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Just started a couple months back with daily afternoon companionship for Mom (with dementia). She lives in her own home and this is the first step to her accepting assistance. She's very healthy and mobile but has dementia. We've focused on 'companionship' and the extra socializing has helped her allot. The first girl we found is really great. Even our neurologist was surprised at how great our caregiver is and that Mom is better.

She does cooking, crafts, laughing, and keeping things upbeat for Mom. She even calls her Grandma and Mom loves her. Her personality and disposition are great. The issues 1) she leaves little notes for Mom to call her daily (creating a habit), 2) she highlighted her speed dial phone button so Mom knows to call HER, 3) she calls Mom 1-2 a day even the days she isn't there, 4) she put her number in Mom's purse for emergencies, 5) she has recently gotten in the middle of years long family strife (between us present/involved family members and those not present/but critical family members). I had given her a heads up about what was going on because Mom talks unfiltered and has had upsetting episodes and I've had to clue her in because of her integration in Mom's life. We hate that she got dragged into family politics. Now I fear I have to somewhat filter our almost daily conversations. She calls after every visit with Mom.

We know she dos a great job with Mom and would hate for Mom to lose that relationship but should these things alarm us?

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Have you done a background check on Linda? If not, please do asap. Something is wrong with this person. She has known your mother for a short time and she's calling her grandma? Not appropriate at all. Dropping by on her day off, planning a party without your permission, verbally expressing love for your mother, and telling her she missed her while she visited another family member? The warning bells are ringing quite loudly! Red flags are abundant! I believe she has psychiatric issues. This is a very bad situation that can only get worse. There are some dangerous sociopaths who can be quite charming. Please, tell her you no longer require her services. Block her phone number or change your moms number.
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Luv, you need to get Tracy and Linda together and establish the boundaries between family membership and caregiver professionalism. I still think you're dealing with nothing more sinister than an excess of zeal, perhaps - would you agree? - fed by your mother's sociability and warmth towards people whose company she enjoys; nevertheless there are things that are ok and not ok when it comes to the protection of vulnerable adults.

For example. Feeling free to ring Tracy for a daily gossip, fine. Tracy's being the first port of call for help, not fine. Caregivers organising a surprise party for your mother, lovely. Caregivers doing same without prior reference to the family members who ***are your mother's primary caregivers n.b.***, much less lovely and in fact a pain in the neck.

It's a question of delicate pruning. I suggest talking to them together so that neither feels "got at" personally, and setting out ground rules that you've thought through in detail beforehand - perhaps even composing a kind of manual for use by them and any future HCA's who might come on the scene. It wouldn't hurt to involve your mother, too, as far as she's able to be involved - you could explain to her, perhaps, that there are laws about this sort of thing, and your aim is to avoid potential trouble for these lovely ladies by making everything nice and clear.

You don't say how you have gone about hiring these people? Are you going through an agency or recruiting privately?
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OOOOOOOH now alarm bells are really ringing. You do know that if the caring darling carer takes it upon herself she could print a POA off the internet , get mum's signature on it and it would supercede yours don't you?. I dont know whether you can do it in the US but I have registered our POA at every bank and because mums memory is sporadic I have changed all the pin numbers on the bank cards....just in case.

It would only take her to say would you like me to get you some money out of the bank...ah I can't it would need your signature for that and there ya go all your mum might need to sign a document. let me give you an example...the carer decides (because it is her not your mum who has decided this) that she will throw a surprise party....now who exactly is buying and paying for the food?
I would ask for a reference from her previous employer ...then I would ring the employer or visit to get a better picture (a lot can be said over the phone that wouldn't be committed to paper. In the reference look for covert ways of saying she was unprofessional things like the reason for her leaving is because we had to let her go because she became too upset when a service user died to continue - a potential euphemism for not having anyone to scam. I remeber a time when I had a dreadful timekeeper and in the UK we are not allowed to give negative references unless we can fully justify them - we can refuse to give one though. I gave a particular person a reference that said she had excellent skills which she fully utilised ...when she was there.... key little phrases that can say so much. Hope that helps and before all else cancel that dinner party and organise your own with her ....without a carer present.
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I don't know, the concern I have is that she is creating a super-strong bond with your mom. And being that she is seeing her and talking to her as much as possible, your mom will begin to associate her as a daughter and possibly forget who her real family is. That leaves a wide door open for "Linda" and POA or not, you may have a future battle on your hands if you don't do something. I hate to even think that way but Alz can bring out the vulnerability in the patient and their families.It is so unfortunate that there are people out there who use these situations for personal gain.
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This is not to say that this is the case here, but I recall reading that con artists are usually attractive, helpful, convincing people--those are their stock in trade. If things she has told you don't "add up" that is a huge red flag. Is there some way you can get some independent background information on her?
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Thanks to all who have posted. Sorry I wasn't back on here sooner. I will take time in a couple of days to address many of the useful points listed but here is some extra general information -- in no specific order...

Our companionship plan started about 10 weeks ago – until then it’s all been solely on hubby and I for years. We live 35 minutes from Mom and are there constantly. Two ladies we initially hired were “Linda” and “Cindy”. First three weeks went well and we briefly felt relieved and happy that Mom was being supported and socially engaged. But “Cindy” wasn’t a great personality fit and Mom got sideways about a few things, had a little fit, and said she couldn’t come back. We were stressed because we were then covering “Cindy’s” days. However, cheery “Linda” said, “Don’t worry about getting someone else, we can manage between us and I’m happy to do anything you need.” Hubby and I are NOT on board with that plan. If “Linda” gets sick, her husband gets sick, or we go out of town there is no back up. Not willing to have all our eggs in the Linda basket. Took three weeks to find another good person and Linda kept saying she’d be fine to work 6 afternoons, she is there for us… Two weeks ago new companion started for weekends and “Tracy” is really good so far. We were temporarily relieved again.

Tracy has been working FT for a lady with Alz for three years and Mom likes her allot. Whew. Linda has caregiving experience in facilities, not so much in a private setting. This is her first one on one position. She really got attached to Mom right away. She definitely sees her as a surrogate Grandma but she has a great personality and provides a huge range of interaction and socializing for Mom.

Linda crosses over many boundaries but it is difficult to say whether they are intentional/premeditated or not. Sure, it’s fine for her number to be a speed dial but encouraging Mom to call her every day is creating a habit that circumvents us and a dependency on a non family member. She encourages Mom to call HER if she needs anything or feels sick. Linda also stops by on her days off because she just wants to see Mom. When Mom visited a sibling for two days in February, she felt like she should come home early. Part of that was Linda telling Mom “I wish you weren’t going, I will miss you so much, I love you Grandma” Linda’s husband is out of town for a couple of weeks and she told Mom she would stay and have a sleepover with her…

The other day, Linda said that her and Mom are planning a surprise dinner party and Mom is excited (very possible because Mom loves cooking). Well, that plan is a concern on many levels: It will tire/stress Mom, it’s supposed to be a secret so Linda hasn’t told me who she intends to invite (we wonder if it is the hostile sibling), no relatives have been visiting Mom so that is all unlikely, and lastly Mom wouldn’t probably recognize allot of people because she is even confused sometimes about hubby and I. This big ‘plan’ is at the top of our list when we chat with Linda soon.

Having ‘strangers’ (even really great ones) in our lives and supporting Mom has been a huge (but necessary) learning curve. We have hired both direct and private and we are constantly on our toes. We have no intention of being naïve. I have full POA for Mom and no valuables are in the house. Most financial things have been changed to paperless. Obviously nothing is full proof is someone is determined.

We don’t want to lose someone that Mom loves and is so positive in so many ways – but many of her personal stories don’t add up, she has been pushing to be there as many days as possible or every day, and she has created such a bond with Mom that it would be feasible for her to sway Mom about things if she chose to. It all requires a large level of trust but we’re weighing the things that could be ‘red flags’. Hence soliciting feedback here.

We plan to sit down with Linda soon and discuss a few things and hopefully that will resolve our concerns. We don’t want to lose someone that is mostly ‘too good to be true’ and hope some communicating with her will help. Hope I haven’t rambled too much!
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Yikes. It sounds like a plot line from one of those movies, where the nanny moves in and moves in on the husband and takes over the family....she is completely over the line.
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keep control of money , and know where she goes with your mother on the outings away from home a list needs to be done and she should check it off as it is done . do a suprise walk in . good to have her check in on mom . i like that so much.
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Hearty second to that Susan 1963
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I would let this geriatric Mary Poppins go, nicely of course. In my 29 years as a nurse, I have met a few nurses / companions that behave in this manner. It's always a disaster. These people manipulate the patient and family, and it can spin out of control. Money is usually a factor. Please, do a background check on anyone who is not employed by a reputable agency. Good luck 😊
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Becoming overly involved with clients and not respecting boundaries quickly leads to burnout in the professional caregiver. There is not way to avoid the emotions that are normal when a client passes it is important to not need to dwell on the grief. This sounds harsh but it is self preservsation and avoids rapid burnout and PTSD.
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I agree about she seems clingy and have codependency issues. I'll add my two cent in saying she sound like perhaps she misses her own mother who may have passed..I would ask her if her mom is still alive. if she is private I agree to let her off slowly. sounds like she has a good heart ...but as a home health aide myself I would tell her that u have a few relatives she calls daily.. no need for her to call the aide.. she's going a bit too far.. but some people have a hard time keeping it professional especially if they are new to the field.
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I have to say I still think the cautionary approach is valid here. When my dear dad was alive he used to say "if it looks like a duck walks like a duck and quacks like a duck chances are its a duck but sometimes its a wolf in sheeps clothing". I so want to believe this woman is a straight carer but some of the things she is doing especially the phone issues are way way way outside a carers remit. It would seem to me she has had no training because devolving yourself from emotional attachment and maintaining a professional approach is the first thing you learn. Please do check her out and as to a POA if your mother has a prfoessional diagnosis of dementia then she doesn't have the mental capacity to make changes and you should get that in writing so that you can save yourself thousands of $s if it all goes pear shaped. xxx good luck and keep us posted
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Let me open up Mthr's POA form... "can be revoked at any time by tearing up or otherwise destroying the original"... "and naming a new POA". The more this caregiver can insert herself between the family and grandma, the more she can turn grandma against the whole lot of them.

Sounds like this lass can find herself an online POA form, take grandma on a ride to a notary, and have the POA for lunch with ice cream after. While they are out, they can stop at the bank and put caregiver on the bank and safe deposit box...Eventually this young lady can transfer some land to herself... and "borrow" some money... pick out a few items from the lock box...

Oh, wait, that's not what COULD happen, that's what DID HAPPEN with my mother when she was in early dementia and a "trusted" friend from work took her to an attorney to set up the POA *and undoubtedly a will* after turning mthr completely against us. It took many thousand $, filing for guardianship, several out of state journeys, and a report from the psych eval pointing a finger at the former coworker/POA to get everyone on the same page, that the former POA should not be involved and the only child (me) should be POA. We did not pursue the loan or the land, as we trust this person will have their reward or lack thereof soon enough and we needed to fight mthr's cancer and get her other affairs in order.

Save yourself the troubles I went through. Hire through an agency, and institute a no contact policy outside of working hours.
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One problem I see with the caregiver being a primary emergency contact is that she does NOT have the legal authority to make emergency decisions (you do have the appropriate paperwork for yourself, I hope!) and mom is probably not able to make those decisions either. This means that you, or other appropriate family members, NEED to be contacted asap in an emergency! Not wait for the caregiver to do anything by herself except as you designate. For example, if mom were to fall, the caregiver should NOT try to get her up, and cannot authorize EMTs to treat her beyond their guidelines.
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She "sounds" terrific for your mom, BUT the fact you've taken the time to post "concerns" here on this forum, means you have doubts.....so be sure to take steps to protect mom, and mom's assets. Lock up everything of value that can be locked up, and don't let mom have the key. Install security video cameras and do spot checks on the feeds, save all feeds. Get rid of the landline phone (you cannot obtain records of calls in/out, believe me I tried) and use cell phone only--that way you can see who called, when. Keep the originals of POA, Will, etc out of mom's home. Review your caregiver Contract and if there needs to be Additional Provisions added, add them (things like telling your mom to call the caregiver instead of YOU). Do spot checks in person, see what is going on yourself. If this wonderful caregiver IS in fact on the up & up, there is no harm done to have a safety net in place, and if she is not a good one--she will know that she can't get away with whatever she is considering.....so don't let anything be even remotely Tempting!
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I hear the bells too. That girl is either too good to be true, or maybe is exactly that...too good to be true. I agree you need to have a very gentle heart to heart with her, starting with the business of who your mom should call first in an emergency. It would be very suspicious for anyone else to object to your mom calling her own daughter first... in such a situation. Then change that speed dial to you being number one on the list.

(I don't see a problem with Mom having the girl's phone number, but you might tell the caregiver that you would rather she not encourage the extra phone calls from Mom to her, or from her to Mom, on the grounds that this engenders even greater dependency than is already the case. You don't want Mom to be even more dependent than she already is. Phone calls that Mom thinks to make, on her own impulse, are one thing; training to to need even more calls is not in your mom's best interest. It's your mom that needs to be check on, not the other way around. And if you are calling or seeing Mom on the caregiver's days off, then calls from her to mom, are really not necessary. Say: "It's really sweet of you, but the more independent mom can remain, the better." Then tell her very nicely that she needs to not get in the middle of family disputes. Present that as your desire that she remain on good terms with both sides. Tell her that you would not want a family squabble to cause your mom to lose a great companion like her.

Then sit back and see how that plays out, and she how she responds. If you get push back from her on these ideas you will have a much better picture of what this gal is about. If she's really interested in your Mom's welfare, she'll cooperate. If she is codependent, and is latching onto your mom, because of her own emotional neediness, she will likely not stop, and just keep on as she has been. And if she's up to no good, in that she's after Mom's money etc. you may find her actions go underground, with her being more secretive, but still trying to make your mom dependent on her. You will have to be alert to the clues. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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Agree with all suggestions many caregivers do get over involved with the person they are caring for and professional boundaries need to be observed for the good of both sides. this helps to avoid caregiver burn out and Mom's devastation if the caregive should leave. ther are also many out there who worm their way into the elders confidence and persuade them to change their will. Other than that if you have all your bases covered from a legal point of view just be careful what you share and enjoy the fact that Mom has a good friend. This caregiver may be a very lnely person and sees your mom as a mother figure who really loves and appreciates her.
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Maybe because you confided in her about the family dynamics you've made her feel like family? Has she confronted a family member ot told some else what u said? I don't see any problem with her number in ur Moms phone. Nor as an emergency contact if u can't be contacted. Tell her that was a good idea but you have put a card in her wallet listing family members first then her. Don't wait and then blow up. Bring things up as part of a conversation. Tell her you appreciate all she does but your Mom needs to call you about important things or whatever first so u can deal with it and make notes for the doctor. No problem in Mom calling to chat but you need to handle and be aware of the other things.
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Everything you've said about this caregiver relating to your mother's well-being are positive. She sounds like a dream come true! SHE is the one caring for your mom day in and day out. SHE knows how to care for her, and what kind of reassurances to provide in order to keep you mother's quality of life at it's best. I'm not sure what it is that you're asking should alarm you. That she seems to really care about your mother? That she sees to it that your mother knows exactly how to contact her if she needs to? That she has taken steps to provide the least complicated systems for your mother? Was she given instructions to the contrary, or is she just doing what she believes she needs to do in order to fulfill her duties? Maybe she IS some kind of gold digger. You need to protect what you need to protect, so see to it. Maybe she is simply a wonderful, caring, loving person who is providing your mother unprecedented/an unexpected level of care. What does your gut say if you really listen? Maybe this is a person who deserves to be rewarded greatly (maybe not even monetarily).
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I would just say to her that you greatly appreciate that she is willing to be called in an emergency but that you are available and are the correct one to be called first. She in all other ways seems very good. Just make sure she knows she is the caregiver and that there are some boundaries. Also remember that caregivers do more or less become part of your mom's "family". That can be a good thing. Just be observant and it should work out. DID YOU GO THROUGH A COMPANY TO FIND THE CAREGIVER? THOSE IN-HOME CARE COMPANIES MONITOR THE CAREGIVERS.
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Sounds like she truly cares. She loves being with your mom. If you are controlling the assets, no problem. If not, you may want to change that. In any case, your mom feels she has a friend and is not alone, and she is improving. This lady is worth whatever you are paying and maybe more. Caregiving doesn't suit everyone and you found a gem.
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Maybe she needs to be involved with other endeavors beside caring for your mom. She sounds a bit clingy. It's great to find someone who is upbeat and really wants to keep your mom occupied. Maybe you could talk to her and tell her that she really needs the break away from mom on her days off, that while you understand and like that she is a caring person, it's healthy to have that break she should keep busy in other ways when she is off. Suggest she volunteer at the library reading to preschoolers, at a local hospital or nursing home. Encourage her to do things for herself.
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I'm sorry to disagree , but I'd thank my lucky stars to find someone like that to care for mother. The main thing I would be concerned with is who has control of her money and access to it? If it is you, then there is really nothing to worry about, you control the purse strings. If mom still does, then yes, you better get that changed immediately. As to be getting involved in family politics, she would only have the power that your family allows. Some people can't do a "good job" if they can't do what they think is their duty, this girl sounds like that, just too enthusiastic with a bit of hopefulness of being remembered in the will. I do think you should empty mom's house of anything that is of particular value monetarily
or sentimental value. Tell your mother that you just bought a huge new safe and
want to store her things there just in case someone was to break in. I don't see the problem of this girl putting her phone number in your mother's purse, put yours in there too along with who you are.
I would have all my mom's bills all mailed to me instead of her that way the caregiver would not be tempted to snoop. I am not a fan of confrontations, I do my tweaking from the inside, which is what I am suggesting.

Everyone is different, so this advise is worth what it is costing you. LOL, but I actually have a very similar circumstances except my mother started with this lady and now is in the end of her dementia. I found her a companion and disguised her as a cleaning lady when mom first started showing her dementia symptoms. My gal is wonderful, she takes mom out to lunch, drags her with her on her own personal errands (something that I sure don't want to do!) All the neighbors know to call me or this lady if they ever see mother out alone. I look at her as a member of the family after 2 years, and that is fine by me!
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Alarm bells went off the entire time I read your post.
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Several years ago a very dear but elderly friend had a private caregiver who was very good but boy, did she ever get way too involved in family affairs. Even after my friend passed she kept calling me and I had a terrible time convincing her it was over. She was even telling family members how things should be done. I learned from this that when I got a caregiver from an agency because they do background checks and I can go to supervisors
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I have to ask, is your mom wealthy or does it appear as though she has assets? This young lady my be ingratiating herself in order to gain access to bank accounts or valuables in the house. I hope this isn't the case. She may be just need to be needed.
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Where did you find this lovely girl? If through an agency, go to her line manager and ask for her to be given gentle reminders about not getting too attached to her client, and about maintaining professional neutrality on family issues (think "three wise monkeys.") If it's a private arrangement between the family and the caregiver, though, you'll have to do it yourself. Be kind, and be prepared for a warm-hearted person's believing that you can solve all conflicts with love and understanding - she probably has a lot to learn, alas.

But it sounds to me like naïvety and over-enthusiasm rather than any kind of sinister inveigling, so I wouldn't be alarmed. Is it the caregiver's first time in this role?
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Sounds like she's got some codependency issues. I agree that gently letting her know her boundaries would be best since you don't really want to lose a good caregiver. Then if that doesn't work, perhaps more drastic measures may have to be taken. Is she a private duty caregiver or does she work for a home health agency? Perhaps if she is an employee of a home health agency you could call and get them involved if necessary. You don't want this to turn into "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle." However, from the sounds of it I kind of doubt that abuse is any concern although I am not against getting surveillance equipment installed if you have any suspicions. I hope this helps!
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It feels to me as though she overstepping her bounds. You decide who mom calls in an emergency not her. Was a background check done?
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