Cjoyce Asked November 7, 2017

My stepdad has expressed romantic interest in mom's caregiver. I don't know how to react to this.


'after your mom is gone.' He also raised her pay from $15 to $20 dollars since we hired her 6 months ago & her hours keep lengthening which is making me nervous for them financially, as mom is relatively healthy other than dementia & her mom lived to 97 with dementia ( mom 77- 5 years since diagnosis.) I don't know how to react to this. My relationship with stepdad has been getting progressively worse as he seems to not want me around & not have contact with caregivers. He insisted on hiring this woman who is from his bible study class & she does take decent care of mom but is this normal?

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Countrymouse Nov 7, 2017
Oh *dear*.

Man in difficult but committed relationship. Angel of mercy making his life easier and sweeter AND at the same time making a good job of caring well for your mother. Normal? That he wants her around and is engaging in daydreams of sunny uplands to come? I'd say so, wouldn't you?

Question is, what are you going to do about it a) and do you have any alternative plans up your sleeve that you might be able to get Stepdad to consider b)?

How do you get on with this lady, apart from your stepfather's nervousness of ? possible "two women under one roof" situations? If you can befriend her then you can also influence her to exercise caution and propriety, which might be a better and easier way to go about it.
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Laurieo Nov 13, 2017
Definitely normal. I would suggest you let her know your stepdad has a crush on her. She may not be in on this secret, and she should know, as an employee of the home. That opens the communication between you and her about professionalism “until Mom’s gone”. She should not be ENCOURAGING such a crush CURRENTLY. I would go so far as to be HONEST about the hour increase (not necessarily the raise) and ask for HER input on how many hours SHE thinks are truly warranted TODAY - not predicting the future. Caregivers can tell how much time we need to be thorough. She may agree with you about the hours and be able to SUGGEST they wait on adding hours AS NEEDED?
Caregivers become part of the family sometimes. I’ve had one client with a huge crush on me EACH VISIT, tho we needed to be INTRODUCED EACH VISIT as well. It was just NICE for HIM to have a new person in the house for a few hours. It never lead to ANYTHING inappropriate. Care recipients and their loved ones STILL HAVE FEELINGS like the rest of us, God willing. I just KNEW this care recipient had a crush and I never took ADVANTAGE as a result. And he never did anything inappropriate to/with/regarding me. He was just HAPPY to have a woman in the house who “wasn’t as strict” as his wife was. She was his primary caregiver and the primary caregivers often have to “bother” dementia patients with showers, denture cleaning, butt wiping and other jobs that the dementia patient finds to be unnecessary harassment! So it was PERFECTLY NORMAL to prefer a younger woman offering a turkey sandwich! :)
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vegaslady Nov 7, 2017
This can work out well. My aunt had a caretaker and my uncle married her after the aunt died. Caretaker, now second wife, was a wonderful person and took care of him until he died. She remains friendly with the rest of the family and no one had has any complaints altho there were original doubts. I guess it depends on who the people really are in their hearts.
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murphyclm Nov 13, 2017
Bible study class? Call on the preacher and ask his advice, lol. The caretaker already knows this is inappropriate.
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Tothill Nov 13, 2017
20 years ago when I moved into my house, I met my new neighbours. He was tall and handsome with a beautiful smile, his wife whom he doted upon, had had a massive stroke and could not tell girls from boys. He kept her home with help until she could not toilet or feed herself. For many years she had no speech, but she could play bridge.

A couple days later we were talking and he told me he had a girlfriend. The girlfriend helped him to look after his wife. They laughed and talked. While his wife played bridge at the seniors centre, they could go out for a light meal, for a walk or grocery shopping. When his wife went into respite they went camping.

His wife was there physically only. Her mind was gone, yet he kept her at home as long as possible and when she went into a nursing home he visited daily. When he lost his licence due to eye sight, his girlfriend drove him.

Once she went into a nursing home his girlfriend moved in. Her family was appalled, he did not have children. They gave each other company, friendship and perhaps intimacy that his wife could not longer provide and had not been able to provide for many years.

I have no idea if there was any sort of a financial arrangement between them, but I do know the relationship was incredibly important and helped him to cope with the terrible changes in his wife.

HIs wife died about 10 years ago, he died about 4 years ago. I am thankful his girlfriend was there for him up until the end.

I could never condemn anyone for seeking out happiness, while they have good health.

How many here are isolated by 24/7 caregiving and would love some companionship and a sharing of the load?
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jd6122 Nov 13, 2017
why do you think you have to react? Your stepdad has a free will to choose whom he cares for or not. Just focus on making your mom have the best day possible in her situation and let your stepdad take care of himself.
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Hugemom Nov 13, 2017
It’s really difficult when your life stinks and all of the sudden someone comes along who is nice to you, compliments you and maybe cares about your well-being, understanding what you’re going through as a caregiver, to not daydream about “what if?” and develops a crush, maybe even an emotional crush. We recently purchased a patient lift for hubby who is immobile and bedridden. I am his sole caregiver. He was never that affectionate unless he wanted to be intimate and even though I love him, our marriage has always been “meh”. When we purchased this lift, it was broken. We went through channels until I was called by the company rep. We spoke once on the phone about the lift. We joked around and had a very pleasant conversation. He then emailed me a local company where I could take the lift to be repaired. When I emailed to thank him, he wrote back and told me what a positive attitude I had and that I was truly a special special person. He said he’s been in his field for decades and basically, he knew what he was talking about and that I am truly special. It knocked my Snoopy Halloween socks off. Someone recognized what hell my life is now! Someone said I was doing a wonderful job! Someone said I was special! Wow! I had to really put the whoa on myself. I had to remind myself of the old adage, “He probably says that to all the girls!” I e emailed him once since. Thanking him for sending me a reimbursement for the repair of the lift and have heard nothing. End of emotional affair for me before it even started.

Try to see this from Dad’s point of view. But I would certainly speak with this woman about what’s going on since it’s obviously upsetting you. If mom is still fairly sharp, she observes what’s going on. A look, a playful phrase...Please don’t react until you’re certain she is playing into Dad’s puppy love. If she’s a friend and not a trained health care worker, she hasn’t been trained to kindly rebuff advances and may think she’s just continuing the friendship and “being nice”.
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Dorianne Nov 13, 2017
I was gonna say, kind of as Laurieo has pointed out....does the caregiver KNOW about your stepdad's romantic feelings? Or is this something he has built up in his head? Perhaps she does know but does not reciprocate it. Maybe she is just a nice lady from bible study who needs the work and can't afford to speak up. There is all kinds of potential for sexual harassment liability here that sets of alarm bells in my head.
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97yroldmom Nov 13, 2017
I'm a broken record here but my uncle married his wife's nurse after his wife died. (Nurse was with aunt over 10 years). They were married a good 25 years. During his life his daughter died of a brain tumor and his son with complications of diabetes and was on dialysis. Uncle also had diabetes and then dementia. I'm not sure what we would have done without her. He did not block her (their) children from visitation etc. while their mother was alive. The nurse was about the age of his oldest child. Was not a beauty by any stretch but they had a good life together for many years. Each situation is different.
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Invisible Nov 13, 2017
The problem is that all these cheating men - and they are cheating - would never have condoned this sort of arrangement if they were the invalids and their wives were out dating. The other problem is that old men don't see themselves as old. When they go after younger women, they think they are the same age.
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