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I've had to have the plumber out on several different occasions to fix the toilet & sink. He pulled out paper towels and found food lodged in the bathroom sink. I suspected that she was doing this because I could hear her rinsing something out when I was in the adjourning bathroom.


The only problem is that when I confronted her, she completely denied it. I have told her NUMEROUS times and also had the plumber tell her to only use the bathroom sink for washing hands and brushing teeth. She always agrees to follow my direction, but then we find the sink stopper out of the sink & food particles in the sink when the next caregiver takes her shift.


Any suggestions on how to handle this in the best way possible? This caregiver has been helping me for almost 3 years now. She's from a foreign country, but has been here for 20 years. I can't imagine she doesn't understand what I'm saying. I'm getting suspicious she's may be upset I've hired 2 other caregiver's to alternate the full time schedule. It was too much for 1 person & works best for my mother to have someone here no more than 5 days straight each. My mother has been on hospice for almost a year now. It's a very difficult stressful situation without the worry of another sink back up & more money being spent that isn't needed. I’ve already had to spend close to $1,000 to get the bathroom working properly.

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My house is 60 yrs old and old pipes. You flush nothing but toilet paper down the toilets. Tampons will get bigger and clog the pipes. No wipes either. My girls were taught to wrap everything well in toilet paper and put in the can with a lid which was lined. Since they spent there time with friends in the family room, that bathroom had a big sign "Only flush toilet paper, nothing else".

I would say this CG is being lazy. And, she shouldn't be putting food down the kitchen sink either unless you have a garbage disposal. I have a mini trash can I bought at the $1 store. I line it with a cheap ziplock bag. All food goes in there. Not in my kitchen trash can in the mini one.

I would think someone from Russia knows English well. English is part of most Europian school curriculum. Maybe she is getting too comfortable. You may need to tell her that Mom can't afford constantly calling in a plumber. She needs to follow the rules or you may need to let her go and that would be a shame after 3 yrs.
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My aunt was not bed ridden, so I suspected her of flushing paper towels. but I said only that SOMEONE accidentally dropped them in, and it clogged up the toilet.  I removed paper towels completely from her room and bathroom. 

She had suddenly forgotten to look under the sink for more toilet paper, so I had to keep some in sight.  I know this isn't your issue, but I can sympathize.  What a mess!
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Geeeez, I hope you can avoid future plumbing problems. You don’t need the headache at a time like this. Caring for your mom is enough on your plate. You have enough to coordinate with her doctor and caregivers.
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Where do the caregivers use the bathroom if it is clogged up? Is there more than one bathroom at your mom’s house?
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Lmhcreativecare Apr 9, 2019
The bathroom is connected to the bedroom that my mother’s hospital bed is in, so basically it’s their own private bathroom with a shower stall. I also have a queen size bed & 50” flatscreen tv they can watch. This is an older house with only 2 bathrooms. They both share the same pipes, so when that bathroom is having problems with the toilet or sink our bathroom is too!
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No, it’s definitely not my mother as she has been 100% bedridden for the last 10 months. She’s barely coherent, but still able to eat & drink. Unfortunately for her, it’s been a slow death. Which is very difficult for me to witness.

I was her full time caregiver myself from January 2011 til October 2017. I finally got part time help until last June 2018 when my mom took a turn for the worst & was put on hospice. It’s my goal to let her die in her home & not a nursing facility. We have enough funding to keep her here for another 1-2 years.

I did have the internal pipes replaced with bigger ones, which is why I’ve spent close to $1,000. Plumber said absolutely no paper towels down the toilet. Toilet paper is the only paper designed to break down. He also said absolutely no food down the bathroom sink.

I just don’t know exactly what she’s doing when I’m not around. So far in the last 2 months there’s been no sink back up, but I’d like to prevent another one.

I can’t put a camera in the bathroom so I can see what she’s doing. I’d like to have evidence before I confront her again so she can’t deny it.

I’ve thought about doing several surprise inspections 1-2 times a day to see if she’s removed the sink stopper, so I can confront her in the ‘act’.

Yes, I will also post signs (in English because I don’t know anyone who speaks Russian!) stating my directions for using the sink & toilet.

I thought of telling her if there’s another backup & food is discovered blocked in the sink again, I’ll either have to deduct the bill from her check or cut her hours. But without actual proof I don’t know how to legally charge her for the bill? Any suggestions on how to get proof?

The other 2 caregivers I hired are friends who have 20+ years experience in caregiving, both Americans. I’ve tried to be as fair as possible, so lady #1 works a 5 day shift; lady #2 works the weekend (she only wants 2-3 days per week); lady #3 works a 5 day shift. We alternate each week from there.

It pains me to take action against this Russian lady because she’s helped me the longest, part time up until a year or so ago. 😢
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You shouldn't need to call a plumber for something as simple as that. Get an auger from Walmart or Home Depot. They are less than $10. That will pull out anything. In fact, that's probably what you are seeing your plumber use. It's not complicated. Takes me about 1 minute to unclog any sink or toilet. My clogging issue is that grandma and mom try to flush their diapers.

My mom does everything you are saying the caregiver does. Rarely does it lead to any clogging. Are your pipes unusually small? Paper towels should flush easily down any toilet. Unless they are jamming a pot roast down the sink drain whole, most food you feed to the elderly should similarly slide down that as well.
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Lmhcreativecare Apr 9, 2019
Believe me, it was no simple back up. It took the plumber over an hour to dislodge it, it was so compacted. He even used his professional augger. I’ve used this same plumber for over 10 years, so I trust him. He doesn’t even always charge me for every visit he makes.
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I love what Send help said about her native language. Then there can be no misunderstandings. I would definitely try that.

Also agree with NY. And isn’t someone seeing this happening? Whole thing seems so odd.
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Have someone speak to her in her language.
Post signs in her language.
Teach her the right way in her language.
Dicuss with her the change and need for less hours in her language.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 9, 2019
Great idea!
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First, ask her directly: "Is my mother putting food down this bathroom sink?" and "Is my mother flushing paper towels down this toilet?" It's her job to redirect your mother from doing things like that.

If it's not your mother, then give her one more chance and be direct with her and tell her that you have posted signs in her primary language to remind her:

Over the sink: "This sink is for washing hands only. No exceptions."

Above the toilet: "Flush only toilet paper. No exceptions."

In the kitchen sink, do you have a garbage disposal? If so, teach her how to use it. Ask for her to demonstrate to you how to use the garbage disposal. If you don't, teach her how you want her to use the garbage, and ask for her to demonstrate to you how to dispose of paper towels and foodstuffs properly.

If all these measures fail, fire her and let her know that you cannot give her a reference.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 9, 2019
I agree! Too expensive. Too much mess.
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Lmhcreativecare, if the plumber is a seasoned plumber, they have seen it all, and would have a ton of suggestions on what to do to eliminate this problem.

Example, my bathroom sinks the stopper does not pull out, thus it would be very difficult to put any food or tissues down the drain. Draw back, you can't pull the stopper out to clean :P

I see from your profile that your Mom has dementia. Are you sure it isn't Mom doing this?
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needtowashhair Apr 9, 2019
You can still pull the stopper out. It unscrews leaving the shaft in the pipe. But you can easily clean around the shaft.
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Sad that this happens. Definitely are cultural differences. My husband recently went to China on business. Their manufacturing is done there. In the factory they have pictures of how to use toilets. The facility is huge and is in a rural part of China. He told me no one in those areas have modern bathrooms. They had to have instructions for using toilets.

He also said that even in nicer restaurants, in nearby cities that they only have a drain in the floor for waste. Different than the US, that’s for sure.
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worriedinCali Apr 9, 2019
We need those in the bathrooms here because the people who are unfamiliar with our plumbing are from rural areas in other countries. The public facilities would still be nasty though because so many people refuse to flush when they are done AND they squat rather than sit down so.....they spray everywhere.
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When did the sink clogging start? Before other workers?
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CM,

Was thinking along the same lines as you. We posted it at the same time. Haha. Maybe is the mom also? It’s very strange.
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That’s crazy! I have no idea why she would do that. You have told her not to do this.

You’d think she would be grateful for additional help. As you say too much responsibility for just one person.

I’d be tempted to put your request in writing and post near the sink. Reading it in black and white should nail the message down. Other than that, I have no idea.

This is is strange behavior. It’s too costly for it to continue. Have you mentioned to her how much you have had to spend to repair the damage?
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worriedinCali Apr 9, 2019
She’s from a foreign country so she is probably unfamiliar with our plumbing! There are a lot of migrants in my area, they either put NOTHING down the toilet & drains or they put EVERYTHING down them. You have to be really careful in public restrooms here because......there’s a large population that are familiar with our modern day plumbing so they don’t put toilet paper in the toilet! It is not at all uncommon to walk into a bathroom & see poop covered toilet paper on the floor and in the trash.
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How bizarre.

This lady has been with you for almost three years; how long have the dodgy sink hygiene issues been going on?

Even if she *were* upset - have you reduced her hours, and hence her income, substantially? - it still seems a peculiar way for her to go about addressing her grievance.

If you've been happy with her work up to now and want to keep her, best sit her down with a nice cup of coffee and have a more general chat with her. See if you can get to the bottom of this. If there is absolutely nothing and she's still sticking to her story... well, you've got newcomers on the scene. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. What about putting up a notice in the bathroom that says 'PAPER TOWELS IN THE BIN ONLY.' 'NO FOOD UTENSILS.'

Also - it couldn't be your mother doing it, could it? In that case you have a supervision problem rather than a sabotage problem. Is someone falling asleep on the job?
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