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HORIZON BLOG

Mom Fires All Her Caregivers

 

Question

"It’s getting harder and harder to find care for my mother. She lives at home, and caregivers come and go constantly.

Truth be told, she's not easy to work for. She can be cranky, and likes to fire people when they don’t meet her rigid expectations. She expects 100% work time, with no rest or breaks. Caregivers simply do not seem to operate that way. Frankly, my mother never worked like that in her lifetime, either.

I’m tired of replacing caregivers, and seem to be running out of options. What do you suggest I do?" 

 

Answer

These are extremely trying times for almost all employers. Right now, hiring and retaining staff is the number one challenge they almost all face, and even if your mother is using an agency for her caregivers, she is basically an employer. You and her are beginning to see and feel the consequences of the employment situation in this country.

She can go ahead and fire with reckless abandon if she wants. She is, though, going to create great stress for you, as she continues to blow through staff and at some point possibly runs out of options.

One way your mother can still obtain care is to pay far more for service than it should cost. It’s surprising what people will put up with for high wages. We have always paid people more for risky or undesirable jobs. 

Your mother’s treatment of caregivers is already having an impact on her care. It’s time to make a few changes, and your mother needs to deal with the consequences of her behavior. She really doesn’t have any choice. You simply aren’t going to be able to find anyone who’s willing to work for her for what would be considered the normal wage.

The next time you seek a new caregiver, give the applicant or new agency a warning about how your mother conducts herself. Be brutally honest about her behavior with the new caregivers before they start. Then offer “combat pay” up front. Make sure that premium pay is worth the aggravation that they will endure. Note that the additional compensation must be significant to hold the individual(s) for a reasonable time period. Offer yourself as a sounding board for the caregiver, so that they can relieve the stress of it all. Without a support system, money alone may not be enough. Even with your support, you will lose some staff if your mother’s behavior is bad enough. 

As it relates to your mother, level with her. Let her know that her treatment of caregivers is limiting her options. I suspect that this will do little to alter her behavior this late in the game. She may be defensive and criticize you. Accept the comments and move forward. Let her know she will be paying more for her care because of her actions, and then set it up. 

You’re in a tough caregiving situation during tough times. This would be challenging even without the current state of employment. I hope you can come to resolution with your situation and secure ongoing care for your mother. It is not an easy journey.

 

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