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I have a wonderful caregiver once a week for my husband with Alzheimer's. It's my lifeline. My day off.
Since I am new to this, I'm not sure what's appropriate to ask her to do RE: light housekeeping? Vacuum? Dust?
She tidies up while my husband naps. Then she relaxes and usually scrolls through her phone.
OK to leave her a TO DO list? Or should we work out a weekly cleaning schedule as well as caring schedule?
All advice welcome!!!

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I don't have any experience with this, but, would make sure that this wonderful caregiver is open to this kind of thing and that it's in her job description, before approaching her. Maybe, it's just me, but, I would not expect a caregiver to provide house keeping duties, beyond, rinsing off a plate or wiping off the counter after a snack or meal. If she was interested, I'd think it would involve more compensation. Plus, how could she watch the patient and do other duties? If the patient is sleeping, she would need to be quiet.
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Stephanie4181 May 26, 2019
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MuddlingThrough, what is the caregiver's main assignment? Is hubby also a fall risk? Does he try to open the front door and leave the home? Does she need to keep an eagle eye on him at all times? What was the discussion with the caregiver when she came the first day?

Is the caregiver through an Agency, or a private caregiver? If private, do you have an employment contract that states what is expected of the caregiver?

Chances are when hubby is napping, the caregiver will not do the vacuuming, or any household chore that would create noise. Plus caregivers are reluctant to invade another woman's territory when it comes to housework, as we all tend to do things differently.

If this caregiver can relate to your hubby and he's a gentle soul when she is there, you wouldn't want to lose her. If she asks if there is something she can do while hubby naps, then jump at the chance to ask her if she wouldn't mind doing this or that. Or if you are home, ask her if she can help you with a chore while you are doing the chore [such as changing the bed linens], she may say she can do that on a regular basis.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I worked Elder Care as my 'career' and on one job I particular, I did A LOT of housekeeping--sweeping running the vacuum around, dusting. Did dishes or emptied the DW. Laundry, bed changing. Ironing, clothing alterations....

Basically, I sat down with my client's family and said "What do you want from me?" They were just so happy to not have to haul mom all over the country!

I'm not someone who can sit and play on my phone for hours on end--just isn't in me.

By no means did this family 'abuse' me, but a young mom with 4 active kids and a busy Dr. for a dad? Anything I could do to lighten mom's load was appreciated.

My client LOVED to shop (I abhor it) but her daughter would make a shopping list and off we'd go.

Really, what are your expectations of your CG? Talk to her. Some CG will do only A,B, C and no more. I did the whole dang alphabet.

We had to work to find our 'groove' on this and there were some hiccups along the way, but we found the balance between me being the maid or mom's personal attendant.

I will be honest when I say that when the family found out how little money I made, they worked out a contract with my company and I was tipped out monthly to bring my pay to $15 an hour. (This was 10+ years ago).

What would help YOU the most. That's what your aide should be doing.
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My father had a wonderful caregiver. I knew she was a gem from the start but really, really knew it with the many that came after her. Not one could even come close to her compassion and her skill - not to mention her efficiency, reliability and work ethic.

But after nearly a year my mother managed to run her off. How?

Jackie worked full time. When my dad was napping she liked to stay busy. Jackie would do all the laundry, cook meals - enough for both my
parents - for freezing, for over her days off - bake up treats, even would clean up after my mothers demon cat.

It didn't take my mother long to take advantage of Jackie. As well, my mom began to refer to her as “the girl” when talking to her friends on the phone. I heard it and since Jackie was in the same room - she heard it too. To Jackie’s credit she never complained about my mother treating her like The Maid.

I would urge Jackie to cut back on the extra work my mother was expecting from her but she would just say “By helping your mom, I’m helping your dad”. A real gem, right?

It was more complicated - what eventually broke the camels back but I know being treated like a cleaning woman - when Jackie was a licensed CNA - no offense to cleaning women - was a huge contributing factor.

Now, I realize you’re asking about a few light chores - and from your post I can tell you appreciate and value your husband’s caregiver - which tells me you’ll not take things to the level that my mother did...

But still, I’d tread lightly- if I were you. You’ve got a caregiver you like and who is good with your husband. In my experience, as basic as those two things are - it’s amazing how difficult it can be to find that. Throw in reliable and you truly have a rarity. In my experience.

If your caregiver is from an agency, read the contract over to see if it outlines anything regarding housekeeping. If she’s not from an agency and nothing was discussed in her hiring regarding this extra duty - I’d leave it alone. If she was the type like Jackie, she would be starting some housekeeping tasks on her own.

Give it some time. She may yet self start some light housekeeping as she become more efficient and by route with your husband.
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robinr May 29, 2019
You really nailed a lot...the more training someone has, the better the wage they can earn, and respect...goes so far. So many...too many...of the elder generation refer to people as their "cleaning GIRL" or cleaner, or girl, or maid...It is so insulting.
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Im a medical assistant. My job does not include sweeping, vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom. That is for the housekeeping dept. Those duties fall OUTSIDE of my scope of practice.
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newbiewife May 29, 2019
Stephanie, are you a home health aide or CNA who goes into people's homes to care for them? People in their homes wouldn't have a housekeeping department! The medical assistants I've met usually work in doctors' offices or other outpatient settings (possibly some are in inpatient settings, but I haven't met any)--take vital signs, do some medical history, etc. And no, this kind of medical assistant wouldn't be expected to do any housekeeping. However, aides who work in people's homes generally are expected to do some light housekeeping, so long as they also carry out their primary responsibility to the client for whom they are caring. Some clients obviously need a lot more hands on care than others, so the housekeeping expectations would be adjusted accordingly.
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UPDATE: Following everyone's excellent advice, I sat down with my husband's aide yesterday and had a chat. I said, "I don't want you to be bored when you're here. What do you most like to do when my husband doesn't need you?" (Blessedly, at this middle stage, my hubby is continent and (mostly) coherent.) I gave HER a chance to list her definition of "light housekeeping". Surprisingly, she listed things that I consider slightly heavy. Laundry, vacuuming. Together, we worked out a plan for me to post a weekly list on the fridge of everything that needs doing. (Including walking with my husband to the local Trader Joe's and walking the dog!) I gave her the option of picking whatever she wants to do from the list.
A real win-win for me because I dislike being a taskmaster.
So far, so good.
Thank you everyone!!!
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Grandma1954 May 30, 2019
This sounds like a great plan.
Now, if I may task you with another thing to do.
Have a "sit down" once a month. Sort of like a staff meeting. Review how things are going and if your husband has declined and she is doing more for him discuss what will make her job (and yours) safer and easier.
An agency might do this as well but I don't know if you have this caregiver through an agency or not. (not sure if an agency would do this monthly I know when I was using an agency I think it was 6 months not sure if that was standard or if the supervisor was late in making the visits. In any case a lot can happen in a month or so.
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All of mom’s caregivers over the years have done light housekeeping- even the state appointed aides expected to do a bit. Not house cleaning but keeping mom’s space clean. Her bathroom and bedroom and her laundry as well as the kitchen. They didn’t feel put upon and we still have relationships with each one - ours all became like family. One point is we discussed all this at the interview so they could decide if they were ok with it. It’s important to ask instead of demand.
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Rpmitchell May 29, 2019
This sounds very reasonable. All of my patients’ families have treated me well. I have always felt appreciated and have been paid well and pitched in wherever things needed to be done, including changing sheets and cooking, etc The thing here is to not demand. Ask or make arrangements or pay extra. Or hire a house cleaner and caregiver can touch up floors and bathrooms and dust.
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I have posted this before. I worked for a Visiting Nurse Assoc. We had a client who had a Caregiver from probably Medicaid. I knew the wife and she was complaining that the caregiver did nothing while the wife worked. I said something to my Boss and she told me the Aide was not for the wife but for the person she cared for. As long as there was someone else in the home, her duties were to care for the person she was assigned to. Now if there was no wife, then her duties would entail light housekeeping and laundry because they were being done for the clients benefit.

Light housekeeping would be to dust, vacuum, do dishes, clean up, sweep floors, maybe mop, clean bathroom do laundry. And this depends on what you established when u hired her or her agency requires of their aides. I do think, that whatever mess they make while giving a meal, should be cleaned up by them.
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Thank you ALL. Awesome! I really feel informed. Most importantly, I got the message to sit down with my husband's caregiver and talk to her about it. Together, we ought to be able to work out a day that works for all of us!
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Reply to MuddlingThrough
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I think that light housekeeping would be wash dishes, tidy up after her charge, make his meal & clean up from this [I would ask her to also do her own lunch & eat with him if he likes the company], make the bed & possibly change the sheets - doing  a load of laundry & folding it or washing floors would be a grey area, but washing windows is out -

However remember that she is there to be with him not to just clean - talk to her because that is the best way to keep a good carer & that is your prime concern - if she is with an agency they will have a guideline if she is not then check one out & use their guideline as your own
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robinr May 29, 2019
Our agency allows windows to be done, but only as far as can be reached WITHOUT use of a ladder.
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