PT caregiver is really great but should we be concerned? - AgingCare.com

PT caregiver is really great but should we be concerned?

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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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