’t want to care for a senior we should show appreciation and dignity to those who do this largely unappreciated career- rather than assuming a caregiver must be doing something wrong and running out to buy video tape how about if we have open regular discussions with caregivers and ask if they’ve noticed any behaviors of the senior - keep an open mind and be mindful not to consider someone guilty until proven innocent. If a person has that much distrust of others frankly it’s best to take on the job of personally caring for them.
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It's hard to know especially if the person being cared for isn't there fully. Sometimes they like to make it up for attention or to do it thinking it's true. I would test them to ask if they are not comfortable with their caregiver then they can find someone else. Make sure you have someone lined up. If they really did it then they would have them leave. These false accusations can scare away a real good caregiver so if she is lying and you catch her you have make it known how serious these false accusations can be. My mom once told my grandma she would be in the nursing home if she keeps making herself fall on purpose because she would do it with everyone for attention.

The best thing you can do to be safe is have a nanny cam. You just don't want her to feel like you don't believe her so don't call her out without proof and you should be careful about going to the authorities just in case it's not true
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Sarah3 Aug 10, 2020
Yes and amen thank you, it’s a significant enough reality that a percent of seniors engage in manipulative and or malicious behaviors against those closest to them ( of course they can’t falsely accuse a relative living out of state so they do it to those caring for them- lest we forget seniors are just people who were once younger and if they had a character defect back then they will usually retain it into older age regardless and unrelated to dementia- uncomfortable for some to acknowledge this exists among seniors as much as younger adults)
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Your best bet is to set up a video camera, or hide somewhere in the house when she is saying this.
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Destiny54 Aug 10, 2020
A hidden listening device is illegal in many states, so she needs to check her state laws.
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I was in a similar situation with my MIL. We installed camera's that were looked like gifts such as flowers or bear as we didn't want the care provider to see anything that looked like a camera as this may have been a tip off to stop the abuse if it was actually being perpetrated. We chose flowers as it was close to Mother's Day and had a note saying Happy Mother's Day and no one was the wiser.
Regrettably, it was not my MIL who was trying for attention, we had video of stealing, yelling and coercing to get MIL to give money and possessions to the care provider
I do hope that is not the case for you, but, it was the only way to get to the bottom. MIL didn't know there was a camera either.
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belindaparis Aug 10, 2020
Where do you shop for such cameras. I would be decades to see what you saw. Did you show the video to the director?
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Install a camera. You need to be aware of what is going on in your home when you have a caretaker for kids or elderly. It is much too common to find out too late the caretaker has an entirely different personality or neglectful when you aren't there.

A rehab employee that I dealt with was dripping with honey when other employees were in the room. It was like Jekyll and Hyde when they weren't around. She gave the wrong medicine quantities on 2-3 occasions while I was in the room. When I questioned it her response was my mom didn't like the taste of the pills, so she didn't give them to her. Really???? I checked the records and she had reported dispensing accurate number of pills each times. I reported it and my concern was that if it happened that many times while I was watching, how many times could it have happened when I wasn't there - how many times were wrong meds dispensed - and how many other people were getting wrong meds.

Of course they talked to her and she came to the room and got into my face (literally within inches) and wanted to know why I told on her. I did tell the admin that they had a potentially dangerous employee because I seriously thought she might shove/hit me over it. The rehab's response was to tell me my mom had 'plateaued' in her recovery and it was time to go home.
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Sarah3 Aug 10, 2020
and the flip side of the coin is those who discover it was their nice little grandma who was maliciously lying, accusing or being verbally abusive, the kind of sweeping generality that seniors surely aren’t at fault and it has to be something a caregiver is doing is blatantly and dangerously false misconception
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My Mom's accounts of mistreatment in her ALF varied depending on the group she had lunch with that day. There were many pleasant residents there and I encouraged the caregivers to seat her away from the horrible gossipy group that invented stories and complained about everybody, but that is the group she wanted to associate with. She was not giving credible accounts. However, the camera in her apartment, that was installed with approval from the ALF Director, did show some of the caregivers always on their phones (against policy) and the obese ones flopping on her furniture and breaking it. I had not believed her about those violations, but there they were.
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