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Thursday, March 3, 2016

How Does A Private Caregiver Handle a Sick Day?

One of the negative things I hear on the forums about hiring a private caregiver is, what do you do when you count on that person and they cannot come to work for one reason or another? Being a caregiver is not like other jobs were you can miss a day and the work will wait. People need you to be there. Many people use this as a reason to knock down the idea of private caregivers. I would like to share with you how things worked for me on one case I had two years ago.

The woman who hired me was a very smart successful business woman. She wanted to hire a private caregiver for her father in law (me) so he would have consistent care and could form a relationship with his caregiver. When hiring through an agency, having consistent caregivers is a real challenge because of the agencies high turn over rates. Plus the rates of the agencies are very high.

I was hired to work full time Monday - Friday and every other Saturday. However the daughter in law realized there would be times when I would need a day off or be sick and so she set up the best working arrangement I have ever seen. 

She hired an agency to be the back up. The agency director met with her so they would be familiar with the case. They then agreed to furnish caregivers for the weekend when I was off and also for any days I was ill or needed a personal day.

The arrangement worked like a charm. Although I missed only a couple of days during my time with them, it was nice to have the safety net the agency provided. Perhaps you are a private caregiver. What arrangement  has worked for you? How do you handle the times when you need a day off? I would love your input as we all learn and benefit from the exchange of information. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Until Next Time


Helping A Senior Downsize? Pack Your Patience!

Hello All, 

It's snowing again....It's march 3...ugh, Wanted to share with you a story about downsizing a senior.

When my aunt was getting up in years it became apparent that living alone in her house was no longer a good thing. She was not really sick, it was more of a financial burden for her to keep her house and the neighborhood she lived in was getting to be more dangerous for someone living alone. With the help of my mother the decision was made for her to move into a subsidized senior apartment building. She did not have a large house, but still it was a big downsize for her.
I was young at the time and so I volunteered to help her go through everything and I do mean everything in her house so she could pack up what she wanted to take and say good by to the rest.

Thank heavens I was a patient person. I remember going room by room, drawer by drawer, closet by closet sorting and sorting every scrap of paper, every plastic bag every stack of paper, I thought it would never end.
So here’s the thing. Older folks and probably many younger ones too collect a lot of stuff.  When we live in the same place for any length of time we, like birds fill our nests with thousands of bits and pieces of STUFF. Whether it’s books, papers, clothes, nick knacks, food, whatever we have lots of stuff! This holds true for the majority of the population with the exception of those who are minimalists like my sister in law ( she does not even have a junk drawer ) who doesn’t have a junk drawer or 10? 

For those of us who are younger, when we decide to move what do we do? We load up dozens and dozens of boxes with all our STUFF! We don’t take time to sort it all out ( at least most don’t ) we just shove it in a box label it “Office” and load it on the van, only to be unloaded at our new digs and shoved back in the drawers from whence it came.  And so the process goes each time we move from the time we leave our parents home till the time we find ourselves old and have to relocate to a smaller nest. 

Now you see this move is not like the others. We cannot take all our stuff with us. But how do we decide? Our nest has been so comfortable for so long, how will we live without ALL our stuff. It’s hard let me tell you. And the older you are the harder it is. I worked with my aunt helping her sort through her stuff for over a month. Some days it was painstakingly slow. We would perhaps get through only a dresser or a closet. I watched as she handled each and every item she owned and had to make the choice, take or abandon.  I could see how hard it was for her. Things that I thought were meaningless seemed so important to her. In my heart I knew I had to let her make the decisions and could not rush her to much.  We finally got through everything in the house and boxed up the things she was taking with her only to find, it was to much stuff. So we had to pare it down a bit more. The move went smoothly and soon she was settled in her new nest surrounded by the things she has chosen as most important to her. She lived in that apartment for several years until the time came when she had to move to a nursing home. This move was very different as she had developed dementia and so now it was my mother and I deciding what she could take. That was very hard, but in the end we chose the things we thought would bring her a sense of home, photos, a favorite clock, a little purse to keep some odds and ends in. I think we chose wisely, she seemed happy and this move meant getting rid of most of her stuff, that was a sad day. 

In the end I learned some very valuable lessons. 

  • Giving up our Stuff is hard and with all the other things older folks may have already lost like their independence, their home, their car, their health, and now this….it only adds to their pain.

  • Downsizing before you are forced to do so is a good thing. Perhaps we should all take a look around as I am right now. Look at all the stuff we have. Do I need to thin in out a bit? Maybe 5 junk drawers is enough instead of 10 or maybe pare it down to 1!

  • In the end things aren’t  what mean the most in life. I know it’s cliché but family, friends, relationships that is what matters in life, all the rest is just fluff.  

So if you are helping a parent or another loved one or friend downsize be patient. Stop and think “what if it were me” how would I feel about emptying out my nest . That will help you help them though this very tough and often painful process.

Have you helped someone downsize? I’d love to hear about your experience and how you survived the process.  We are on this journey together and learn from each other so please feel free to share.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

When Searching For Assisted Living Beware of Hidden Fees

Hello everyone, 

I hope you are enjoyed your weekend. I had my granddaughter here today, she is almost two years old and she wore me out, but it's a good kind of worn out. Children bring out the best in us and keep us young - or so I hope.

Today I thought to share with you some of my findings on the HIDDEN FEES that are lurking in some if not all Assisted Living Facilities' pricing structures. This came to mind after I was reviewing a checklist that AARP put out for people who are searching for an Assisted Living facility. What was it that was so surprising?