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After we had a caregiver steal money from my dad (91 yrs) we put in a Nest security camera in his living room to 1. make sure he's ok and 2. keep an eye on things during the day when the caregiver is there. The new caregiver makes his food then heads straight the recliner and literally lays on it all day. She does not know that the security camera is in the room. Is that normal for caregivers to pretty much lay or sit around all day? Its too hot to go outside and they sit and watch t.v.. If its normal then I'll bite my tongue. And he appears to get along ok with her when she engages in coversation.

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What exactly did you agree on when she was hired, did you give her a list of tasks to get accomplished every day? Some people are energizer bunnies who can't sit down and would go stir crazy if they can't keep busy, others... not so much. I'd say you need to come up with a checklist of things to do and sit down with her to discuss the terms of her contract, after that as long as she is accomplishing those things and getting along well with your LO she should be free to fill the remaining time as she chooses.
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If she engaged him in regular conversation, if all his needs are met what else is it for her to do if it's too hot outside I don't feel her sitting back watching tv is bad. Now if she is neglecting him that's a different story.
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swicklund
it wouldn’t be normal in my house. Since your dad likes her I would give her a list of chores to do each day that wouldn’t leave much time for tv. It is company to him I’m sure but I think you could do better. I would put a sticker or notice up that a camera is being used. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make people more aware that better behavior is required. Check your states laws if you are concerned.
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If she’s good with your dad and he likes her and she feeds him and cleans up after herself and him, she’d be fine with me.
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Thanks everyone for your answers. The contract is for light house work which is basically just cleaning up after themselves. He seems to like her and he does eat so I shouldnt complain. There really isnt anything else for them to do but I am sending him some puzzle books! Maybe he'll enjoy that :)
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Good swicklund
You’ve worked it through and that removes a layer of stress.
Add that to your basics checklist and run it mentally from time to time to reconfirm that you are doing a good job taking care of your dad.
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Did you mean anything by ‘when she engages him,’ as in, she focuses more on the TV than on him? Looks like you’re in an okay place for now with the previous messages.
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It is normal. And it is appaling. Show this to the caregiver just before you fire her.
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Nothing really wrong with it that I could see. Like the means of scrutiny. A positive relationship can go a long way. No one is getting hurt. Boundaries aren't violated. Electronic security can divulge much.

Might check into privacy laws.
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I had similar frustrations. I made a daily checklist and reviewed it with anyone coming in to work with my m-i-l. I also told them if given a choice she will always choose not to do something and say no. She would be happy sitting in her chair and watching tv 24 hours a day. I have listed what days require showering, hair washing or washing up, physical activities ( getting up to walk every hour, physical therapy exercises on a sheet of paper, going outside when the weather allows), and mental activities (scrabble, cards, puzzles, crosswords). Some of the aides are really good with keeping her engaged while others sit and watch tv with her most of the time, which drives me crazy. I have found some of the aides have the philosophy of "she is 91, let her do what she wants". To which I reply "she is not able to make good decisions for herself, that is why we are here. If she does want she wants she will atrophy and end up in a nursing home, which is not what she wants."
If you are not happy I would ask the aide to do more and then give her specific ideas.
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Hello what is her job description? Is it is to feed your dad and clean up? Has she done that? Is it to keep your dad company? Is she doing that? If your dad sits and watches his shows, what is she supposed to do? Drag him outside in the heat? That could be dangerous. A walk outside might be good, but you have to be careful they don't walk too far, and he gets tired half way out. He could easily fall from a crack in the sidewalk.
If you have other tasks for her like light cleaning, laundry, change bedding, take out trash, she should be doing that. That might only take an hour or 2 a day.
If you don't then, why isn't it ok for her to keep him company? He enjoys it. She probably has to watch old reruns. That isn't a lot of fun after the 1st hour.
Unless you have a massive daily chore list, I don't see what the problem is. If she is off doing all these chores, will your dad get up and go looking for her?
She is right there with your dad. She is being a companion and keeping an eye on him. Unless she is ignoring the other duties, I don't see what the problem is. Your dad probably loves it.
In nursing homes residents sit and watch tv, watch the staff, and nap between meals. They are mostly in their rooms. Not a lot of talking going on. The staff yes, residents no.
They have activities, but only a small core group usually does them. A full hour of activies is usually a lot, and it wears them out. Most have to nap afterwards. Your lucky to keep their attention up to 30 mins. A lot bail in the 1st 10 mins.
There are activities you can look up online that they might do together. That might only interest your dad for so long. It can also agitate him if he knows his mind isnt what it used to be, and your asking him to use logic and thinking for a half hour project.
You might be looking at this from an active person standpoint. He is 91. If your paying her to be a companion, she is doing that. I think that in itself is worth something. Not a lot in the nursing home get 1 on 1 companion time.
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"When she engages in conversation" caught my eye. Maybe not to interrupt his shows if that's his routine, but they both might get more out of the encounter if maybe once per day/visit, she asked a thoughtful/inspirational question to help keep his mind active and thinking. Google "inspirational thoughts" for lists of questions. One I like is "101 Thought Provoking Questions" from a website called Pick the Brain (https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/101-thought-provoking-questions-ask-late/). If there are some on the list you don't think are appropriate, cut & paste and cherry pick ones to omit. It's more than "How are you feeling today, Mr. Smith?" Could give him cause to relive some nice memories, and the caregiver to learn there's a real person in there somewhere.
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Jasmina said it all. A Caregiver is not a housecleaner. And there is also a classification of "Sitter" - one who sits with the patient to basically monitor the patient.

As a 24/7 caregiver for my DH, the days do tend to get boring - and we all pray for no emergencies.

You need to google "responsibilities of a caregiver" - - - compare them to what a babysitter is responsible for. Basically, it's to make sure the person isn't alone, isn't injured and receives assistance when needed. It's someone who can dial "911" when the need arises.

A Caregiver is NOT a Housekeeper and should not be expected to do your housework. Cleaning a few breakfast, lunch & dinner dishes "maybe" but they should not be expected to cook your dinner for when you get home.

**P.S. I should think you could ask the person if they would LIKE a couple of tasks to pass the day. But if you saw your caregiver cleaning/straightening up things - you could wind up accusing her of snooping and/or stealing. You can't have it both ways.
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I agree with cwillie...what were there terms of the arrangement? If it was to be a companion who sits with dad - basically keeping him safe, fed, help with trips to bathroom, etc...you can't expect them to be doing all the other housekeeping things. However, if you've made it clear that other tasks are expected...then there's an issue. Hopefully there's a contract or something about expectations in writing so that everyone understands exactly what their roles are.

I've seen babysitters do absolutely nothing but watch TV while they were staying in the house with kids. Kids were in bed asleep...what else is there to do? Stay in the house. Make sure no one is breaking in. Kids are not up roaming or going outside. That was the arrangement.

Just be clear as to your expectations upfront.
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What is the caregiver supposed to be doing?
Is cleaning a part of the job description? If so is that being done?
Is bathing a part of the job? Is that done?
Is routine change of positions part of the job? It should be if he is not real mobile. At least every two hours there should be a change of positions or at least get up to go to the wash room if he is mobile.
Is meal preparation part of the job? Is that being done?
Is your Dad very verbal? If so the caregiver should be engaging in as much conversation as he can participate in.
Is the caregiver getting him involved in some sort of activity? Coloring, cards, reading to him, puzzles......
If everything is being done then there really is not more to do than to sit and watch TV.
You could modify the aspects of the job if you want. If light house cleaning is not part of this particular job description you might want to add it.
If helping him bathe and dress is not part of her morning you might want to add that.
The tasks of a caregiver evolve as the client declines so adding new tasks is not unusual.
But a discussion should be had about your expectations.
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I've obsevered that the health of many caregivers, including paid ones, isn't always the best, and their energy levels are low. It's like the sick taking care of the sicker.
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LeeMac Jul 2018
I am a care giver. I am also a personal trainer, nutritionist, and massage therapist, I am FAR from lazy! Most the care givers I have worked with are not lazy. You must have been going through an agency, many of their care givers are lazy. I am an independent care giver, running my own care giving business, and working with a dozen other care givers who are not lazy.
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I am a caregiver and also manage a group of caregivers who serve those needing assistance. Our rule is when we enter the home we are looking for something to do. Duties include the clients personal care as needed like showering / washing hair, dressing, meds given, vital signs taken, meals prepared, light housekeeping like keeping counters wiped down, kitchen cleaned ..dishes put away, bathroom cleaned, trash disposed of, bed linens changed, kitchen floor swept, clients laundry, errands, and transportation to appointments or outside home activities. We are CAREgivers not sitters. Depending on the level of care needed and time required, there may be time for sitting / down time while visiting with the client but duties come first. This Industry often does draw the lazy. Perhaps a daily checklist would serve helpful along with daily notes charted every couple of hours. We like to be the families window for seeing how their loved ones day went through our documentation. In addition to care and safety, a caregivers role should be to help provide and maintain the life, routine, and environment the client needs and has been accustomed to while still realizing their home is their castle and house rules are to be respected. Hope this helps.
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Cbp711 Jul 2018
Wish you had been my Mom’s caregiver.
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A caregiver is very different than a sitter. A sitter sits, and is available to call 911 in an emergency. A caregiver gives care. that means they are professionals. They are often licensed CNAs and while they do not need to keep house, they often do so because they have that in their agreement. If you call a respite care agency they describe their services as helping out with household chores, cooking meals, help with bathing, with errands, etc. If you hire someone independently, then specify what the job entails. Hourly wages should be lower for 'sitters' and of course higher with more responsibilities.
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The issue for me would be hiring a Caregiver who is functioning at a Sitter level. You are paying double the cost without the return. Maybe that is what's actually driving you crazy...it would me!

I would assign lite duties as suggested by others...especially with respect to your LO. I like your idea of the puzzles they could do together...how about some lite Physical Therapy? Maybe "sitting exercises from the couch."

If you were there with your LO what would you be doing with him to keep his mind and body active? That's what the Caregiver should be doing.....
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When we engaged caregivers we found the same thing happening. We put together a checklist, but we included the agency, Mom (the care recipient), the main caregiver, and myself.

We discussed the parameters of the contract (what the caregivers could/could not do) and from there made daily/weekly/bi-weekly tasks and care that needed to be done. These tasks and care included days for bathing/grooming, light household chores, Mom's favorite shows and activities. Believe it or not it worked!

A couple of tips: Keep the list to one piece of paper and don't forget to allow for a date and initials next to each task/care duty. We even left a couple of lines for "Other" and you would be surprised at what was entered. The caregivers really enjoyed it and every once in a while we would give them a gift card as a little bonus, it really does help to acknowledge them and the difficult job they are doing.

Mom was happier, the caregivers seemed to be, and most of all we felt like they were more engaged and actually were communicating with u on a more regular basis. Remember, they don't know what they are expected to do unless you tell them, they do not want to take advantage of anyone, they are there to help, so set guidelines - you will be glad you did!
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DonnaR Jul 2018
I am a caregiver and when you have a plan of care, everything is much easier for everyone.
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Swicklund75

It all depends on what type caregiver was hired and what is in their contract, if there even is a contract.

If she is an independent caregiver,..... is she a sitter or a medical professional? If she is an independent caregiver, not working with an agency, there may not be a contract and therefore you need to get her services in writing of some type.

Not all caregivers, either independent or hired through an agency, clean or cook. You also can not demand it, if there is a contract and you are demanding something not specified in the contract.

Some caregivers are just there for medical assistance. ....giving meds, treating wounds, turning the patient, toileting, bathing etc. They are not required to clean. For that you have to hire a maid service or a different type of caregiver.

You can install cameras in your home. If you think she is stealing you can plant money somewhere and train the camera on the place the money is hidden. If she snoops, finds it and steals it and you have this on camera you can have her arrested.

Unfortunately, with my grandfather, we even had one through an agency that was failing to fulfill the duties specified in her contract, and also stole several items.

Sadly this is very common.

We went through at least four caregivers until we found a helpful, honest, trustworthy caregiver.

Unfortunately, many people do not read their contracts, or even have one, and then they have unrealistic expectations about the agreed upon duties of the caregiver.

Get it in writing. If it is not in writing it does not count.
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LeeMac Jul 2018
Better be sure surveillance is legal. If it is, I am sure there is a requirement to let the care giver know she is being filmed!!
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Caregiver should be checking on patient and assuring his comfort . Can re-position patient,make sure he has fluids and try friendly interaction/conversation if he likes. Caregiver's job is patient care NOT resting!
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LeeMac Jul 2018
I beg to differ with you. I do 24 hour care. I DO REST!!!
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First is Dad in the living room with her? Second is Dad able to go to the bathroom by himself or is he incontinent and is she checking him. Companionship is priceless for the elderly so don't be quick to judge her. What is there for the caregiver to do?
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Assign written reasonable task to the caregiver toward helping your LO. Ask the doctor to write an order for PT/OT to train the caregiver hands on exercises specific to your LO needs. That should also include physiological needs like things that promote the thought processes. This doesn't mean doing this all day but at reasonable times during the day.

All of this should have been spelled out when the caregiver was hired. But expecting the CG to just know what to do is not real world. They need to be trained or have demonstrated for full understanding of what is expected of them.

Just a last thought, you want to check on the laws concerning the camera surveillance with respect to the caregivers rights.
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My spouse is physically disabled from a stroke but mentally intact. In the six years he's received home care, approved by his health care plan (an important thing... the plan vets the agencies with which it contracts), we've had good luck, overall, with home health aides who exhibit a good work ethic. In our home state of Massachusetts, home health aides are often immigrants with limited English language. We work around that out of respect for their proficiency in English at all, and, most importantly, their attentiveness... they may not be good conversationalists but they are caring, they show up ON THE DOT of the time they are supposed to arrive, and they inform me of anything unusual that happens while I'm out. It takes some getting used to but for a patient with non-acute medical needs at home, like my spouse, it does the trick. That aside, a couple of things occasion me to write; 1) the performance of physical therapy. Home health aides are (or should be!) trained to do sit-to-stand transfers, walk assistance and safe transfer in and out of a bath/shower. When a patient becomes a two-person transfer for any reason, and the home health aide is the only one present, the home health aide should not risk safety of themselves or their patient to try to do it. Additionally, physical therapy, no matter how simple, may be out of their purview, due to the complicated muscle/motor skills conditions of people like my spouse (this is a critical thing to discuss with the agency, which may have higher skilled caregivers who can do that work). The other thing... in Massachusetts, home health aides' ability to 'give' medication is limited to cueing the care receiver to take medicine that's already laid out. They can't take it out of the pill bottle. Check with any agency with which you contract to see what the limitations are of the agency and your state.
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I think every caregiver needs a contract laying out expectations, do's and don'ts, etc that both parties agree to. I support the idea of the contract being a mutually agreed upon document rather than a list of demands. We're asking these people to come and take care of our loved ones who may not be the most pleasant or easy people to deal with in declining health. They're on our side not the adversary.
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Wonder if your sitter knew she was being filmed she might want to step it up a bit.
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I am a caregiver myself and I have find that the plan of care works the best and also the family who knows the senior write down the list of things he used to like to do and conversation that he or she is interested in. Some seniors like to talk with caregivers and do some activities that needs to be done and beyond. Some enjoy me time and would prefer to hv the Caregiver assistant only when necessary as they might not really enjoy talking too much , like most of them enjoy reading their books and watching tv, doing pt activities and some might not even like to move around no matter how the caregiver encourages them.

Like for instance one one of the reason I personally hv find myself sitting is the client feel more safe whn she can always see what I am doing as it takes time to build trust , so you might be surprised to discover your father is really happy that she right there where he sees her and can once in a while talk. Me and my lovely current lady that I am helping now, she reads a lot , she like me time, also she enjoy talking but she not a morning person ... in the morning we do what needs to be done... breakfast, Pt activities, bathroom , go sit and read a book... call whenever she want to go to the bathroom or sometimes if she reading a nice book I have to go ask anything you want to do, let’s go to bathroom ... then maybe she sit in the sunroom or outside and after dinner we then sit together and talk and she really can talk but if cameras were in the living room I sure believe her kids think we don’t talk a lot or I don’t spent much time with her per What they see. But luckily she in good memory and she can always tell.
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great answer. I have been a caregiver for over 8 years for my mother and have a list for the sitter that comes, complete with schedule and what to expect- even spent 2 days training her to show her what works and things mother likes to do or talk about or listen to. You are spot on. I have found an excellent care giver who sounds like you!
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I agree with lostboy. Caring for an elderly person can be taxing. They might be pleasant or not so pleasant to work with.
If you could spend a lot of time with your elderly relative, would you? Most wouldnt because it can be draining. Sometimes the elderly person can get along better with non family members.
Some of the responders seem to feel the caregivers are lazy and want to have them account for every moment spent. Perhaps sitting and watching tv, keeping them company is exactly what the elderly person enjoys. If they were able to get up and go they wouldn't need a caregiver.
I'd want to be the caregivers friend not look at them with contempt or suspicion. If you think they cant pick up on that your mistaken.
If you didn't have these caregivers where would you be then?
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LeeMac Jul 2018
Thanks Jasmine, you are so correct! It can be a real battle trying to do what the family wants, when the client does not want to do anything!! We caregivers need to be respected, it is a very taxing job. I love care giving, but many times it is the family that is the problem. They simply do not understand. If the care giver is doing her job, getting light housework done, making sure she is interacting with the client (if the client wants to interact), then there is nothing wrong with sitting and watching TV! Oh BTW, I resent this family setting up cameras and not letting the care giver know they are there! That is illegal I believe
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Swicklund you never said if the caregiver had any other duties while there?
Also any valuables should be removed from the home so there is nothing worth taking.
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