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Mom lives alone and likes her space. Originally after dad died, I was her only caregiver. Now, due to increased pain and the need for extra help, she has to have 2 shifts of caregivers every day. She doesn't like having to carry on conversation all day and has changed her mind several times with the agency due to being stressed from this. I told her that if she decides to have all day care (which she just did), she has to accept it and not change her mind again.

I just called to check up on her and she complained again. I told her I don't want to hear it. Am I being mean? What should I say when she complains?

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Having picture albums available so your mom can show them and talk about them with caregiver is also helpful.

We too, have a wireless doorbell that is kept next to the bed for my mom's husband of 7 years to use in case of complete disorientation during the night. It has been used on several occasions in the middle of the night when my mom thinks there is a stranger in her bed, or she doesn't want her little girls to find out she is sleeping with someone or she tells him it is time to go home.
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I think I will call each caregiver and ask over the phone if they can give her the space she needs unless she asks them to do something....
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Wow! I love these ideas. Thanks a ton!

Part of the problem of forced conversation filling in the 'blanks' is that the morning person is there primarily to put pain ointment on her and heat packs every hour. The afternoon shift is typically bath duty and making lunch/dinner where that's not a problem.
I feel her pain...she is a sweet, outgoing caring woman and I need to remind her this is her life and her time and her home and they are their to meet her needs, not the other way around. I like the idea of having them in another room. Brilliant!!
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Nancy,

You read my mind girl. Nice work!!!
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One other consideration .. you didn't mention it, but more 'advanced' caregivers are not just companions, they provide therapeutic activities, like physical, occupational and speech therapy .. often incorporated into daily activities. These activities help to keep them vital and as independent as possible. So, you might ask them if they're simply making conversation or are they actively engaging her to keep her mind and body alert.

A little tip: give them somewhere to hang out, then give your mom a signalling device. We have a set of battery operated door bells: the push button is attached to a lanyard, and given to her to push when she needs or wants our attention, the actual bell portion we keep near us. We're only steps away, but out of sight. It puts the control over the situation into her hands, and she doesn't have to feel like we're hovering. I can't imagine feeling like someone is watching my every move.
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Seems to be unanimous! For well-mannered, independent-minded ladies, the need to keep up appearances can do miracles for stamina - but then leave them exhausted afterwards. All of the above sound good to me; I especially like the idea of moderating a conversation between your mother and the caregivers, great move.

I shouldn't worry too much about the agency. I'm sure they'll appreciate your efforts not to inconvenience them, but if they're any good they will have seen it all before and know how to manage things considerately. They're also the people to talk to if you think there might be a personality mis-match with a particular carer, by the way: they'll be used to solving the problem without anyone's feelings getting hurt.
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Write mom a note that the caregiver has telling her that this is a friend and she does not need to entertain them, and to take a nap if she so desires. My mom would never just remember that this intruder is a caregiver, she would be insulted because she thinks she can care for herself. I have left many notes and they work wonders for mom and anyone else, including caregiver when they do not need to keep telling her why they are there.
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If she's a typical older person, she might find it hard to have that conversation with the caregivers. If you are local, can you show up and tell the caregivers to bring their knitting and give Mom her space more? Give them a script like, "Mrs X, Would you like me to leave you to be quiet for a while? You know I'll be right there if you need me."

If you aren't local, then the supervisor from the agency should be able to handle negotiations. On my first job as a companion, I was told that the client had said she didn't want anyone who was too chatty, so it's a common situation.
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I agree. tell her its OK to go and take a nap and tell the caregivers she just wants to be quiet and it's OK if they have finished their tasks they can read etc
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Say, "Mom, the caregivers are there for your benefit and convenience. It is not your responsibility to entertain them or engage them in conversation. Tell them that you want quiet periods every day. Set certain times for talking with them, and ask them to leave you in peace the rest of the day."
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You need to give her permission NOT to have to talk to her caregivers all day long. It sounds like to an outsider like me, that she feels duty bound to be friendly and chatty with her helpers, instead of just wanting to be alone and quiet. If I were in your shoes, I would sit down with the caregivers AND your mom and open a dialog between them. Most likely your mother isn't the only one who wearies of constantly having to talk. If the caregivers ARE wanting to chat all the time, then either you change them out to ones who DO like silence, or give them the heads up. If you mother were by herself day in and day out, she would probably just like to sit and watch TV or whatever in silence. Ask her.
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