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Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 10:15 AM   #1
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Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

I'm here at my sister's helping to care for my Mom. We're considering options for care, and one of them is the hiring of a personal care assistant. Someone to supervise medications, help her get around, etc.

Has anyone done this? Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 10:45 AM   #2
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I'm here at my sister's helping to care for my Mom.* We're considering options for care, and one of them is the hiring of a personal care assistant.* Someone to supervise medications, help her get around, etc.

Has anyone done this?* Any suggestions?

Thanks!
We did this for my mom. However, my mom is so darn stubborn that she insisted that she didn't need help in spite of her falling down and needing a walker to get around. So the women we hired lasted for about two months. Our next step is an assisted living situation.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

We do this for my MIL, although the person has no training or credentials. It is a very cost effective and makes the rest of the family rest easier knowing that she has a companion who can call for help if something goes wrong. There are plenty of side benifits as well . . . keeping the house cleaner being a big one.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 12:27 PM   #4
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

My caution: secure valuables and cash.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 01:11 PM   #5
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
My caution: secure valuables and cash.*
I don't know where you're at, Al, but in the state of Florida it's possible for a relative to be hired as a caregiver. However it took a while for my cousin's family to get that sorted out, and each case might have to be individually addressed.

Not that having a relative in the job makes Brat's advice any less necessary.

Take a look at the phone directory for "elder advocacy" services-- they may maintain referral lists. If it's just medications, consider a visiting nurse. If it's driving Mom to appointments/shopping, consider a volunteer service or the local equivalent of Handivan. But if you're looking for someone to help with bathrooms & stairs, well, that's pretty tough to find someone trustworthy and long-term. At that point many people start looking at continuing-care facilities where you can go from independent apartments to assisted-living apartments to full-time care.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 01:42 PM   #6
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Al, before you hire someone make sure you clarify who will be responsible for taxes and have your a$$ covered. Are they independent contractor or employee.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 01:57 PM   #7
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

To add to what Larry says, you will need workers compensation insurance or make sure they have their own (they should if they work for an agency).*


edited to fix embarrassing typo as this is Al's thread

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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-10-2006, 03:58 PM   #8
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Al, whenever you have someone else in your home (or your sister's home) there (their? ) is always the chance of unintended consequences, no matter how honest or well-intentioned the individual might be.

Example: DW and I had her invalid mother come to live with us for 5 months in the hope she could get better medical treatment than she was receiving locally. We both worked, so we hired an individual from an agency to stay with her during the day. Nice lady, did a good job of helping care for my MIL. Unfortunately she decided to help out with the laundry one day and put several of DWs dry clean only dresses in the washer. Very expensive mistake.

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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-11-2006, 09:22 AM   #9
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Good advice, thanks!
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-11-2006, 11:17 AM   #10
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

My mother cared for my uncle for years until she couldn't do it anymore. So she called an agency who sent someone out who they said is well quallified. Turns out she has no work experience (or so she says now), and after only only six weeks, she got my uncle to change his will to include her in it, and now wants my mother to sign a quit claim deed on his house that he has her on. She has turned my uncle against all family members. We tried to get agency to replace her telling them of situation, but they refused stating "Their contract is with my uncle, and he would have to request the change"

So, BE Forewarned. This is a major problem with these people. Here in Florida it only requires two hours of schooling to become certified. This type of job attracts a lot of unsavory charactors, like pedafiles to "little league". I have called 211 for help (assists elderly) no response after several tries, district attorney's office for guidance, only to be told it is a very wide spread problem with caregivers and the elderly. So tred with extreem caution, and if their are any contracts to be signed, you sign it yourself.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-11-2006, 11:38 AM   #11
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Modhatter, seek the assitance of an elderlaw specialsit right away.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-11-2006, 01:26 PM   #12
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

FIL needs someone 24 hours. It started out just helping him get around, tracking his meds, etc. But as time has progressed and he has regressed they do everything for him. We started with an agency and we were lucky to get one woman (out of four or five who worked with FIL) who was fantastic. The agency went belly up when the owner was arrested for identity theft (from her clients). We hired the one fantastic caregiver and paid her more to hire and supervise a new crew of women that she picked. That worked well for about two years, but then because some people moved and a couple had to be let go, we found ourselves short handed. Another agency was hired and we now have a mix of people we pay directly and agency folks for nights and to fill in when the others cannot work.

As another poster wrote, agencies can be a real mixed group (and so can their employees). Our one primary caregiver does a fantastic job of monitoring them and there have been several who came with the label "one of our best" that she evaluated as "doesn't know a thing about this work." We went through several of them until we got to a group of agency employees that are acceptable.

We sort of muddled our way into a pretty good situation that had quite a few moments of aggravation and took a long time to get into place. If I had to do it all over again I would find a high quality caregiver no matter what it cost and have them evaluate individuals to form a core group. I would pay them more than the agencies will, but also go ahead and evaluate some agencies to have flexibility of coverage when people quit, get fired, call in sick, etc.
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"
Old 08-12-2006, 05:30 PM   #13
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Re: Hiring a "Personal Care Assistant"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
My caution: secure valuables and cash.*
My mother hired one for her mother. We estimate that she got away with about $65,000 back in 1982. She had my grandmother sign checks (or forged her signature) and many things disappeared from her home. When she left, my grandmother still needed help but suddenly her assets were gone. The police were less than helpful.
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