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I'm a caregiver for a 99 year old man with severe dementia. I recently found out the 3 previous caregivers quit because they were getting sexually harassed too. The family is aware and the company never disclosed to me what I was walking into. I resent him and really hate my job now because of it. What can I do?

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I would like to say
Smack his hand - but I expect that could be classed as assault?
TELL HIM OUTRIGHT.
Turn the tables and say EXACTLY what he says to you, to him. Parrot him, if you like.

It is a difficult situation for you. Ignore what I said, as they are only what I would most probably do in the same circumstances. Do NOT put up with it without fighting back. It IS wrong.

Ask your client if he likes you and wants you to stay? If he says yes then tell him, he is driving you away.

Good luck
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I like the above answers, but it may be that the family needs to try to get male caregivers only for him. That is what an acquaintance of mine had to do for her father after his stroke.
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It could be suggested to the family that they consult his dr and ask if there are meds to help his behaviours, as they are disease based. Could your agency discuss this problem with the family.

I agree that additional training may help you to deal with these kinds of situations.

cm makes some very good points.
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Ask for training. If that can't be provided or isn't effective in helping you with your client's challenging behaviours, ask for another assignment.

I can understand your grievance that neither the family nor your employer gave you fair warning of the problems. Are you sure the agency was told by the earlier caregivers exactly what was going on? If those people just walked without making official complaints, it would be difficult for the agency to raise the issue with the family and plan a way to deal with it. These are serious allegations that need proper handling; and unfortunately it seems that at the moment everyone is too upset, embarrassed and anxious to get a grip on the situation.

I'm not posing this question to you personally because I don't think it would be fair to, I don't mean to interrogate you about what has clearly been a distressing experience. But I agree with GA that it really would help us come up with suggestions for strategies if we knew what was meant by "sexual harassment." Is he exposing himself? Making inappropriate requests or remarks? Touching or attempting to get hold of his caregivers?

The thing is. He is 99 years old, he needs care, and "we" - the collective, the community - need to find a way to provide it that does not damage those around him.

Your client is NOT culpable. He has severe dementia. He is not responsible for his behaviour. If he were handling his faeces that too would be disgusting and hazardous but nobody would be calling him a "nasty old man."

Solutions could be anything from insisting on a male caregiver (assuming you and previous caregivers have been female, of course); ensuring that two people attend him and none is ever alone with him; psychological assessment to see if any therapy or treatment might help; possibly even the use of authorised temporary physical restraints during toileting or washing, if wandering hands are the problem.

What won't solve the central problem, that a 99 year old man is very difficult to provide care for, is one person after another walking away.

I don't mean that you yourself should tolerate intolerable behaviour, not at all. But if you possibly can, it is much better to do something constructive about the problem than to walk away and leave it for the next unwitting victim.
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jeannegibbs Apr 28, 2018
Well said, CM!
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Find another job and leave. And if his family is going nuts trying to find someone, let THEM step in and deal with a nasty old man. Dementia or not, you do not have to tolerate this.
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I agree with GA and HolidayEnd. No one should need to put up with sexual harassment.


And the agency should have disclosed the situation to you.


On the other hand, the poor guy is 99 and not in his right mind and his family must be going nuts trying to secure good care for him. I don't know what you mean by harassment, but since other caregivers left over it I assume we are not talking a wolf whistle now and then. This is something unacceptable -- or it would be if this were an office environment and he was 58. Is it "just" talk? That is unacceptable, too, but in the circumstances could you cut him some slack? I'm trying to think of how much I could put up with from a geezer with a broken brain. I don't honestly know. No touching, I think. Dirty talk? MAYBE.


What responses have you tried? Being stern? "Mr. Client, I am here to help you out. Talking to me that way is entirely unacceptable. ... Would you like to be wheeled over to the window?" Humor? Distraction? "Oh Jim, I'll bet you were a real lady's man in your day! Did you like dancing? What did you do when you went out with a lady?"


Ask your agency if they have any videos or training materials regarding dealing with raunchy old men.


Type dealing with sexually inappropriate patients in the Google search box. You will be surprised at how common this is and how much advice is out there for the care provider.


But you absolutely are justified in asking for a different assignment.
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Complain to the agency to get a different patient or quit.
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Talk to the agency and ask for a reassignment. No one needs to tolerate this. If the agency refuses, find another agency.
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