Home care

Posted by: Mary

Home care - 01/10/13 01:10 PM

My husband and I are trying to find a live-in companion for his mother (92 years old but in good health).
We don't know where to start. I imagine that there are agencies out there, but we need someone full-time.
The other part of this is how do we go about finding out if this person is responsible and honest?

Has anyone had to do this, or have any suggestions for us?
Posted by: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 01:55 PM

Mary, unfortunately the only personal experience I have for that was a disaster. It ended in the nurse getting arrested. I hope background checks are better these days.
Posted by: Draclvr

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 03:36 PM

Do you have a Home Health Care agency in your county? Sometimes they have recommendations...
Posted by: Mary

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 05:45 PM

My mother-in-law lives several hours away from us, but still in the same state.
I'll see if I can find anything up her way.

My real concern is what BET mentioned: how do you trust a person that's going to live in the home with your mother?

My mother-in-law doesn't really need a nurse, but more of a companion.
Posted by: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 06:05 PM

The registered nurse we had only came 8 hours a day and she stole the mail and took credit card offers from my dads mail and sent them in and then took the cards when they came. She got arrested in a mall months after she stole the card when the credit card company asked that the card be revoked and the person held. My sister got the mail one day before the nurse could get it. She called and canceled the card and said the charges couldn't be him because he was bedridden. They then waited for someone to use it. So sad that someone would do that.
Good luck to you!

Ana wave
Posted by: Sorta Blonde

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 06:41 PM

Scary stuff Ana. We have two cases here where I live of caregivers abusing their patients. Very bad stuff and all caught on hidden cameras after suspicions of something being wrong. I'd be scared to death of hiring someone I didn't know even from a reputable service (both these cases were from BIG companies who are swearing that the caregivers are exemplary workers). Watching the videos was horrifying.

Hope you find someone Mary! I'd go with a relative if any are willing to move in with her or maybe an acquaintance from her past? My mom almost let me get a good friend to move in with her so they could both help each other. Never had the time though since she went downhill very fast.

Good luck with the search and definitely get a 'nanny cam' just in case. thumbsup
Posted by: BobH

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 06:41 PM

My parents required home care and we had good luck generally. There were no thefts or mistreatment but some were definitely better than others.

My advice: find out who the reputable agencies are and start with one. Drop in on your mother-in-law unannounced from time to time and take stock of things and of course get her opinion when you can away from the workers. Then don't be afraid to tell the agency if one of the workers is not working out. We went through several and even changed agencies once over the course of a few years starting with a few times a week to eventual 24 hour coverage.

Another good reason for using an agency is for backup in case one worker is sick or has car trouble.

We eventually got lucky with one worker that was everything you could want, skilled, honest, cheerful, caring, hard working. I hope you also are so lucky.

Posted by: Mary

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 07:51 PM

Sorta Blonde,
My mother-in-law is not the nicest person in the world and there are no (close) relatives that have any intention of living with her, so we have to get someone from the outside.
It's sad when her sons want no part of being with her. I would be heartbroken if my son thought that badly about me. But that's the way she lived her life, thinking only of herself.
Posted by: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 08:13 PM

Can she move into a retirement commmunity that offers partial assistance?
Posted by: Sorta Blonde

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 08:16 PM

So sad Mary, that the family has been driven away. My neighbor had a sister who died last year and sounds just like this. Made the entire family hate her and wouldn't let them help her in any way. She just made them all feel 'responsible' for all her badness. Sad situation.

Hopefully you will find some really good Agency that will provide just what you need. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.
Posted by: Mary

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 08:51 PM

BET, my mother-in-law says she's not ready for a place with assistance, but we are trying to convince her otherwise.

Sorta, we're trying to do our best finding an agency, if she needs one, but she's far away from most of her children so we really don't know what's available in her area. We're just starting to look around but don't know which way to turn first.
Posted by: Draclvr

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 11:08 PM

Mary, my mother is the most wonderful, loving, funny, caring person ever. She is 89 and after a couple of one-month stints in the nursing home to recover from persistent UTI's, my sister, brother and I finally told her she just couldn't go back home and live alone any more. It was just too hard on the family. In November, I drove the 600 miles up there and got her moved in to a wonderful independent living apartment that is in a separate wing from the nursing home. It has been the best thing she ever did. She is completely independent and responsible for everything from her laundry to her medications. But she has meals provided in a dining room and an in-house Life Line just in case something happens. It's been the very best compromise for all of us. Would your MIL be open to something like this if it's available in her area?
Posted by: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Home care - 01/10/13 11:25 PM

That's what I was thinking Drac. I think they are wonderful way to be because you are still independent but still have someone around in case you need them.

Ana wave
Posted by: Draclvr

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 12:02 AM

She's also the talk of the complex because she has a computer!
Posted by: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 12:06 AM

Love it!

Ana wave
Posted by: Homer6

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 12:58 AM

Mary, go online and check your states' health care services, looking for the department which monitors caregivers; if they have one.

See if they have a rating system for individual caregivers or caregiver agencies. Perhaps they may even have recommendations for those who need companions.
Posted by: Mary

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 10:01 AM

Thanks for the idea; I will do that over the weekend.

We found the same kind of facility for my mother-in-law that you described; we also thought it would be perfect for her, but she's hesitating in making the decision--she doesn't want to leave the home she's in now. She put down a deposit on the new apartment, so she's got to make a decision fairly soon whether she'll move or not. I'm wondering if this situation actually triggered her most recent visit to the ER (doctors didn't find anything wrong with her, but she claims she short of breath).

None of us can keep going on this way: except for one of her sons who lives near her, the rest of us have 2 1/2+ hours to get to her if she needs help. Doctor visits are frequent, and now we've had 2 visits to the ER in the past year or so.
Posted by: Draclvr

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 10:48 AM

We were in the same position with my mom - she simply did not want to leave her home. And we understood that, but we told her there finally comes a time that she must think of her family and how it affects them. My sister has her hands more than full with her husband who had a leg amputated about a year ago and a full time job - plus she needs to have both her hips replaced. My brother is a farmer and works 12 - 16 hour days much of the time and I live 600 miles away. Then there was the home maintenance and repair. There is just no way we can continue to do all that on top of everything else as she is no longer able to do any of it herself. Her safety was our #1 concern and she was simply no longer safe in her own home. Her favorite thing is that she can now shower as often as she wants and needs in safety. I told her she will actually be MORE independent in the apartment because she won't need to wait for someone to come to her house and assist her with a shower or get her mail for her and she can walk down the hall to the clinic for her Dr. appointments.

And whether she will admit it or not, having a social life with people her own age has been a huge plus for her. She goes down to the nursing home wing to play Bingo and has neighbors over to play pinochle and eats lunch in a beautiful dining room with other people. At her house, she was alone all the time, especially in the winter. She does miss the great-grandkids popping in and out, but we've been making sure they get down to visit her often.

I certainly wish you the best of luck here as your MIL sounds like a difficult individual. It was very difficult with my mother and she is a lovely person!
Posted by: butterflybabe

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 03:20 PM

Mary, my heart goes out to you. My MIL was a hard-headed independent woman who outlived 2 husbands. She lived in the top apartment of a 2-story building for 20+ years and didn't want to move. Your MIL may be in decent health for her age but I'm sure it's already crossed your mind that it could change at any time.

My ex and I dealt with his Mom for seven years and she had a similar attitude to your MIL. So I have a strong suggestion, if you and your husband are expecting to have little or no help from the rest of his family, he will probably end up being her guardian. The person he hires, the live-in for MIL will, I expect also be asked to watch over her and report to him with problems, concerns, etc. If this is the situation that is beginning or looming for the near future, then you might want to consider moving her closer to you. She's not going to like what you do and you already know you can't please her, so you will want to find a balance between her care and your sanity.

My mom's gone 2 years now and my sister, who was closest to her both geographically and emotionally during the last few years of mom's life was in charge of dealing with doc appts and meds. My mom wasn't quite as stubborn as my MIL but she had her down times when she didn't like having to be taken care of, recognized and hated her impending loss of independence. My sister finally told mom that she was now in the time of her life when roles need to be reversed. The elderly become the children and their children become their parents, so to speak. Maybe that argument or something similar would help your MIL calm down or at least begrudgingly let you and your husband do what needs to be done.

Also, if this is the first time you're helping an elderly parent, even one who is understanding and cooperative, dealing with any health care system that focuses on the elderly, even the best of them, are an experience in itself. As the others have mentioned, there are plenty of horror stories (I have a few myself) and you may not be able to avoid working thru one before finding what works best for your MIL and that you two also like.

Mary, I don't know you and your husband at all but I was in your shoes about 10 years ago and learned that this process of taking care of the elderly can be very challenging on a marriage. Many times I didn't agree with my his decisions and he knew it. It's a tough spot for a husband/son, wife/daughter-in-law to be in and work thru.

If you'd like to talk and/or share further, please don't hesitate to PM me. yes puppy
Posted by: Draclvr

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 03:35 PM

Mary, it sounds like you have plenty of company here.

Personally, I would feel more comfortable living in a place where I could be independent with some support than having a perfect stranger come and live with me.
Posted by: Mary

Re: Home care - 01/11/13 03:45 PM

Thanks for your note. My husband is one of four sons. So far, all are in agreement as to what should be done to save the sanity of all involved. That saves a lot of grief: all sons can see that it is past the time that their mom should be alone in her home and have to try and take care of the house and grounds. If we can get her in an apartment that includes some services (fixing things when they break, get a cab for her when she needs to go to a doctor appointment, etc), things would be a lot easier for all of us. If she insists on staying in her home, we have to find a companion for her.