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I am the caregiver to my 96 year old father and am lucky enough through his savings to be able to have sitters on and off throughout the day. This has been going on for 8 years. Before that time, my mother was ill and he was her caregiver with a sitter to help our during the day. (I moved back to the same city to help them when they were both ill).


I am now concerned that he may out live his money so have had to cut back the sitters’ hours (they understand completely). All but one has been with us for years and years. This means that my father is on his own for a few hours throughout the day between each shift. My father can walk and uses a walker. He has mild dementia but never tries to leave the home. For safety reasons, I installed 4 cameras in the house so I can watch him when he’s alone. The cameras are perfectly visible but never mentioned to the sitters that they are there (not required by law in my state) though I do know they have been noticed.


The last sitter that covers the midnight to 6am shift came to us about 4 months ago. She highly recommended by the ex-CEO of a well-respected health organization in our town. This sitter had looked after his wife during her long illness and still cleans his home.


Being Thanksgiving I stayed with my father to allow all the sitters time to be with their families and while my father was napping, I decided to review the security video and discovered that this sitter came in the other night, laid down on the couch while my father was in his recliner watching tv and apparently went to sleep (when he got up to go to the kitchen she didn’t move). She did get up and then prepare him some food and something to drink. She then cleaned everything up, told him she was going to bring him a pie after Thanksgiving (all the sitters generously bring him food including her) and proceeded to leave 20 minutes before her shift end. I watched further videos where she was busy all night dusting, running the vacuum and looking after him.


How would you handle this? I am fairly confident that if I mention to her what I’ve witnessed she’ll straighten her act up because she has told the other sitters how much she likes it here and enjoys my father (he is a very kind man). Utilizing an agency because of the added cost (would be about $6/hr more) is not an option and it is very, VERY hard to find trusted help in my area. I think she’s just trying to push the envelope. I had even thought of telling her (and the others) to ring my cell phone from the house phone when they arrive and when they leave which would be similar to them clocking in and out.


Thoughts?

Yes, it's best for you to have them call you from his house phone when they first come and when they leave, and also wait a while more before telling her about the video maybe you'll catch her doing something worse.
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Reply to Bobbilynn
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This isn't a caregiver who isn't fulfilling her responsibilities. It's a normally very good caregiver who on one occasion arrived tired, fell asleep during her shift, and left twenty minutes before her due time.

So. What she did was certainly reprehensible. Fortunately no harm resulted.

If it were me, I would ask her if there had been any problems on [day, date] that she would like to mention, and give her an opportunity to explain herself. My guess is that something happened outside work that may or may not excuse what she did.

Let's assume you are prepared to accept her account. In that case, you tell her what she should do if similar circumstances arise in future (e.g. call you), tell her you are noting this occurrence but will not be taking it further, and then you draw a line.

If she claims not to remember, tell her that she must be aware that activity in the house is on record and you can refresh her memory if she likes.

If she outright lies, or if her explanation is nonsense, tell her you cannot leave your father in her hands, grit your teeth, and find someone else. It may be hard, I'm sure it is, but no matter how difficult good people are to source that doesn't make it okay to retain a bad one.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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If it happens once in awhile, then ignore it, but if she routinely leaves early or arrives late, then that's another matter

what were the expectations told to the sitter when she was hired ?

Most agencies expect the sitter to stay awake during noc shifts but even in facilities, they tend to dose off
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Reply to MsMadge
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Most people who work the 'graveyard shift' sleep some of the time, but of course are on call if something happens. Depending on how much work that can be scheduled for them, some of them are paid less as being 'on call' rather than working flat out. For others, payment gets balanced out by the physical trials of night shift work. Perhaps you need to think about payment schedules rather than whether the carer should be finding (pointless?) jobs to do in the middle of the night. Perhaps you could provide a more comfortable bed, but a better alarm system. And I wouldn't go for clocking on and off if you want to keep a pleasant relationship.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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I am confused. She covers 12am to 6am shift? Why isn't Dad sleeping? Why would she be cleaning if there were other aides during the day. My Aunt did this and she was there just to make sure her client was safe or needed help. Not to house clean in the middle of the night.

I agree, maybe she didn't feel well that night. I wouldn't say anything unless it happened again.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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My father has 24 hour a day care except for the few hours during the day he is alone but monitored via the security cameras (that I paid for). It’s the best I can do with the available money.
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Reply to memsobelle
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I agree with Tothill.  She has been so diligent before - I would give her the benefit of the doubt and check videos.  You should be thinking of the future.  He will need even more help as his disease progresses.  Bless you for your devotion to him.
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Reply to dlpandjep
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Write up a Notice to All the Caregivers.

Do not come to work drunk or under the influence.
Do not come to work sick.
Call ahead if you cannot cover your shift or must leave early.
There is no holiday pay or bonus.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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If I am reading this correctly, you have found in reviewing the videos that one night she left 20 minutes early. That same night she appeared to sleep on the couch or was at least resting. But most nights she is keeping busy with Dad and housework?

I would wait, keep checking the recordings and see if there is a pattern. It may be she was feeling unwell that day, but come in anyways.

I think your plan of having the carers call your cell from the house is a good one.

I am concerned though, it sounds like he lives on his own except for the sitters, is this correct? Nobody lives in with him?
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Reply to Tothill
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memsobelle Nov 22, 2018
My father has 24 hour a day care except for the few hours during the day he is alone but monitored via the security cameras (that I paid for). It’s the best I can do with the available money.
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