furious caregiver

The other day I stopped by my dad’s place and caught the home health aide yelling at him.

At first I was livid. How could she treat him that way? She’s here to keep him safe and take care of him and she was clearly failing at that. Yelling at someone with dementia is only going to agitate them and make the situation worse. Don’t they train home health aides?

And then I stepped back. Because, well, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve yelled at my dad, too.

I realized I was about to yell at her for yelling at my dad.

I know it’s not right. I know he isn’t responsible for his behavior. I’ve read all the advice, watched all the videos, and know what I’m supposed to do. But following the advice is so much easier said than done.

I know what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t always do it.

My first instinct was to fire her immediately and call up her company to complain. But that’s not what I did.

Instead, I asked her to finish what she was doing so I could talk to her. We talked about what I saw and I told her I understood how frustrating taking care of my dad can be, but that obviously what I heard wasn’t acceptable. She was so embarrassed and apologized. We talked about what had happened to get her worked up and swapped ways to keep our cool.

It felt like a bonding moment. I hope I’m right and that this won’t happen again. Hopefully this will mean my dad will get better care from someone who knows I want to work with her, not against her. Someone who sees her as a real person, working just as hard as I am.

Anonymous

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49 Comments

  1. We all have done it!! We are humans and the important thing is to realize that we are doing it and change.

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  2. i look after wife 24/7 i shout and scream at times, not a natural carer but i try my best with no help.

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  3. Oh yea, she would be running from my house, hoping I didn’t catch her physically.

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  4. Having been a caregiver I have been verbally and physically abused by demented patients …. it is very hard not to defend yourself but training helps to flip most situations in a positive way ….. but unfortunately not always

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  5. To be honest, I am a military caregiver taking care of someone with PTSD and an auto immune disease that YES was caused by vaccination. To start off, I am SICK of staying quiet when people ask how my husband got his auto immune disease. I know vaccination is a SUPER touchy subject, but I am SICK of hearing these self rightous morons speak about how “right” our government is. That is just the tip of my ice berg.

    I am SICK of being treated like I am a “less than” or held to a completely different set of standards. We are also human, and we also burn out just like the patients do. I noticed it is standard to treat the caregivers particularly like we are nothing more than terrible pieces of s**t that can be used or abused to take the pressure off the “professionals”.

    No, I am not proud of when I have snapped at my husband or had to really get “firm” with him. But there is that point where we literally are treated like we are less than human. My husband knows how to pick a fight, and will do it and then use his PTSD as an excuse. Sadly this was learned from the very people that are suppose to be “treating him” and “helping him manage his problems”.

    It is NOT ok for patients to be complete asses, but at the same time, when we have no one to give us a break, or are able to just stand back and let the person just have their moment of whatever, yea, we get pushed to snapping too.

    I have learned to immediately ignore his hurtful words and demening behavior and really realize when he is just straight up being a jerk and trying to do everything he can to take it out particularly on me. I only saw him go off on ONE person in our time in dealing with the toxic VA system, but when his auto immune disease took over our lives and I had to learn to give him shots of Humira, I noticed how many professionals even would just get up and walk out when my husband was starting in. Either on me, or them, or just being horrible in general.

    I have had several nurses, and a few doctors give me great advice about when you hit your own breaking point of dealing with someone that is being past out of line and want ot just be terrible because they KNOW they are.

    I have learned to just let my husband go off. I just stay quiet. I don’t respond, I don’t fight back, and I will let him make a fool out of himself in public or where ever we are. Yea, I feel like a sponge and have to really stop and give myself respite time where I can, and when I can, but I have also learned as well that since he was taught to use his “diagnoses” as shields, that this is about his problems and the refusal to deal with them, or the consequences.

    That caregiver in the article probably hit their limit. We all do. But one factor that most don’t realize, is that we for the most part can’t just walk out like you see a nurse or doctor do because they know there is someone else that can IMMEDIATELY step in while they go out to breath. We caregivers DON’T get that luxury.

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  6. You can’t reason with dementia. It’s not possible. Be mad at the desease and not the person. I’ve been a CBRF certified caregiver for 9 years. We have 11 residents and 8 of them have severe dementia. Some days are easier than others. It’s best to walk away and bite our tongues. Let them be then try again. It’s also very easy to get “burned out”. It’s hard to admit but it happens. Have had the urge to yell, but then step back and do something else.

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  7. I wished someone that I’m paying to take care of my Mother YELLED at her……breathe Jennifer!!!
    I didn’t allowed someone to yell at her when she was healthy and more than capable of taking care of herself.
    Never, ever is that okay with me.

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  8. Did you beat that ass? I’m kidding. That was my first reaction to the headline.

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  9. No wonder home care called me lazy just because I needed a break and went on a family camping trip.

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  10. As a live in caregiver with a company and in hospice for 12 years. I’ve seen both sides of it. I agree with the comment we need to quit being plastic. It happens, and yes the best way to handle it is talk to your caregiver, maybe she has burn out and needs to be relieved of her duties. Maybe a simple talking to woke her up that that’s it’s not right. My clients agree they could NEVER care for their mom. I’ve even seen one yell at her mom. It happens…. is it right?? No. Yes abuse does happen daily. And it’s sad. And here is something some of you may not know. Company caregivers can walk off the street and into this job, no licenses, just finger printing. Do your research on your caregiver, ask you the owner questions. Are they licensed in any way… CNA or HHA, how many years have they been working in health care, do they have the training or experience.

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  11. It’s a tuff gig and something not everyone is cut out for – most do the bare minimum – my Grandmother cooked their lunch, had to leave notes for them to check off, called and complained. A job is a job do it right or go home – these are deaf, blind, crippled,elderly folks that need help. And they may be cranky!

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  12. Everyone should be Treated With Dignity and Respect

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  13. Next she’ll slap him if she hasn’t yet.

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  14. An article that excuses abuse of the elderly, and it is abuse, shouldn’t be published.

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  15. I agree, she should have been fired. I get that caring for a patient with dementia is trying, but noting justifies elder abuse. Nothing at all. I care for many elderly patients, and dementia or not, they deserve our utmost patience and respect. Do your job. If you get overwhelmed on any given day, find another job.

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  16. Sorry, very disgusted with the author’s handling of the situation! No one has the right to yell at anyone, especially someone who needs extra understanding and care. That is your parent! And if you have slipped out of frustration that’s one thing. Learn from it. But to give permission, and immediate forgiveness, for a non family member, a virtual stranger, to do the same is not appropriate. Seems like you just don’t feel like putting in the work to find another caretaker, which should be done immediately, and make it clear to the new person that this is not acceptable with your father. You just happened to catch this abuse THIS TIME.

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  17. And a fake camera has the same effect.

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  18. I would think a few cameras have a way of keeping things professional.

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  19. I’m not going to deny it. I’ve yelled at my dad. Normally, it falls under 3 reasons, none are proud ones. 1) He’s been trying to pick a fight with me all day, and keeps finding ways to get under foot or irk me to explosion. 2) I’m sick or in severe pain, have no patience, and he seems to know what to do to hit my ‘no patience’ zone. 3) He’s yelling at someone in public or at the doctor, and I’m telling him to bring his voice down, his behavior isn’t going to rush their compassion to his problem. He has what his shrink calls a need to be in a fight, so he feels like he’s important, has some reason to be here. Yes, I’ve been trying to change it, and slowly, it is getting better. But if I get sick or something scares him, we are right back to the yelling. Yes, I have found nurses snapping at my father. My response, “Okay, what happened here, kids?” My father has the traditional strong voice, which carries, and was great in the military, but terrifies and upsets everyone else. He’s technically ‘harmless’ and is being loud for the sake of being loud. The louder, the better. Good thing, in a sad way, I have the same talent, barking back, telling him to cool it or something along the lines of back the flip off. OMG, let us breathe. The article leaves a great deal out, as to what was the trigger, and if the elder parent is, as my father is, a yelling trouble maker who wants you to yell back. It is a struggle to give him respect when he wants to run the yelling truck over you. He’s so familiar with the strategy to calm him down, he counters it, fights it when he’s in this mode. He actually takes offense to it. So yah, without the additional info, I can see they are trying to show everyone gets their buttons pushed one too many times, even professionals. They do, too, by more than one patient and family member in the 12 hour shift, not including their supervisors, etc. Yet, if the type of dementia flow for the patient is ‘YELL!!!!’, yah, forget the protocols, you kind of have to live through it as you would through basic training with friendly fire. *sighs*

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  20. Oh she would of been dismissed really quickly

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  21. We all need to stop being plastic. We have yelled or raised our voices plenty of times. Now, I’m not saying yelling is right but these aren’t babies were taking care of and sometimes it take asserted gestures or tone up to get things in order I get it he has dementia but please stop taking things so personal. Get to know your caretaker and understand how she care takes… If your not there all the time and you should focus on being there more often or get a camera. Don’t be so quick to judge every caretaker is different!

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    • i don’t care what the circumstances….yelling is not appropriate behavior for any caregiver!!!

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    • I hope you’re not in the field. There is no other job where screaming at the customer or client or boss is acceptable. Anyone that uses an aggressive, frightening, intimidating tone should immediately be fired and should not work in this field. She shouldn’t be around vulnerable populations. Next it’s slapping, twisting arms, choking. Happens every day.

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  22. She showed grace and forgiveness. She admitted that she herself had once been guilty of the same.

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    • She’s not paid to do a job the caregiver is. In what job can you abuse a client and get away with it?

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  23. She should be fired immediately. I can not imagine any instance where I would (or could) raise my voice at a client.

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  24. With my mom, I always treat her with dignity and respect. She certainly has earned it and deserves it. Her behavior is because of her disease, not by her choice. I can very honestly say I have never, ever yelled at her. She is my mother and I guess I was raised in a way that, if it be respect or fear, I would never raise my voice to her, ever. In my opinion, people that decide to go into a profession to deal with the elderly and their issues should know better and should never yell at the people in their care. Typically, people with dementia become difficult because of fear. Yelling does not cure fear, if anything, it just escalates their fear. If this is their job, they should be trained and understand that yelling will not work. Calm reassurance and redirection is the method to use. I understand giving her the benefit of the doubt but I would never allow anyone to treat my mother with disrespect. One warning is all they would get from me, if that, because I honestly expect them to treat her with respect, always. Perhaps they were having an awful day, their cat died or their child was up all night sick. Lots of things can influence how people behave…so a warning that it isn’t acceptable is good. But if it happened again, I would move hell and high water to make sure that person never dealt with patients/residents again. Not only for my mother, but your parent/spouse/grandparent, etc. as well.

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    • When I feel myself getting tense/tired, I retreat and take a couple of deep breaths! I have never and never will allow myself to disrespect my husband of 32years!

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  25. I am a carer
    And that is so wrong
    Respect and understanding is everything! Rid her immediately

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    • I am a client. In general my caregivers are all nice and helpful. But there is this one caregiver who continues to be obstinate. She does good work – but her attitude it’s not appropriate. I wonder if I should just let her go.

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  26. I would still fire her. She gets paid and only has to deal with him one shift at a time.

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  27. I very much understand these feelings of being overly exhausted as I am the sole caretaker of my husband 24/7 since 12/20/14!

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  28. I find it upsetting when I see family members making fun of their “loved ones”

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  29. A healthcare professional yelling at a dementia patient is unacceptable. They should be trained on the #1 most critical component of dementia care which is PATIENCE.

    We screen all candidates during their phone interview for dementia care. If they score below a certain %, they are trained in proper care before interacting with my mother.

    Arguing with the aide right after yelling at him will service nothing. And the aide might take it out on him after you leave. Document the incident and start looking for a replacement immediately in case other such “incidents” occur.

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  30. Absolutely not. Get in another field. First it’s yelling. Then it’s hitting. Most all work is frustrating. That’s why we get paid. There is no job where yelling at a client is tolerated. Can you imagine going to the bank or a restaurant and the employee yells at you? This is a business relationship and it needs to be professional. If its excused once, it will accelerate. There needs to be zero tolerance when it comes to care of our most vulnerable.

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  31. I think she bears watching

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  32. At least it wasn’t a gov. Case worker during a assessment that’s what happens to us & deletes diagnoses! Washington state !

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  33. I’m not supporting this behavior but home health aides get paid crap and do the same things we do without any training or investment in the patient. I used to buy groceries or gift cards and birthday presents for her kids cuz I knew she got $7.50 hr. they need better working incentives .

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  34. I was caregiver for my son but I have to say when I had a health aide in there are good ones and there are ones that should not have the job. My son had cancer and passed away at 56 years old. I had no family help as they were always to busy . I think they could of made some time but as his Mother I have no regrets. I did the majority of the work as well as give him his needles and medication. My son was put in a home for his last few months and there were good nurses and ones that should not be nurses. I was there every day and seen what was going on and I pray I never have to go.

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  35. My husband is not able to talk anymore and gets angry when he is trying to tell me something and I can’t understand him.This happened the other day and I was yelling at him too.After a few minutes I said I was sorry and hugged him and asked if he forgave me and he said yes.Sometimes we don’t handle things like we should.but we are human and make mistakes too

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  36. Oh waaaah, he probably deserved it. They’re not at all 100% innocent just because they’re old. And maybe try paying them more than poverty wages and you might be able to get better customer service and a better quality of people!!

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    • insensitive and uncalled for comment of the day goes to Tala

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    • Melody Mundy but what Tala said is the truth

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    • Because mature comments start with “waaahhhhhh”

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  37. You get a good caregiver from the very beginning! First of all, where is the family, they need to be involved in more than signing a check!! I do this everyday to help various clients. I’d never do this!! I helped with my grandparents & parents, stating at age 16! I’m 62 now! They are better in a home if you aren’t up to caregiving.

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  38. I think that you did the correct thing. Caregiving can be so very frustrating. The people that we care for can try our patience just like anyone else can. Anger will ensue. It’s a human reaction. The people that we care for can also get angry at us or just life in general. How do you handle that anger? Remove yourself from the situation if only to walk into another room, take a few deep breaths, and then go back to caregiving. That’s always been my best defense.

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  39. She handled it perfectly!
    Good thing you are Anonymous?
    Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t happen because it does.
    Frustration ran amuck in our home taking care of my Mother.
    Some caregivers left after 5 hours. Some didn’t. We’re only human. We had talks also. Mom is now in a nursing home. I make sure that I thank all the ladies and gentlemen that work there.
    Yes I expect not to have any problems because there are more of them than there were us at home. When if someone has gotten frustrated they can say, excuse me please take over. I will remember the poeple working in the home are human also.
    Great post!
    Thank you for giving us this site to explain, complain, cry, laugh and just communicate.

    Reply

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