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My mother is diagnosed with alzheimers and lives with me. I hired a caregiver to stay and care for my mom while I'm at work, light housekeeping, laundry, changes sheets once weekly or as need for my mom, cook, take my mother to doctors appts. As needed. I have 2 dogs that need to be let out 2-3 times during the day and I have a fenced in yard. I have a vehicle which is provided for the caregiver to use for transportation. I also provide lunch at my home. I also have a housekeeper who comes and cleans the entire house biweekly.
My mother is left with some, not a lot of money in her wallet as I care for her finances. I needed surgery and was unable to return to work at this point. I noticed at one point my mother was being put down for a nap after breakfast and the caregiver was sitting in the recliner for a nap, my mother's naps have stopped since addressed, the housekeeping has not been getting done, nor the cooking. I have many appts. during the day and lots of paperwork to complete. The caregiver, even though residing a short distance away would come here to prepare her own breakfast and at times I have been left with no eggs for the weekend because she had eaten them all. I had 12 packs of coke in the garage. 2 a week would be gone. I don't drink them often and mom is a diabetic. I want water pushed. Although I like when my mom has gotten out of the house to socialize and go out to lunch, I come to realize my mother has been paying the bill for both lunches. I want my mother to go to the senior center for activities which she enjoys. It has not happened as of yet. The caregiver always hugs my mother and tells her she loves her. My mom always asks me if she has any mother in case they go anywhere. The caregiver mentioned me leaving some money in the house in case the car needed gas or they needed it for something. I fill up the car.
I believe I finally nipped the issue with the caregiver arguing her not agreeing with my mother being on a specific medication. Neither of us are doctors and the decision is for my brother and I to make. We do allow my mom's input when she is able.
When I spoke with her she said that at times she thought I believed she was my maid. I believe that was more of a manipulation tactic. She schedules appointments during her shift with little to no notice. I mentioned getting a 2nd caregiver in to split the time so I would always have coverage and they could work together. The caregiver became defensive. I was told I wouldn't find anyone to do what she does for what I pay her. I was told she doesnt sit down 15 minutes on certain days which I know not to be truthful. Trust me....She is paid very well and I have cameras in my home. My mother loves her and considers this caregiver a friend. Just curious what others thoughts are.

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I think that with the variety of options out there each person has to pick what is best for their loved one and themselves. I do think it is very important though to have clear cut expectations and rules and remember that although you my become close it is still a business arrangement so having things in writing not only protects both parties, but also helps both parties understand expectations. Again I hope the best for you and your mom. This is a tough journey we travel its nice to know we are not alone.
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We used Shepards Staff in Walkerville md, Only good for you if you are in Maryland.. But I assume there are other great small local agencies out there
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The same as Pam did above, for my Dad [94] I also used an Agency as I wanted a company that was licensed, bonded, insured, and had workman's comp for their employees in case someone got hurt on the job.

Dad had 24-hour care as he was a fall risk, so there were a variety of different people coming through the door. But Dad found with each new person that was another set of new ears to hear his stories :) Eventually we narrowed down the caregivers, once their schedules opened up, to be regulars.

My Dad's insurance carrier wanted to be sure the Caregivers were from a licensed Agency that had workman's comp. Otherwise, Dad would have needed to add a "workman's comp" rider on his homeowner's insurance to cover any lost of wages if that "employee" got hurt on the job.

Due to the cost, around $20,000/month for around the clock watch because Dad lived alone in a house, Dad decided it was time to go to Independent/Assisted Living which is $4,000/month which included housekeeping, laundry, etc. and he kept his Caregivers but cut them back to 6 hours a day thus another $4,000/month but still a good savings compared to $20,000/month. He's happy as a clam being there around people of his own age group, he has really perked up :)
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Thank you pamzimmrrt. I'm sure there are some very good agencies out there which excellent caregivers. May I ask which agency you when through?
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Thank you ramiller for your input. Unfortunately, I don't have a doctors salary to provide all those things although I do provide quite a bit. I have offered a cell phone which was declined. I do have a housekeeper biweekly. I don't use an agency and am leary of doing so. I will be looking into hiring a second caregiver for those weekends and split days.my mother had a life pendant, although she's at the point she wouldn't know how to use it. I am going to look into having a landline put in again. She drives my other car as I prefer.
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we used a local agency for my father, for 10 hours a day when hubs and I worked. About 3 days a week ( what I work) we (almost) always had the same girl. She treated my parents great ( Mom did not need care but the company for her was a plus) Our gal thought of my parents like they were her grandparents. we adored her!! My ILs now use the same agency for a few hours a week to bathe MIL, etc. They also have the same gal all the time. I know emergencies happen, but if they had the owner would come along and introduce the new GC for the day. And she made "spot checks" So not all agencies are the same.
But... I do agree you need to have a sit down with your current gal and set the boundrys.. in writing
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And by the way in regards to the phone situation. They had both a land line because the doc has a life pendant and he had a cell that I carried when we went out. I only used my phone as back up.
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I will share with you how my situation worked out when I worked for a doctor. The daughter in law hired me and organized everything for me. But here was our arrangement. I was hired as a caregiver. I did do laundry but not housekeeping as they had housekeepers who came in every friday. I was in charge of bring food into the home so I was given a credit card with a small limit to cover groceries etc. I drove the doc car as I will not drive my own when transporting someone for business, to much liability. The family was very generous with me. I was allowed to eat anything I wanted and the fridge was always stocked with the pop I liked. This is something they wanted to do for me. When we went out since I was on their time and the doc like fancy restaurant he always paid for my food. In return for my wages and all the perks they gave me I was loyal, trustworthy, and most of all always focused on what was best for the doc. He lost his wife the day I started and because of that felt very alone. I took him to grief classes, all his doctors appointments and when he went into hospital and rehab I was with him everyday. I truly believe he loved me like a daughter and I in turn loved him very much. When he passed I road in the limo with the family to the funeral and grave site. I still to this day have contact with the family and value the relationship with the very much. I think in your case, you need to decide what you will allow and what you won't and spell it all out for the caregiver. My boss the daughter in law made everything very clear from the start and I think that is why things worked out so well for all of us. If you mom likes this person you may be able to work it out, but if not try a private caregiver again. I can tell you with an agency you will not have the same person all the time. This is not good for a dementia patient. The agency may say they will give you the same person but they have a very high turn over rate. In our situation since I worked Monday - Friday and he needed weekend coverage the daughter in law used an agency as backup for weekends and when I need a day off. I really think it comes down to communication and finding the right fit. I do wish you well if you chose to keep this person on or if you chose to find another. Hope this is helpful. Ruth
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Freqflyer....thank you. Very good point! My mom had a cell, but my brother who had taken financial advantage of her in the past was at it again, so I put it up and monitor the calls on mine. I still have it. She just forgot. I will definately look at having a landline hooked up again, even though the caregiver doesn't want one. Go figure! I understand how exhausting caregiver is. I am with my mom 16 hours a day and 24 hours on weekends. It is very important to me that my mother likes her caregiver. M
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anonymous52412, you mentioned about the Caregiver not keeping her cellphone on.... does that mean there is no landline at the house?

When it comes to elders it is so very important to keep a landline up and running because elders know how to use it. They all grew up using one and that is still ingrained in their mind.

What if something happens to the Caregiver and your Mom needed to call for help? Would your Mom know how to use the Caregiver's cellphone? I doubt it. I wouldn't know how to use my boss's Smartphone the darn thing is so complex.... but I know how to dial 911 on a regular old fashioned phone.

I understand how it is when a caregiver gets too comfortable. Had that issue with one of Dad's caregivers but I had to tell myself it is more important that Dad likes the caregiver then for me to like her.

Caregiving is exhausting work. One doesn't realize all that is involved until they are in the trenches themselves. Thus, if I visit Dad and the Caregiver is sitting on the sofa watching TV with Dad, so be it. Eventually the household chores will get done.
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Thank you both for your input. I really do appreciate it. I guess my flags really started flying were when she would start saying how much my mom reminded her of her own, how our families are so similar and how she believes we are related somewhere down the line. She tells my mom she's her 3rd daughter. The boundaries are lacking.
Thanks again.
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Thanks for the additional info. It doesn't sound as though this situation is workable. It's unfortunate that what seemed promising has turned out to be less so.
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Also, I have requested numerous times that my mother's caregiver keep her cell phone turned on while with her. The response was I didn't have to worry, that she would call me if there was a problem. I said that's not the point. I would like you to keep your phone on and available in case I need to reach you. I've had to text or call others to go to the house to get her to turn her phone on when I needed to speak with her.
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I interviewed the caregiver and hired her directly after having her complete a thorough application, checking references and having a backround check completed. I had her come meet my mother to see how they interacted with each other and had her train with my mother's previous caregiver who left due to moving out of state to be with her sister. I do have anything of value locked up in a safe and will move it out of the home. Thank you for the suggestion. I will begin to document thoroughly. At the beginning, this caregiver was awesome, then it seems she became too comfortable. I would need to speak with her about my mother and would have to actually ask her to stop talking so I could actually get a word in. She would go on and on about her own issues. The medications are for mood and pain management. My mother has had difficulty being allergic to all but one alzheimers meds.
My problem was not so much paying for the caregivers lunch when they went out, but them it was 3 times a week and then places like Longhorn or Chop House. Afterwhich, I stopped leaving mom so much money.

At the beginning, the whole idea was to get another caregiver in and for them to split the time. Yes, that should have been my place. My life and work is so hectic. The caregiver all along said she knew someone who was great and it never came to fruition. Now she appears defensive by it since I have been looking into it. Of course she's reluctant. I have concerns about using agencies because I want consistency with my mom and you always here these horror stories.
As far as the senior center. The caregiver usually stayed with my mom since the activity was only an hour or two. There is one I am looking into which is close to the house that is specifically for those with alzheimers/dementia. I thought while Mom was there, it would be a good time for the caregiver to get other things done at the house.
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When hiring someone we can't always prepare for the problems we might encounter until we run into them. I don't know if you set up any kind of contract outlining her duties and responsibilities, but I don't think it is too late to go back and do it now. If they eat out then I think your mother should pay as that is an expense the caregiver should not have to bear, but whether or not meals are included in the home is something you should address. You might decide items like eggs are OK as long as she makes a note when things need to be replaced, extras like coke, especially if I had it squirreled away for treats, are definitely not.

If you want mom to go to the senior's centre then make note that is one of her duties and you expect her to take her there X times a week. BTW, what is the companion expected to do with herself while mom is there?

As for hiring a second caregiver, I'm all for it, it keeps either one from feeling too indispensable and gives you someone to fall back on when they can't come for some reason. They may each focus on different areas of caregiving, which would also be good for you and your mom. Obviously caregiver one is reluctant to give up her steady hours, but with enough notice she should be able to find another part time position as well, which in my opinion is good for her too as she isn't totally reliant on you for her livelihood.
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I assume you've hired her directly and not through an agency. Did you get references, do any kind of background check?

I don't see this as a very workable situation at this point, so I hope you've been documenting. If not, start, immediately.

Then sit down, have a talk with her and present her with a list of concerns and how they can be changed to meet your needs and requirements. Give her a time period in which to change. Make it clear that changes need to be made if she wants to continue to work for you.

I think this relationship is headed toward a breakup, but make sure you've documented everything and taken anything of value away and secured it, even out of the house.

And be sure to document what changes you want in case she takes any retaliatory action later for being terminated.

You might want to consider an agency next time and get someone who's been vetted.

I'm wondering though about the challenge for a certain medication. Is this a mood alterations med, depression med, dementia med....something like that, or is it for a specific diagnosed medical condition which has nothing to do with mood or behavior?
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