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My mother (who was caring for my father) died suddenly at the beginning of May 2018.



I initially took off work for over a month trying to decide if I should move in with him or have him come with me. The former would essentially require that I quit my job - as the commute would be horrible.



As I didn't want to do that, I moved him in with me on a trial basis. I got a woman (who used to watch my friend's mother) to come stay with my father three days a week while I went to work.



He seems okay being in my house. He initially seemed okay with the caregiver. Little by little though, he expressed his dislike for her.



It came to a head yesterday afternoon when I returned from work and she left the house. He said that he didn't want her there any more. He also said... "Get rid of her." "We're fine on our own." "She keeps touching me." She's always snooping into things." "She's was looking for money and I told her you don't keep any money in the house."



I know the touching part was true - as she told me that she was massaging his feet.



Whether the rest is true or not seems irrelevant. If he is that upset/agitated just by her presence, then that is a problem.



The issue will be if he simply doesn't want want HER there or if he doesn't want ANYBODY there.



I give him medication and bring him to the bathroom in the morning and at noon. He also eats his "breakfast" at noon. Aside from that, he basically sleeps during the day.



I could probably go to work in the morning, come home at noon and then go back to work in the afternoon. However, I would be worried that something might happen while I'm gone. Even if I got one of those home monitoring systems where you can access video cameras from your phone, I wouldn't be able to get much work done.



Does anyone have any advice on what to do when someone you're caring for doesn't want anyone to help them but you?

I would definitely try and get a male caregiver, in his generation it was always the wife or children that looked after the man. A woman caregiver to look after him will probably make him feel less than, (a man) even though we know it's not true it could be how he's feeling. A male caregiver makes a significant difference as they are on a level playing field (both being men). Things that only the same sex understand.
He actually sounds like he needs to go to assisted living (nursing home) if you are worried about him falling out of bed, not independent living if he doesn't like male caregiver either.
He will always want just you to care for him. Like oh so many elderly. We aren't in the 1950's we are in 2018 & you need to work & have a life to. Don't give up all of your life to look after him, the younger version of him wouldn't want you to do that. Remember to take care of you....and that means peace of mind knowing he's cared for even if he resists. Be firm with him about your decisions and reasons why.
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Reply to Artsilveraqua
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thank you for the reply. I have no reason to think he would fall out of bed, but it is a concern. We are looking into finding someone he will like - or at least tolerate.
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My Mom was with us for almost 10 years before her death in March. She continued to think it was silly for us to think she needed someone there all the time (although she couldn’t remember how to find the refrigerator or fix herself a sandwich or cup of instant coffee, etc.). There were a couple of caregivers that she just had a personality clash with, and we did not keep them once she had registered her opinion. There were others she enjoyed. Some of those included a group of college students studying gerontology whose professor recommended them. They were more into visiting with her and enjoying things with her than anything that felt like “caregiving” or “nursing”, so my Mom actually enjoyed them. (There were 4 of them that rotated when we could not be there.). The other was a lovely neighbor we had who wanted to earn some extra income. Mom had seen her at social gatherings and we had shared dinners at their home and ours, so she was able to just see it as “Celeste is coming and we always have such a good visit”. The other interesting thing was that she would work hard for a male physical therapist, but not for females. There are so many small variables like that which make them either comfortable or uncomfortable. It will continue to unfold over time as you understand your father’s preferences better. Kudos to you for caring when some would just have the attitude of “he’ll just have to get used to her”. Especially with his recent loss of your mother and the grief he will continue to experience for months and years over that, it’s not unusual that the presence of another woman, doing things for him and (especially) touching him, might make his grief more acute and might make him more suspicious that the other woman is trying to insert herself in all the places where he used to experience his wife. So I agree with former posts, such as finding him a male companion/caregiver if at all possible, and with your own intuition to not leave him alone for long periods of time. But also, when you interview potential caregivers, make it clear from the start that they are mostly there as companions (when he wants a companion) and as “emergency backup systems” to just be quietly in the background doing their own thing when he does not want companionship. For the students, I let them know that as long as Mom was comfortable, reasonably content, and preferably occupied with something, if they just wanted to be in the living room with her and study, that was okay with me. And for our neighbor, she brought quilting or crochet and worked on it as she chatted with Mom, which seemed very natural to everyone. Maybe the male counterpart would be someone who would go out into the garage and work on a project with your father or such. It’s wise that you are keeping in mind that your father is a unique human being with a full set of likes, dislikes, preferences, and aversions. Pile on top of that his grief, the move into a new home, and just the general hassles of growing old and the last thing you or any of us would want to do is saddle him with a full day of interaction with someone he doesn’t even like. That said, remember to also cut yourself some slack. It’s a huge transition to bring someone else into your home — even a beloved parent. And sometimes you have to make decisions based on your own needs as well as his. You are lucky to have each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to be (or can be) everything to each other.
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thank you for your detailed reply. After speaking with my brother and sister-in-law, we are going to give the remote cameras a try. He basically sleeps during the day and is not a wanderer. He really doesn't do much when he's awake aside from the Word Search puzzles, so he essentially just needs to be watched in case he stands and needs assistance...
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Have you tried a male caregiver? I have a neighbor who's retired military in his 50s. His pension provides well but he likes a part time job for extra spending money. He provides respite care for an elderly gentlemen post stroke most mornings. Although the stroke victim had soundly rejected several previous caregivers, he loves my neighbor. My neighbor fixes breakfast, helps with a shower and shave, gets him dressed for the day, changes the bed, and sometimes fixes/starts lunch. They gossip like old buddies even though there's more than 25 years between them. He's been a real blessing to the 78 year old wife/caregiver who cannot physically help her husband in the shower.
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Sciguy Jul 22, 2018
Thanks for the reply. That is an interesting idea. I will have to look into that.
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We have caregivers for my MIL, who is on hospice for a health issue and has moderate dementia as well. We hired caregivers for health and safety, although the caregivers do more standby assistance now for showers and the few times she'll dress. My MIL soured on her first caregiver at the 5 month mark, and ultimately that caregiver left on her own accord. She's disliked a couple of other caregivers, and we've not retained them. She likes her current caregivers and they are both fine with the fact that little is needed but for simple meal prep, a bit of cleaning but mostly sitting with her as she watches television.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of trying a few caregivers out until you find the "right" one? That is the one benefit of using an agency/company in our situation. It may cost more, but at least there's a pool available to find the right fit.

I like the earlier suggestion of finding a male caregiver. Perhaps that might work better for you? Or simply finding a caregiver that understands that your father doesn't want to be fussed over and can simply do what was requested.

Caregiver fit isn't a picnic, and I hope you find a person who might be a better fit for both of you.

Best of luck.
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thanks you for the reply. I understand that not everyone gets along and we will certainly look into other caregivers.
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Dad is still in mourning for your mom. I’m sure the month you took off after her death went by in a painful blur for him. Because your mom was his caregiver he is not going to accept another woman “in his life” so to speak, He wants your mom back. And he realizes that’s not possible. I’d be willing to bet that anyone you hire now to come in will suffer the same criticism as the previous caregiver.

Unless I missed it someplace, you don’t say what Dad’s issues are. Is it dementia? In any case, even if all he does is sleep, leaving him alone with pop in visits during the day is risky. I babysit weekly for my grandsons and I don’t like leaving my bedridden husband. What if there were a fire?

What about Independent Living? If Dad is at all social, he may enjoy it and you will enjoy peace of mind.
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Sciguy Jul 22, 2018
Thanks for the reply. I thought the same thing - that he might not want anyone there but me. That is really not an option because (as I mentioned in my post) it would require me to quit my job. He has what they described as mild cognitive impairment. He has hearing loss, mobility issues, incontinence (i.e., the typical maladies of old age). My father is generally very quiet and likes to be left alone, so I don't think an independent living situation would work.
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My mom just wants someone to step and fetch for her but not to be her
companion. I tell the caregiver to be invisible. They do not need to be in
the room with her, talking to her (that wears her out), and doing what they
think caregiving is. They just need to be there if she needs them. She has
a bell so the caregiver can hear from the next room and come attend to her.
I do not have all the answers, but that is where we are now. I hope that helps.
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thanks for the reply. That is exactly what my father needs - just someone to be there when he wants/needs something. Otherwise, the person should be invisible as you said.
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It is your home - set your rules now when you're in the settling phase - if you are worried about your dad you will not be able to do your job well - he will probably do the same with anybody - make a list of what help he needs then if your dad just needs someone/anyone there FOR YOUR PEACE OF MIND [which is no small thing]

Then hire a 'housekeeper' who will prepare dinner several nights a week, will do the wash, clean the house etc - this won't take up the whole day but your dad will not feel that she is hovering over him which he may be uncomfortable with as this may have been what your mom did so that heightens his recent loss of his wife - bonus is that this will help you to have spare time with him -

It could be that she would arrive at noon make his lunch & leave when you get home or just before so covering a good part of the day - if you are comfortable with him alone for a short time you may be able to get a stay at home mom who is looking for a part time situation while her kids are at school but that would be if he needs no medical help other than reminding him to take a medication at a specific time
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thanks for the reply. I come home at lunch time every day that I work, so lunch is not a problem. I am also home early enough to make dinner by myself. It is just in the morning and afternoon that he might need watching - although he does sleep most of the day...
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It could just be a clash of personalities, she may feel that fussing over him is part of the job description and he may just want to be left alone. It can be challenging for a caregiver to spend the day in someone else's house and not DO anything. Does you dad enjoy any activities that she could participate in or would he prefer she make herself scarce unless needed? Do you have a list of things to keep her occupied that don't necessarily involve dad - meal prep, laundry etc?
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Sciguy Jul 23, 2018
Thanks for the reply.

I understand that she feels like she MUST interact with him. She told my friend (whose mother she used to watch) that she feels bad taking my money and not doing anything but sitting there watching my father. My friend tried to explain that is all I want and that I am paying her for her time.

I have also told her, multiple times, that he wants to be left alone and that she should only be intervene when he needs something.

She likes to clean, so I have been finding things for her to do. Unfortunately, that does not last all day and she has already said that she is bored just sitting there looking at him...
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Some folks are overly picky about caregivers and can never be satisfied. But this is only the first caregiver you've tried.

If he liked her at first but now doesn't ... and she's bored because there's not enough to do ... then probably they're not a good fit.

I would never ignore the patient's dislike of a caregiver -- sometimes it's 'just' a personality clash (no harm, no foul, but you still need to change), but other times there are genuine boundary-crossing behaviors that are problematic.

If he says she's always touching him, and she says she was only massaging his feet, that may be entirely true -- but he doesn't want his feet massaged (at least, not by her). It also could be true that she's touching him in other ways. But either way -- he shouldn't have to suffer unwanted touch.

Time for a new caregiver.
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thanks for the reply. While I may still have her come just to clean on occasion, we are definitely getting someone else to do the caregiving.
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My mon, (a WWII army officer) DID NOT want help. She could do just fine on her own "Thank you very much". But she couldn't. So we gave her a large orange barn cat. And hired a dog walker to come by and check on the cat, four times a day. The dog walker was checking on my mom: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. Worked well for us until the final year.
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Sciguy Jul 24, 2018
Thanks for the reply. Glad the cat worked out for your mom; although that would not be an option for us.
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