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My wife has dementia. I am her caregiver since I am retired and have the time, and I love her like no agency hired hand with a HS diploma and a few hours of training could (in spite of the agency's advertising literature showing loving and always smiling caregivers). I have never felt 'burned out'. I hire a caregiver once a week so I can do the shopping, etc. I love to take care of my wife. I fully understand the need for family members, who also have families and/or have to work, to hire outside agency help. But what are the actual facts and scientific statistics on the pros and cons of outside agency help?. My daughter says I should hire more help so I would not need to do anything except sit around and watch. I would be bored.

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I doubt that there are any statistics on this. It depends so heavily on the particulars of each case.

No one can love your wife as you do. That is unique to you and you no doubt will continue that to the end.

Trained people can do other caring things as well (or maybe even better) than you do. To conserve your energy and so you will be able to do what only you uniquely can do, I agree with your daughter that bringing in more help would be a good idea.

Do you have someone to clean the house? Do the laundry? Maintain the lawn? Those are all things that don't require special love and would free you up for caregiving.

I am so glad to hear that you are not experiencing caregiver burnout. Having some extra help will help you avoid that.

I'm not suggesting that you turn your wife's care entirely over to an agency. But do consider listening to your daughter. She has your best interests at heart. Maybe a compromise would be a good place to start.
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All of these great ideas and suggestions! You didn't mention what stage dementia your wife is in, but the one other thing I'd like to add is that it might be helpful for your Wife to have and to see another friendly face here and there, is so that she herself would become accustomed to have strangers (who later become friends to her) in the home so as in the event that you do need to be away to recharge, or say became ill, requiring you to be away for a few days, it wouldn't be a total shock to her. Think about starting out with someone to do some of the cleaning, and or meal preparations, or someone to do the actual bathing, washing her hair, grooming, consistent though, so you could say "today is the day Susie is coming in to give you your bath and wash your hair", to get her accustomed to seeing a friendly face! Also, a fresh, second set of eyes could pick up on subtle changes that might need addressing. It would give you a little break too! Maybe go out for cofee with friends, as I'll just bet your daughter is concerned for your well being, and maybe worried that you are isolating yourself from things you used to find enjoying.

You sound like a Gem of a husband though and it's sweet to see you are following up on Daughter's suggestions! Remember to take care of yourself!
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God bless you and your best intentions. Just remember when you start to feel too tired or overwhelmed please do accept more help.
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I think you've already made your mind up about which is better, haven't you? :) But that's fine - whatever is right for you is for you to decide.

But there is a compromise available that might cheer your daughter up. If you don't want to hire caregivers to do your job, what about getting in help with domestic chores like cleaning and laundry; and what about booking respite care so that every so often you get completely free time to relax and recharge your batteries? It's not all or nothing, you know. And if you want to continue to take good care of your wife, you *must* take care of yourself.
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I want to mention something that goes beyond the physical care for your wife Warren, what about the social aspect? This is something that concerns me for my mother as well, while I can get out or chat with friends on the phone or on-line she is here, always. I'm afraid our current care helper is not terribly chatty, but at least she is someone different. We had another caregiver who was full of jokes, once or twice one who sang while she worked. Having another contact with the outside world could be a breath of fresh air and a welcome diversion for your wife.
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Zytrhr, while this thread isn't the place to debate the honesty of caregivers I can't allow your post to go unchallenged. For every caregiver (whether paid or family member) who is caught abusing their charge there are hundreds, no thousands, who are doing no wrong, and occasionally a few who even go above and beyond.
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Warren, you are painting caregiving workers with a very broad brush. Agencies hire people from all walks of life.... some are young people who are earning extra money so they can finish up their LPN and RN degrees.... some who had other successful careers and want to still keep busy and enjoy being part-time caregivers.... some who have a ton of hands-on experience that no college degree would give them.

My Dad [94] has two caregivers that threat him like he was their Grandfather. They are THE best. Dad is now part of their extended family. And Dad looks forward to seeing them, they chat up a storm, laughing and enjoying each others company. One has to remember, this is our first rodeo. For the caregivers they have been on many rodeos and know exactly what to do in new situations. My Dad has dementia, and when his mind is off in the weeds, the gals know exactly how to respond.

So please reconsider Agency caregivers. It depends on what you can afford, and still have savings in case Assisted Living is needed in the future. You may have to go through many caregivers to find the right fit. I had to do that with my Dad. Dad has had the same two gals for almost a year.
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I am sensing there is a background story we aren't hearing. Warren, why did your daughter mention to you that she thought you needed help? Have you been acting stressed or grouchy? Are you neglecting other things in your life? Are you asking other people to do things around the house? Your daughter mentioning that you need help says to me that she feels you are overwhelmed in some way.

Your statement that if you weren't doing caregiving, you would be bored watching TV says so much. Believe me, there is more to life than just one of these things or the other. Sometimes we lose that realization when we are a full-time caregiver. Maybe that is what your daughter is concerned about. You are lucky to have a daughter who cares about you.
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Your daughter may be exaggerating because she sees some urgency in bringing in help for you.

FACT: 1,095 meals per person per year assuming three meals per day and not including snacks. Although I found a statistic that the average American spends 5.9 hours each week cooking (source: GfK market research) the average American is not responsible for preparing that many meals.

FACT: 390 loads of laundry per year. According to P&G, the average household does over 7 loads of laundry each week.

FACTS:
365 times making the bed.
365 times washing the dishes.
365 times vacuuming or sweeping high traffic areas.
365 times cleaning the kitchen from daily food prep.
365 times wiping the bathroom toilet and sink.

And that's just basic maintenance not including the heavy duty cleaning.

I hope having all these stats is helpful to you. Either you will decide you can do it all, or you'll ask your daughter to help you hire help. I wish you lots of luck!
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Warren, there is a tone to your post that makes me think that nobody, regardless of their background or training can care for your wife as you do. You are right, but the attitude is not going to help you at all. Caregiver come in all shapes, sizes and education levels. One of myMom's caregivers had a Master's degree, don't remember what it was in, but it was not anything health care related. She did an excellent job. Caregiving is very low paying, it takes someone with patience and compassion to do it. They will not do things as you would as they are not you. They need your support as you need theirs, they are doing the best they can. As with any new job, it takes time to learn how to best deal with the many different personalities and needs of those with dementia. There is not a single solution that will work for each client or the families. You, too, need to be patient and trust the caregiver that they will figure out in time what will work best for them when caring for your wife. You have a lifetime of experience with her, you know her likes and dislikes, you know what you think will work best. Your best solutions may or may not work for a hired caregiver, usually they will not.

Just try to be patient and kind to the caregivers that come in. Give them time to get to know you and your wife. They will figure out what best works for your wife and herself.
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