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My brother (who lives with Mom) has been in the hospital. So for a few days per week, I have a caregiver staying overnight at Mom’s to give me a break. This caregiver does end up cleaning to pass the time while Mom is sleeping, and I do appreciate it. She has also finished Mom’s laundry for me. Today, though, when I was cleaning up the laundry room, I found the caregiver’s dirty laundry that had fallen on the side of the washing machine — hers and her boyfriend’s underwear. Grossed me out.


I am not sure what I would have said if she had asked before she did her own laundry. But, the fact is, she didn’t. I guess she figured with no one here, how would anyone find out?


In addition, a few weeks ago, I noticed Mom was missing a bathroom towel. I asked the caregiver if she had seen it. She said she hadn’t. There are no places to hide/misplace a towel at Mom’s. Mom only has 2 good towels, and that was one of them. I realize towels are not that expensive, but I hate losing things. It is more the principal of the thing.


I feel like saying to her something like: “I found some of your soiled laundry when I was cleaning up he laundry room. I didn’t realize you were doing your laundry here. Can you please check your things to see if you inadvertently took Mom’s towel?”


Am I over-reacting? As time went by today, I thought I would feel differently and would have calmed down about it, but I haven’t...

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Over reacting? Heck no! Water and energy to heat it and run the washer/dryer costs money, and no doubt she is using your detergent as well. Yeah, it's isn't much in the scheme of things but it shows an attitude of entitlement and underhandedness, I'd be wondering what else she might be helping herself to.
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Reply to cwillie
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I'm thinking you should have a little sit down with her. (Do you really like this CG or is she just "meh" in the job? Good CG's are hard to find.) Tell her what you found. If she has the decency to admit to it (and it would be hard to ignore), I'd think. Just ask her to bring her own detergent and such and do a bleach cycle after she's done. Inquire about the towel. That's hard to ignore.

ON Cg's are really harder, as they have many hours of "downtime"..at least she is cleaning and not eating you out of house and home.

How is she with mom? Any complaints?
If she is from a different culture, it could be that 'borrowing' someone's washer is not a big deal. My client routinely had me clean her carpets and then offered me the use of the carpet cleaner for my own home.

Maybe she just needs a little reminder of what you expect of her as far as duties while she's there. I wouldn't jump to conclusions and if mom is happy and content and you are getting a break---what's a little soap between you all?

If she's defensive and gets ugly, just fire her. But I personally would give her another chance.
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Mapotter Mar 17, 2019
midkid, The CG is good with Mom, as far as I know. My brother hasn’t complained (and, trust me, he would...). If I had to complain about anything she does, it is that she picks at Mom — touches her face, taps on her hand — when she is sleeping (as I have seen before I leave). I did say something to her, telling her nicely to let her sleep. (It would annoy me if someone did that to me!) I don’t think it helped.... She still does it. She seems to just be an “energetic” person (can’t sit still). I think she would try to wake Mom up so that she could get Mom in her wheelchair and go into the living room.

The overnight thing is new, and hopefully we will not need to do that after this week. My brother is normally here when the CG is here. She relieves me. We needed the occasional overnight while my brother is in the hospital. I stay most of the other nights. My other brother stays about once per week, and comes during the day sometimes to relieve me. But he can’t change Mom’s pants, so I have to come back unless the CG is coming. Hospice helps in the mornings during the week.

My only complaint is that CG sometimes cancels at the last minute. That means I have to fill in, which normally isn’t a big deal. But, I do schedule my appointments around the times she is at Mom’s, so that can be an issue.

But, with all that being said, she is the best we have had in the past 2 years (and not from a different culture). I recently advertised on a neighborhood website, but the only ones who replied were recommending their agencies. So, I am stuck right now.

If my brother (who is in the hospital) passes before Mom, we may move her to my other brother’s house. That will be closer to my house; and we may not need the CG as much.

I want to mention the laundry issue to the CG, but not so she will get defensive. The fact that she does it when no one is here, makes me think she knows it is not the right thing to do. I don’t know what she is washing, though. I mentioned to my brother the other day that I heard a lot of sand or something going up the dryer vent hose when I turned it one. I found that odd because I had only washed Mom’s towels and clothes that day. Now, it seems it is something the CG washed...

Sorry for rambling....
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Way I see it is like this. Had someone ASKED me, I might have said, sure, do your laundry, heck watch some TV, if you are doing extra for me no charge I don't mind. (with a stipulation that they would run a bleach only cycle after doing their clothes cuz..kooties!)

But bottom line is this, towel missing, other things missing, not asking, dropping and leaving own clothes on floor. Nope, that's a fired on the spot thing for me. If you cannot trust them with LAUNDRY then you cannot trust them with your loved one. Too many people need jobs. Don't need that one, BYE BYE!

You are NOT over reacting.
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Reply to Cherrysoda
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I don't think you are overreacting. This shows an entitlement issue and that is dangerous when they are caring for a vulnerable person. What happens if it's only a quick trip to pay my power bill and my client is sleeping, no one will know and there's a tragic accident and you come home to find your loved one all alone and no idea where the caregiver has wandered off to.

I would ask point blank about the towel ending up in her laundry, I have known people that are petty enough to take 1 of your 2 good towels. Her reaction to being caught will tell you much.

No responsibility amd excuses means she has to go.

Contrite and apologetic for not asking maybe one more chance with some fine lines clarified.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I agree that there is no need to go nuclear if she has been a good employee otherwise, it is a minor infraction after all - I'd certainly keep a sharper eye on things for a while though, at least until she proved herself one way or the other.

My mom had a caregiver through an agency whose personality I never really clicked with and there were always little incidents when she was working; once I came home to find an unlit gas burner turned on and she was completely oblivious, twice she had mom on the floor. People on the forum assured me that accidents happen but once I got rid of her all of it stopped, in that case I should have trusted my instincts.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 17, 2019
I think it is important to trust instincts too, cwille. I had a friend who had a caregiver come in daily to sit with her child while she was working. She had a funny feeling and decided to pop in and check.

The caregiver was passed out asleep on the couch from drinking while her toddler was running around the house unattended.

The caregiver was sent from an agency. She immediately told the woman to leave and not come back. She called the agency to inform them of what happened.
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I don't think you are overreacting at all. I would give her her laundry and tell her "hey, you forgot these when you used my washer/dryer, oh by the way, have you seen my mom's towel?"

In my experience if someone does or take small things and you don't say anything than they will start taking big things.

I agree with Cherrysoda; I would fire her on the spot. She is stealing from you whether it is small things or using your washer/dryer without your permission. How can you trust her to take care of your mom? You can't!!!


I have to ask...what is this world coming too?
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Mapotter Mar 16, 2019
Shell, thanks. I do not know what this world is coming to...

My brother will be in he hospital all or most of next week (if, of course, he makes it through his procedure on Monday.). I just feel that this whole thing with the caregiver is just wrong, and I am trying to figure out what day I should have her stay this week, if any. I initially got her through an agency, but she left the agency and I kept her on. I can’t afford to use an agency again. Part of me just wants to spend the night every night and not use he caregiver, but that will be hard on me, too.... My other brother is pitching in some, but he can’t stay every night. He is tonight, though...
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I think your overreacting a little. You state she cleans to pass the time and you appreciate it so, I am assuming that is not in her job requirements. Yeah, I would be annoyed but this would not be a make it or break it moment. I would just talk to her about it.
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"I feel confident that she is an independent contractor because the IRS is after her for not paying taxes. She has wanted a job where the agency pays the taxes, but those that do not pay as much, apparently."

Your wrong. She should be a W2 payroll employee. Domestic workers are not independent contractors.

She wants a contractor job because the IRS will garnish her pay. Also, if there is a lein filed for taxes, she cannot get bonded by the agency.
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Mapotter Mar 18, 2019
Tacy, You may want to choose a different way to start your reply besides "Your ["You're"] wrong. "... It's not really a good way to start a meaningful conversation. Just sayin'.

But, in response, the caregiver is a CNA who works for an agency as an independent contractor. Taxes are not taken out of her check, therefore, she receives a 1099. Whether that is the way it should be or not, that is the way it is. Though, I did see an article about Medicare explaining how home health care agencies can get around hiring independent contractors instead of employees.

This morning, I even asked the hospice aide about it as well and she said that most home healthcare agencies, at least in our State, do not take taxes out of paychecks. Perhaps that is done because they are hired in an "as needed basis." The caregiver I use had one or two clients through the agency, working 2-4 hours per week. That is hardly enough to support oneself.
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There is such a fine line here. I see no problem with a load or two but not everyday. But I also see abuse because you are not there to monitor her. Since she goes over and above, I would talk to her. Keep a check on Moms water bills. If they go up substantially, then you may have to cut her off. Tell her that, using the washer occasionally is OK but Mom is on a limited budget and if the bill becomes high, then she won't be able to do laundry there. Does she live with the boyfriend? If not, her clothes only. He can wash his own.😊

It is a shame that you even have to go this far. That logic dictates you don't use peoples things without permission. It really is stealing. You are using water and detergent you don't pay for. Bad for them putting you in this position to have to reprimand them.
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Mapotter Mar 17, 2019
JoAnn, I agree with what you said. I certainly wouldn’t use anything, even belonging to a family member, without asking. That’s what bothers me most, I think. She always wants to work long hours here (told my sister-in-law that she likes it here), but tells me she doesn’t want to take advantage of us....

The CG’s boyfriend does not live with her. He lives 2 hours away, but visits on most weekends.
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You might want to check what your CG told you about being an independent contractor and this being OK with the agency. It sounds unlikely, but a good story. If the agency says it isn't true, that's another indicator for trust.

It might be a good idea to leave a few coins out and see if they disappear. That would be another indicator.
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Mapotter Mar 17, 2019
I feel confident that she is an independent contractor because the IRS is after her for not paying taxes. She has wanted a job where the agency pays the taxes, but those that do not pay as much, apparently.

What gets me about agencies, or at least the one my caregiver worked for and the one I contracted with, was that the owner charges $3 more per hour after 5:00, extra when the caregiver lives more than 10 miles from the client, and a variable rate based on the CG experience/licensing. But, the caregiver gets the same amount ($16), no matter what, and not the full mileage allowance collected by the owner. I left that agency because I felt she was nickel and diming me. Not to mention, the first girl she sent me was a high school student who had never taken care of anyone, let alone understood aphasia and how to take care of toileting needs of a 94-year-old..... (Boy, was I upset!) But, I gave the owner another chance because she was a friend of a friend.
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