I desperately need respite from being the caregiver for a 95 year old mother. I need someone reliable to care for her for a week in our home. My biggest fear is that I have a hard time trusting someone that won't steal from us, or won't treat my Mom well. I know I have to trust sometime. How do I find this person (preferably a Christian). Where do I go from here?

Totally stressed out...

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Before I jump right in to share the many resources out there to help you and others in your situation, let me first say that your fears are my fears. Believe it or not, as much as I hope my Mom never needs nursing home placement, at least a nursing home setting has some supervision of staff who care for residents, if only in theory. In-home respite care is something I cannot bring myself to do for all of the reasons you have stated, as there is no supervision and the camera thing can only do so much if you are miles away. Plus, with all the camera news stories, I would imagine that those who are bent on being harmful to a person who is vulnerable and in their care will do a search for a surveillance camera.

It only takes one story in the news to make me never want to potentially expose my Mom to such abuse and/or neglect. The stories are simply egregious when things go wrong. I say this all to let you know that your fears are not unreasonable. In a world with as much dysfunction as is reported in the news daily, misplaced trust by a primary caregiver could be a matter of life, health, and/or death of a loved one in our care.

That said, Visiting Angels is one of many respite organizations you may want to call and ask as many questions as you need to until you are satisfied. Also interview as many people as many times as you need to before making any decision. Do your own criminal background checks with the person's signed consent, of course, letting them know upfront that is your prerogative.

I place trust only in those friends who have known Mom and/or me for years and have offered to pitch-in by sitting with Mom if I ever need them. I wouldn't ask them to stay with her for a week, though, not because of any trust-related issues; just because that is a long time to ask a friend to fill-in when they, like us, have life commitments and are not as familiar with the many demands and routines of caregiving. Anyone on your friends list you might ask, even for a couple of nights only?

Hope you find someone who meets your TLC expectations. Don't beat up on yourself if you don't find someone right away, ok? Hugs.
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