Question of the Day: "My husband feels that his caregivers are trying to "take over". He wants them to stop coming. How do I, his wife, deal with this – what do I say to him?"

Answer:  The situation you describe is not at all unusual.  A complete answer would require a little more information about your husband – and his caregivers.  Whether your husband has any level of dementia, for example, could make a very real difference in his ability to accept care.  If dementia is present, make sure the caregivers are skilled in working with folks with that condition.  If they are not, tell the agency supplying them to replace them.

Even without other factors being present, however, it is important for us to remember that home care is intrusive.  Your husband has been an independent adult for a long time, I assume.  Having to give up some of that independence is a real challenge for any of us. 

What I would recommend is having the discussion with your husband focus on the issues concerning the specific Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) that spurred the decision to initiate home care.  Making sure you and your husband – and his caregivers – understand the specifics of the plan of care is very important.  These “X” services will be performed; everything else will be left to your husband.

Also, in your question, you refer to multiple caregivers.  Ideally, you want to have one consistent caregiver providing services.  If care is provided seven days per week, it may require two people, but there should not be more than two in the team.  The caregiver(s) should be consistent, rather than just whoever shows up.  If the latter is happening, talk to the agency providing service.  Your husband – and you – deserve consistency.  It will result in a higher level of service and make it a lot easier to set the parameters of what is “in” and what is “out” of the plan of care.

Bert Cave
President of Support For Home
Sacramento, California
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, California chapter 

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