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I work for an elderly couple, one has dementia. Their son lives in another state and will be bringing his wife and kids to stay and "play" and vacation. They have done this before and took advantage of me asking me to do THEIR laundry and dishes etc. I am here to care for the parents....NOT a maid. I also find I have resentment for them taking advantage of personal care attendants, so they can go off and play all day. Why can't they just stay and do fun things/ take care of their folks at home? They're only here for a week. It baffles me. How can I gently approach the issue with them/ my employer?

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I think that you need to approach this as a negotiation rather than an ultimatum, I hope that this visit isn't within the next few days so you have time for that. I would be straightforward in telling them that their presence in the home makes extra work for you and that when you were hired caring for extended family was not part of the bargain you agreed to (it wasn't I hope). Mention that you would be willing to take your vacation when they are there, if you wish you can negotiate being available for a few hours for certain things that they are not comfortable with (bathing?). Hopefully they are just clueless and this issue hasn't occurred to them and are not the kind of people who use others.
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FloridaDD Jul 27, 2020
Many relatives will want to see how the caregiver interacts with the LO and will not want her to take vacation while they are there.  Most of the suggestions I see here are totally focused on the caregiver, and the relatives can have legitimate concerns.   Depending on OPs contract, she can say I wont do your laundry, etc (but then she has to share washer/dryer/dishwasher -- I hope they have dishwasher).
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Good Morning, as I write this I am visiting my mom from out of town. My mom has a PCA for 75% of the day. I have siblings who live in town and stop by regularly to check on mom. The rule of thumb is, if mom touches it, the PCA will assist with it. For example, mom lives in a 3 bedroom home. The PCA is responsible for mom's bedroom, mom's bathroom, the kitchen, dining room and living room. They do not cover the two bedrooms where mom does not sleep. I personally wrote up the contract for the private PCA and explained my expectations to the agency PCA. I went a step further and put together a handbook about the expectations of the PCA. Mom's sister recently came to visit and stayed at the house. I informed my aunt, upon her arrival, of the duties of the PCA. Having clear expectations from the beginning is always best. However, "gentle reminders" throughout the course of time does not hurt either. Good luck 🤗
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disgustedtoo Jul 30, 2020
AWESOME! That is how these issues should be handled. Clear expectations. Ensure anyone outside the "agreement" understands the expectations and doesn't overstep their bounds!
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You work for the parents, what do they say about what you are being asked to do?

You have to understand that in their minds you do the dishes and the laundry and everything else that the lady of the house can no longer do and I promise you that translates into taking care of their child and their spouse and family. Just like mama would do if she was able.

I don't think that they have any notion that they are taking advantage or abusing you in any way.

If you feel like what they are asking you to do is too much, and I think that you doing their laundry is asking too much, then you need to speak with your employer and tell them that you feel like they are crossing boundaries by asking you to do chores for the family. You can ask for more money or you can say it is not something that you are willing to do. But you need to address the situation because you are feeling resentful about it and that will show.

Choose your battle carefully if you like your job. Putting them on the spot will not be good for anyone involved. Decide what you are willing to take on and negotiate how this can happen without anyone feeling upset.

Another thing that you want to consider, people assume that you should be perpetually busy when you are working, which I agree with, so make sure that you are not idle and giving them cause to feel like giving you additional chores is okay.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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If you're employed by an agency or business: "Well, the thing is, I would be breaking company policy to do anything besides what your parents are paying me to do. They've really cracked down on this policy and I can't lie to them. I could lose my job and I can't risk that. I'm sure you understand."

If you're independent, then: "I just don't feel right doing that. Your parents expect me to help them and they have to come first. Anything else would take me away from doing what I'm paid to do, and that just isn't right. I'm sure you understand."

Another tactic: Say something like "Wow, you all have a lot of clothes and dishes! I know a great housekeeper and can give you her number if you want. She might be able to come by this week."
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Mysteryshopper Jul 30, 2020
I like this method of addressing it. Make it seem like it's newly enforced from higher management or would otherwise not be the "right" thing to do. Definitely, I'm in favor of addressing this issue as I've had "extra duties" placed on me in a variety of professional (and personal) scenarios. Handling it correctly is key - especially if a paycheck is involved. If employee comes on too strong, the other party is embarrassed/hurt/angry and then no one is listening anymore. Sometimes these situations start small and one day it's out of hand. Meanwhile one party sees no problem whatsoever, but are they mean people or are they clueless?
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Do you have somewhere else to go? If so I would consider this as your vacation time (you do get days off I hope) and ask them to let you know when you need to return to work.
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MaryKathleen Jul 30, 2020
I love it.
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yes, thank you! in this crazy world now with the covid, i need a break!
Should i just say "I will be taking that time off, let me know when you need me back". ?
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bevthegreat Jul 30, 2020
That is a great idea!!!
You take Vacation at the time they arrive but, you have to be ready for them to say no that the man and wife aren't able or already have their hands full with their own children.
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You do not have to do their laundry, you do not have to cook or clean for them. If you do I would tell them, hopefully prior to their arrival, that laundry service will be $XX.xx per day, cleaning will be $XX.xx per day and any other service that you provide that is not DIRECT care to the parent will be charged. Your time is scheduled and you are providing care for mom and dad so you can not do both.

You are there for their parents not to provide maid and or housekeeping services for them.
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DrBenshir Jul 30, 2020
You have great advice: the family is coming to take care of Gran and Gramps so you won't be needed that week, right? You "don't want to get in the way and interfere with private time together". I suggest presenting it that way to your employers, and then scheduling yourself a lovely break to take care of yourself and recharge.
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Be open and honest with them and tell them how you feel. You are not a maid. You are not cleaning up after son and wife and kids. Period. Your job is to take care of the elderly parents only. You don’t need to do FAVORS for the son, wife and kids. Be upfront with them.
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Reply to elaine1962
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The OP is by no means judging the adult child and family's behaviour towards her clients; and neither is she suggesting that they should take over the parents' care while she puts her feet up.

What she resents is that they use her clients' home as a hotel and take for granted that she will provide hotel services such as laundry and housekeeping. She may also feel, although I hope she keeps this opinion more to herself, that if the family is going to descend on the grandparents the least they could do is give the grandparents their attention.

[I'm not sure she'd be right about that last bit, mind. Thinking of grandparents I have known, they love the little ones very much indeed but even more so when they're out of earshot.]

Be that as it may, the OP is a Personal Care Assistant. She is not a housekeeper, she is not a maid, she is not a home help. Supporting clients with their ADLs - including washing, dressing, preparing food, eating, organising personal belongings, ordering and taking medication, maintaining a safe and healthy living environment - will necessarily spill over into helping with the clients' laundry, kitchen and other domestic routines. But it is not to be confused with her being a maid of all work. She is right about this.
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FloridaDD Jul 30, 2020
Oh please, of course she is judging, and she says, why cant they take care of their folks at home when they visit.
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Dear Gentlecare70,

"Cwillie's" and "Countrymouse's" suggestions are great ones.
Also, I think you saying/asking "I WILL be taking that time off, let me know when you need me back" is good.

I understand your resentment - most of us who get taken advantage of at one time or another feels it. The unfortunate thing about being taken advantage of is once it happens, it becomes more difficult to undo it. So if you were ever to take a similar position again for someone else, you should make everything clear (even if you have to put it in writing and have it signed) what your duties are and are not and for whom being as specific as possible - I would even have a specific section applying to guests/family members so there can be no confusion. You could actually try to put this into place now. Tell either the couple or the son or both "There seems to be some confusion about what my role and duties are as a PCA so here is a list of what I will be doing going forward". I would even begin with a paragraph regarding what a PCA is so they have a clear understanding what it actually means to be one. The old saying goes "we can't be taken advantage of if we don't ALLOW it in the first place" - this is simply a part of having boundaries/limits.

Lastly, you asked "why can't they just stay and do fun things/take care of their folks at home?" - the answer is simple - they don't want to. That is not a vacation and "play" time to them and why would they when they have you there to do their laundry and dishes etc. So they have a "free" hotel and maid service on their stay/play/vacation - sounds real good!

I hope you can get a resolution set into place and move on with taking care of this elderly couple and hope you will let us know how it goes!
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