Dear Mary
What about Live-In-Help?

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Dear Mary,

My parents are doing ok, but they I think that having some live-in-help would be a good idea. What do you think?

Ron

Hi Ron:

Our family has had alot of experience with live-in-help, here is what we learned.

Generally speaking it is a great idea. It gives your parents the ability to maintain their home and their independence for longer. It also gives you the peace of mind that they are being well looked after, well feed and safer having someone younger and more able staying in their house. You can find in-home caregivers either through private agencies or personal contacts. Don’t just pick the first person out of desperation. I would suggest that you interview at least 4 people.

Some of the key hiring requirements should include a person who:

· Can prepare and cook familiar foods for your parents

· Respects and understands that they are not the “boss”

· Does not try and push new ideas onto your parents

· Let’s your parents participate in household decisions

· Allows your parents to feel like they are still in control of their lives and their homes.

Hired-in-home-care works until it doesn’t. This sounds like a silly sentence but it is true. Things go along fine, until one day “all hell breaks loose.” Something happens and the situation suddenly changes, sometimes drastically.

Here is a real example. We hired our first–in-home-caregiver, Phyllis to help take care of our parents. Phyllis was doing a great job but my Mother who was suffering from dementia started to accuse Phyllis of:

· Stealing

· Having sex with my Father (who was suffering with prostate cancer – so how silly is that?)

· Eating too much food

· Basically taking over the house

It got to the point where my Mother would wake up Phyllis or my Father in the middle of the night and start to physically beat them up. The emotional abuse was equally terrible. My Mother was out of control and this situation came to an abrupt end. Clearly we did not want anyone to be beat up. We reluctantly had to let Phyllis go. We tried 2 other ladies after that, and then realized that hired-in-home-caregivers would no longer suite our parent’s situation.

We learned the hard way that our Mother was very territorial about her home, her things and her husband. She would not allow a stranger in her home to take over her world. If you have a parent with Dementia issues, remember our situation. It may happen to you too!

So Ron, thank you for your question. I suggest you give it a try. It is a great arrangement for all of you while it works. As soon as it doesn’t work, you will know. You will all then move to the next level of care. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity. Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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