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?
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?
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.
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!
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.
(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.
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!
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?