I always feel as though I must clean, straighten up, put away dishes and clothes, vacuum, clean bathrooms, have refreshments ready, etc. I am a lousy housekeeper by nature.

Your mindset is that this person is "company" for your wife instead of a "employee you have hired." Try to consider your house the "home office" and give your "worker" tasks to accomplish to meet the goal of caring for your wife, his/her job.
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Reply to Taarna

I would do that too, when my respite giver was due to come over and I would leave for a few hours. I could give her a few things to do and she would ask me if I wanted her to do some small chores or whatever.
My Mom didn't take to her too well but she was there on my behalf.
Give her a list and go and do your thing. I know it's hard to accept 'help' but you have to. It will free up a little time for you and you can sort of relax.
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Reply to Rbuser1
MikeinTexas May 22, 2024
If anyonewas coming to our home we would straighten and clean. See this as a similar situation. I am just starting to realize that I need a caregiver for a few hours to help with my wife, but do not know what person would do. My wife showers and dresses herself. If they fix a meal, assume that I need to provide all components. What else is common for a care giver to do?
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OldArkie: It may be human nature to tidy up, but you don't have to overdo it.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Me too!
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Reply to Jazzykay

It’s a habit. You’re used to doing this. Plus, you want to make sure that your house looks nice.

Don’t overdo things. Just do what you’re comfortable doing.

Have you considered hiring a housekeeper to help with the cleaning?
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Perhaps you are stressed out and not accustom to having visitors / caregivers in your home.

The first step in changing is being aware of behavior. Ask yourself when you start to do whatever you do to prepare:

How am I feeling now?
Why do I feel I 'have to' do xxx.

My question to you is: do you want to change your current behavior or just understand it?

Try journal writing. Non-stop writing ... I must clean because xxx and see what comes out. Do not think about it. My hunch is that:

(1) you are wanting to avoid feeling like you are being judged by another (a life-long pattern, perhaps);

(2) avoid feeling embarrassed due to what you believe you 'should do.' When we are aware of what is running us, we have a choice to change.

(3) You might be in an internal tug-of-war feeling / believing what you 'should do'(be able to do?) and what you say you are "a lousy housekeeper" (I'm with you there ... although I have no adverse reaction just "oh...) This would possibly / likely create an inner conflict, or some stress.

I'd suggest you try to not do what you usually do in 'cleaning' and see how you feel. Then, perhaps you will find out why you are motivated to clean as you do.

I'm not happy with my lack of initiative of CLEANING although being creative ... many of us have better things to do with our time. Conversely, many people seem to get a lot of satisfaction from cleaning / keeping their environment clean ... and / or get stress(ors) out. The best alternative to me is having someone come in even once a month to do cleaning. That's a win-win to me. Actually, some caregivers (many) 'do' housekeeping / cleaning as part of their job. Some are quite intense / really good at it. Ask them if they would do xxx as part of their caregiver position, time permitting.

Gena / Touch Matters
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Reply to TouchMatters

It's because you're conscientious. It's sort of a "do unto others" thing. It's more pleasant to spend time in an orderly, clean home.

When my sitters come I always at least hit the high spots by doing a quick vacuum, wiping down the counter tops and touching up the bathroom. I also have quiet instrumental music playing.
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Reply to southiebella

It’s nice to want someone to feel welcome and comfortable in your home. It also shows the caregiver that your wife is someone who is valued and cared for when her environment is clean. No reason you need to go overboard, but I’m glad you’re making the effort. Hope the hired caregiver does an excellent job
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Reply to Daughterof1930

I have a home health aid for my MIL who has dementia and barely walks with a walker. Because she is confused by so much, takes a long time to trust others and cannot process questions or understand most information she receives, we have developed specific routines to help her stand, sit, toilet, etc. We use the same words each time (think training a dog) and she automatically follows through with the movement we have matched with that word.
So the reason I say this is that we want our aid to watch us as we model the words/behaviors with our mother and use the same exact methods so as not create more confusion. This takes about 5 visits to model all actions. Then the trust issue requires 2-3 months. When I have had to be gone before she feels she can trust this new person, she refuses to take her meds or eat. Later she said, "I don't know her." That was very telling and listening to your "person" is so important. what they feel does not always come out so clearly. Even when her family, who are not here very often, do come, she does not really know them and does not trust them.
I had an aide once who said I was doing things she should do. I said yes but I need you to do exactly as I do - when you can do that I will give it over to you. She did not understand and quit. For example, to sit, and is in position with her walker, in front of chair or toilet, we say "Reach back and let yourself down." To get up and use walker we have to place her hands on the walker - every time - in the right position for standing and say "Hold here. Ready? 1,2,3" and on three she pushes her feet to the floor and can pull her self up. She does not remember from one minute to the next where to put her hands but she knows what to do when I say "3,". Think Pavlov's Dog. It is the same concept.
You feel anxious because that person does not know the things you know and your "person" has no clue if they can trust them or not. By the end of one visit your "person" may be trusting but will start all over on next visit not trusting. You have to wait until that aid becomes family. Your "person" must see you trust her and that takes time that is well spent for future and as more of the mind and physical abilities become lost.
You feel that way because your mind is telling you to make sure this person who comes into your home is totally accepted by your loved one. With dementia, it can take a long time, but well worth the time taken.
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Reply to RetiredBrain
Fawnby May 22, 2024
Eventually the Pavlov's dog training will not work anymore with your MIL. She won't be able to follow even such simple commands. It's good that she can do all that she does now, but be aware that there will come a time when you'll have to figure out some other plan, and maybe nothing will work.

This happened with my mom. At that time she became almost totally confined to bed.
My Uncle used to clean before the cleaning people, my Aunt hired, came.
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Reply to JoAnn29
waytomisery May 21, 2024
That’s what I would do too . I would love to hire someone to do the things I hate to clean like the oven and shower but I would end up doing it before hand anyway . I’ll wait and hire when I actually have trouble doing it myself .
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Oh, this is so funny. I feel for you, I would do the exact thing.

But remember, this is their job, I'm sure they are not judging you because you don't offer them refreshments when they arrive. And even if you do offer them refreshments, it is a kind offer.
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Reply to Kwiemer

Oh I hear ya, if I had a house cleaner, I'd be cleaning before she comes.

For me I think it was the way I was raised . Always worrying to much about what others think!

If we are getting company and my husband catches me cleaning. He says to me." Friends come to see me! If they come to see my house , they are not friends and they can leave!" I try really hard to keep this prospective .

I'm sure your aids have seen worse, a lot worse, and I'm sure they are glad to help you out
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Reply to Anxietynacy

Idk, but this caregiver should be doing for YOU what YOU are doing for HER! She shouldn't just be "sitting" with your wife for the day, but doing light housekeeping, prepping meals/snacks, engaging with your wife or doing activities, taking walks, bathing her, etc.
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Reply to lealonnie1

You are just like me!
I always tease that I couldn't hire help with the house because I would clean the house for their visit.
I couldn't hire help for the garden because I would attempt to get it all pretty for the gardener.

I think this comes of a certain personality that wants "order" in life and thinks it's important. So when a new caregiver, helper is on the way we try to make our place "pretty for them". My bro took all of this to a real extent in that he would make lunch or give a beer at the end of the job to his workers, whether tree trimmer or not.

I don't know if this has to do with our life work?
My brother had been a waiter all his life. I was a nurse. We were used to "doing for people". I think that is true of an auto mechanic, and almost any other job in which you are in service to someone, even a banker. You are used to doing things for other people, and that is just your "setting." Your "norm".
Great question, this one.

I bet your could divide the world into those who have a housekeeper on the way for the day:
1/2 will say "I HAVE to clean the fridge".
1/2 will look at a huge mess in the fridge and say "Well, I am not TOUCHING THAT; thank goodness it's Irene's day to clean for me!"
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Reply to AlvaDeer
waytomisery May 21, 2024
I did hire painters for the first time recently . I felt bad not doing all the painting ourselves this time . My husband brought home pizza for lunch , I made brownies and a fruit salad . lol.
The painters loved it !!
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