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I am finding our helper increasingly doing less and less when she comes to help mom. She does bare minimum and even some of that I find myself helping her with. She no longer resembles an employee. At one point she even noted in our log that she feels like "family". I find myself taking back the laundry duties, etc. I can see my loneliness is part of the problem as I find myself talking to her, sharing things and I will most definitely cut back on that. Any feedback? cadams

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This is why I preferred to hire through an agency and why my preference is for more than one person as a caregiver, even though we had someone in for only a few hours a week I was constantly irritated by the little things she did. It is only natural that the more someone is in a home the more they feel free to remake it into an extension of their own personality, but the longer you let the little things slide the more entitled she will become. Beware the caregiver who feels "like family", while it seems a nice sentiment she must remember she is not family, she is a paid employee and what you ask her to do is not a request, it is one of the terms of her continued employment. I do believe that sometimes employers and employees can be friends, can indeed become like family, but only if each of them understand and respect their place.
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I do think it is fairly typical.

You need to develop the habit of asking her to do things. Like..on the way out to run errands...."while I am gone will you change Mom's bed and get all her laundry and sheets into the wash"? Things like that. 

When you think about it...it is sort of the same way you would ask your sister to do helpful chores if she came and visited for a day or so.

I also have "family like" help coming in. This is how I solve it.
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We also need to realize as time advances forwarded that the elder needs more care... thus less time to do light housekeeping. My own Dad became more and more of a fall risk, so his regular Agency caregiver use to dash to change the bed linens while Dad napped in his recliner after lunch. There was a lot of dashing going on trying to get things done... eventually she couldn't keep up. She was great with Dad so I never said anything about the housework, chances were slim that Dad's house would be in a Better Homes & Garden photo shoot.

Dad's two favorite caregivers were like family after a while, and I appreciated it. One caregiver had her retired hubby come over to chat with Dad to help give her time to do other things in the house. Dad enjoyed the chats. When Christmas came around, Easter, Thanksgiving, or Dad's birthday, the two caregivers always had something special for Dad, a gift or candy or homemade cookies, etc. Any time one caregiver went on a holiday trip, she always came back with something for my Dad, like a baseball cap :)
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CADAMS --your post reminds me of the time I was sitting with a group of women who were all talking about their cleaning woman. One told of the woman who came 3 times a week (for a couple!) and 'cleaned' the bedroom with the TV on during her soap operas. The other mentioned she served breakfast upon arrival and then served lunch later on. The third talked about nothing ever being moved away from the walls. See Katie's suggestion to have the to do list and feel free to mention it. As for your chatting with her. - after the introductory 'how is everything'. Get busy and say you both have a lot to do so you will leave her alone now. Also, this is your time to regenerate, so do your errands or take a nap. That is part of the benefit of having someone come in.
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I have come to accept that even people being paid can't be all things to everybody. I need an aide to take care of my wife but would love if they cleaned better and meal prepped too. In the past I would search for the complete package and/or try to "mold" them into being something they were not. Neither of which worked out too well. I accept finding the caregiver that is friendly & compassionate to my wife because that is really what is most important. The other "stuff" can get handled by others if it gets to bad but a smile on her face and being cared for emotionally and physically is what's really important to me.
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I've had caregivers in the home for 7 years. At first it was a "24-hour" caregiver--two men took turns a week at a time. My hubby although in need of nearly constant supervision because of his cognitive disability was able to do all his personal care and more, so the caregivers took on all the housework & maintenance (without even being asked) which helped me tremendously. As time progressed, however, my hubby needed more assistance and now needs help with everything so I have two people on in the daytime and one overnight. They all have different personalities and abilities and skills, and housework isn't as rigorously done as I might like these days but they never neglect hubby and are unfailingly cheerful and attentive to him. I believe he thinks they ARE his family, which is a blessing really. They treat him with love and laugh at his jokes and get him to shower daily and clean up his increasing fecal incontinence episodes with efficiency and good humor. One man loves to clean, one woman is 6' tall & big and strong and can literally lift hubs up, one is handy and is always looking for stuff to fix (he installed multiple grab bars and stability poles so hubs could keep making his way around the house), they all take him for rides in the car whenever he wants to go (used to be walks in the park), they make sure he eats & is hydrated, they have an uncanny knack of knowing when he is getting a UTI, and many other things. They also cover for each other in the crunch and work with each other's schedules--in 7 years I have NEVER had a "no show". I can go anywhere & do anything any time I want to, and I can spend all my time with hubs snuggling him and leave the physical caregiving to them. The man who's been here the longest has become a friend, really, along with his wife (who runs the agency). I can't imagine life without them. They are very special people. We only had one crazy one, and we got rid of her (she was two-faced). I do bug them about stuff like keeping the doors locked at night, wiggling the toilet handle when it continues to run, & so on, but whether or not the dishes get washed before bedtime has fallen way down on my priority list! Hubs isn't easy, he's a strong man & doesn't do anything he doesn't want to do so they've all developed their own unique ways of getting him to eat, drink, shower, let them clean him up after accidents.I've learned to just let a lot of things go. They do the wash, shop for & cook & feed hubs, keep the house reasonably clean, and focus their attention on him. I feel very fortunate to have them.
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Well, perhaps that's not so uncommon in any personal service - housekeepers slack off, gardeners do, hairdressers fall into a rut

Mom's favorite caregiver is fairly lazy as well but I just try and overlook it - I'm sure she thinks she's irreplaceable and frankly I depend upon her
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I had that problem with a caregiver a long time ago and I just had to let her go.

She just got lazier and lazier and I lived too far away to constantly supervise her.
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I'll add a reply here again, Livesforcolor - I've found over time, that I've sometimes dropped some procedures, felt more lazy, yet I'm grateful to my current elder lady, that she understands that each caregiver (she uses about 6, on a regular basis) brings different skills. If I've done things that really motivate a client - I put my energy there.

I have judged myself as lazier at times - yet when I've seen some other aides, I have been appalled, for they brought so little - but often were the best at chatting with family or my company, and being the most respected.

I'd go by the reactions of the elder, the reactions you see when the caregiver arrives, or what you hear when they leave. That's not a 100% validation, for many elders have developed a habit of seeking reassurance by criticizing whoever is not in the room.

And some caregivers have learned how to act all cheerful when they arrive, so a forgetful elder brightens up to see them - but that same caregiver may neglect them through the day.

Maybe one thing to notice, if you hire someone, they are the ones involved, and the lists of chores are for you, while other work aspects are for the elder. Both needs are valid - yet there are times when the elder's needs change and evolve, and it matters to notice if a caregiver is able to shift gears when this happens, and that can be a good caregiver, even if some of your lists and chores are skipped.

Some successes are harder to see: I was fired for an arrogant attitude from a job, but I was the only aide who took as long as it took, to persuade the heavy woman with alzheimers, to actually get up for her shower - even it I was soaking wet often at the end of my time helping her in the shower. Other aides, just wrote "patient refused."

After I left, same patient developed major sores, because she was rarely having showers.

Some periodic questions and conversations - AND notes in an ongoing notebook left in the home - require those notes of all caregivers, for those notes provide the structure of their job, and also require that each arriving caregiver reads the prior caregiver's notes, and adapts their focus to areas indicated by prior caregivers.
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I would be direct....and gentle, just as you have been here...
Let her know, no shame, no blame, just time for change.
Perhaps she will will hear you, and if not, then it's time to let her go.
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