Should I Be Worried About the Caregiver
"I am a little worried that my mother’s caregiver is getting a bit too close to her. I have seen her wearing some of Mother’s clothes and accepting gifts from my mother. The other day Mom even gave her meat from the freezer. Mother is of sound mind, and she knows exactly what she is doing. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable, that an unhealthy relationship is forming. Is there some way I can make sure my mother is not being taken advantage of?"
What you are seeing happens at times in the caregiving world. People share their resources with the individuals who do nice things for them. Where the concern comes in is that some elderly are more vulnerable, less cognitively alert and not as physically strong as others. Think of your childhood when you were dependent on your parents for food, clothing, shelter, and safety. While the elderly are not children by any means, most of us will be dependents again at some point in our elderly lives, unless we are one of the rare few who is independent until peacefully passing away while sleeping at the magical age of 90.
If caring for an elderly person, I recommend that the caregiver is arranged for by the children. This allows the adult child to more closely supervise the situation and lets the caregiver know who the employer is. It is best to setup gift-giving expectations from the start. Let the caregiver know what type of gifts he or she may accept from your parent. Become a partner with the caregiver, making sure to work side-by-side some days. Caregiving is an intimate relationship. If you completely wash your hands of the situation, you will find that the caregiver becomes more like the child than you do.
In your situation, it is going to be uncomfortable for a bit. I do feel that you need to get closer to what is going on. Spend more quality time with Mom. Make sure your mother is not being asked for her possessions. Make sure your mother feels safe with her caregiver. Being of sound mind does not mean she feels safe. We all get pressure in this world by individuals that have their own interests at heart. Make sure your mother knows that you will step in and handle any uncomfortable situations that she wants you to. At this time you will need to find out from your mother if she is being pressured in any way to give away possessions. If your relationship is strong, this conversation should not be too difficult. Do your best to be nonjudgmental in your approach. Simply by asking questions, you are letting your mother know that you are aware.
I wish you the best with this touchy situation.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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