The Right Fit
My sister was here for five weeks and it was the usual go, go, go with family and friends wanting to see her. During her visit, however, we carved some time out to have a heart-to-heart with Mumsie about her care. While Mumsie is still mentally sharp and alert, her physical balance is not what it used to be, although she continues to stay active and thoroughly enjoys her twice-weekly exercise classes with “the girls” at the nearby senior centre, which provides both mental and physical stimulation.
However, it’s now becoming more and more difficult for me to leave Mumsie alone. She’s beginning to forget to turn off taps or, more importantly, the gas on the stove. And even though it’s only happened a few times, it’s still a cause for concern.
Mumsie’s always been fiercely independent and has understandably prided herself on being active, both mentally and physically. However, she hasn’t realized that she’s become more and more dependent on me, which in turn has affected my own independence. This was the gist of our conversation, which resulted in Mumsie agreeing, albeit somewhat reluctantly, to have a part-time companion/caregiver come in. Bless her – this is a big step for her to take and I know she’s doing it solely for me.
To ease everyone into this new routine, we agreed to start with a few hours a week and then take it from there. So I called up a caregiver agency and explained that we needed a companion-type of caregiver for Mumsie. When the agency RN came for an assessment, she emphasized the importance of having the “right fit” of companion/caregiver for Mumsie, so we were encouraged by that. Mumsie explained that she wanted someone who was a good conversationalist but not too noisy. The RN asked what Mumsie’s interests were – gardening, reading, going for walks. Before leaving, the RN assured us that she had the “perfect” companion/caregiver in mind and we agreed on the first visit.
A few days later, the companion/caregiver came over – and that’s where the problem started. While May is a lovely girl, she’s in her early 20’s, is newly graduated from her caregiver’s course, has no interest in gardening, doesn’t like to read and is extremely quiet. It didn’t look promising but my sister and I didn’t want to hover so we went out and left them to get to know each other better. We returned about four hours later and, after May left, asked Mumsie how it went. Mumsie said all they did was watch “Say yes to the dress” and “What not to wear” the whole time. She made an attempt to converse about gardening and some books she’d read but May couldn’t contribute to the conversation. Mumsie said she ended up feeling uncomfortable and frustrated. Oh dear.
I called the RN at the agency and explained what had happened. She said she’d sent May over because she’s newly graduated and needed the hours. I politely asked her why she hadn’t taken Mumsie’s considerations into account and she said it wasn’t possible to find a companion/caregiver who would have completely the same interests as Mumsie. So much for the “right fit”.
We’ve decided not to continue with this agency and to leave things as they are for now. I’ve told Mumsie not to stress out about it but she’s feeling bad because she recognizes the importance of giving me time for myself. I haven’t given up on the idea and will continue the search. I’m sure we’ll be able to find an ideal companion/caregiver for Mumsie…it’s just a matter of finding someone who really is the “right fit”.
[tags]caregiver, companion for my mother, senior caregiver agency, taking care of my mother[/tags]