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Mom Keeps Firing All Her Caregivers

It seems like once a week your mother fires her caregiver.  The agency is running out of staff to send and you are on your second agency!  What do you do?

I am going to venture a guess that your mother has always been difficult to get along with if dementia is not a factor in your situation.  Mom likely has alienated more than one individual in her lifetime, and I suspect there have been many.  But now this has become your problem, as you are the liaison to the agencies.

As tough as it will be, you need to have a heart-to-heart meeting with your mother and the agency that is trying to help her.  Start with the agency.  Call whoever manages your mother’s care, and be honest with them.  Tell them the truth about your mother’s relationships and secure their support.  Agencies see many individuals like your mother, believe me on this one.  You will find the agency staff to be very sympathetic and helpful to you.  I recommend that you go to their office and meet with them.  Together you can craft a plan that will appease both parties.  Feel free to bring the concerns your mother has identified, but go there to find a solution, not to simply unload all of your mother’s complaints.

Ideally you want your mother to grow to accept help in her home.  Your mother may never be entirely satisfied with any individual, but she can get used to someone over time.  Work with the agency to locate individuals with compliant natures and thick skin.  Seasoned and confident are the characteristics described by one of our directors.

Whether solo or with a supervisor, the next step is to meet with your mother.  It needs to be explained that she is running out of options for care.  Facility care may be her only future choice if she is unable to settle on someone to care for her.  Your mother will provide numerous reasons why the caregivers are unacceptable, but the fact will remain that she has discharged everyone that has come.

I recommend that you give her a choice of staff, if that is possible.  Work out with her what characteristics she desires in caregivers, what tasks they will perform, and determine what her "pet peeves" are.  Seek agreement that no caregivers are sent away before contacting you.

The best of luck to you. It will not be easy, but know that you are not alone.