I have been a live-in caregiver for a woman who is only a couple of years older than myself (she is 48) for the last 6 years. I took this job because my husband had gotten out of the military and we needed a place to live and this was work that I had done for years in a hospital setting. When taking this job I was told she has the mentality of a 10 year old. I am her 8th caregiver in 14 years. 4 years ago she decided she no longer had to listen to me, that she could do what she wants when she wants. Her guardian told me not to argue with her. Her lawyer told me not to argue with her. So for the last 4 years I have been doing what I can to get her to take meds, shower, even brush her hair. There is nothing physically wrong with. In fact since I have been here I have gotten her healthy enough that she went from taking 9 different meds twice a day to only 2 pills a day. The doctor cannot find anything wrong with her.
The major issue I am having that scares me to death is this: She has started lying. Her last doctor's appointment was with a different doctor in the practice (one who doesn't know her or myself), she told him that I wasn't feeding her. He later called and apologized saying he had to believe her until her blood test came back because a lot of elderly people get abused. She isn't elderly but she acts like she is. She has told people that my husband and I beat her. She has told people that I am stealing her money, and I have no access to her money, I am just the caregiver. She has told people that my husband is poisoning the tap water. I was actually not concerned by the lies until she told her lawyer that I do not allow her in the living room and that we never take her out. Now the lawyer wants to get involved. I get inspected every 6 months to make sure I am cooking and cleaning properly. She literally walks through the whole house. I have to write a report on what I do from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. I have to do a financial report on OUR finances. Her finances get audited yearly - which has nothing to do with us, we have NO access to her money, I couldn't even tell you what bank she banks at. I am given $700 a month from her guardian and that is suppose to be my pay ($500) and money to cover what she needs. We pay all the basic household bills (Electric, water, sewer, cable) and buy all the food and toiletries as our rent.
I need help figuring out what to do to keep her from getting me into trouble. We do not abuse her. She does not miss a meal. In fact she seems to use the lies to control us. Do I get a lawyer? Do I get the doctor to verify she isn't abused? I have started taking picture of her meals (that are date and time stamped). And I keep a detailed calendar of what she does and what she says. But I feel like that will not be enough to protect us.
I can not get her to shower, brush her teeth or hair. She refuses to take her meds. She will not get up before 11am and will go to bed as soon as she is done eating. No one can eat at the table with her (She says it makes her nervous). She will wet the bed. I have watched her walk past the empty hall bathroom to go pee in the floor in her room. And her lies... she literally lies about everything! Most of which are mean and horrible lied. I don't know what to do. I am so stressed and scared that she is going to do or say something to get my into trouble. Please... any advice would be soooo appreciated.
Anytime you come across a client who has more than their fair share of caregivers that should always be a red flag. Most people who need caregivers want to find the same one(s). That is always a goal. But when there's a revolving door of caregivers that makes a statement.
Her lawyer actually believed her. The guardian told me of my bad report, which is what started my concern. I began to think about what it all may look like from the outside looking in and listening to her lies. The what ifs popped into my head. What if someone believe her? What if she believes she is really being abused and starved? What if I get into trouble for something I am not doing? The stress of all of it is just overwhelming.
Now don't think I am an angel... I have gotten frustrated and talked sternly to her. After telling her 5 times to brush her teeth... it gets frustrating. That was when I talked to the guardian and was told not to argue with her. So now... I don't argue.
I have thought about talking to the doctor this appointment (She goes every 4 months - med checks mainly) and asking if he could do a full exam and verify she isn't being beat. And maybe even a toxicology report on her (since us poisoning her is another common lie she tells). Just to make sure it is in her medical record.
I do believe she believes her lies. 80% of the time it is just her and I at home, today she came to me talking about her doing all her chores today, (what she calls chores is: brushing teeth, brushing hair, washing her face, bathing, drinking water, her doctor ordered stretches and walking... etc) But she hadn't done anything but sit and play games on her laptop. She hadn't even come out of her room after breakfast. When I told her she hadn't done anything yet, she started yelling at me that I was lying. She just got to angry so it seemed like she believed what she was saying.
My husband did find a job... he actually works out of state 2 weeks a month. Because he was out of work for so long after the military our credit went down the toilet. So even though he has a good job now, our credit is preventing us from moving right now. We do hope to be out of here by the end of the year though. I just worry about covering my butt while I am still here. I just never thought this would get this hard. I've raised 6 children as a single mom... and that was a walk in the park compared to this.
Thank You so much for all the advice.
Get out before you're investigated with a police record. Go move in with one of your kids..With your experience I'm sure you can find another job. What would you do if she died tomorrow and you had to leave? Take care of yourself..?
I have been told they always look at the care-giver when it comes to anything. And in a hospital setting your protected. I honestly didn't think everything through when I took this job and it took me 6 years to realize that.
To be honest, If we had to leave tomorrow, I have no idea what we would do. All my kids have spread from coast to coast and have families of their own. I suppose we could find a co-signer for now just to get out of here. Our credit should be in order (according to the finance lawyer) in about 6 months. At this point we are just trying to hold out that long.
Thank You all so much for the support, advice and lots of comments to think about.
Two 80 hour week, pay at minimum wage,
equals $924 a month (double that if your both working)
•Rent: $400 (Federal subsidized)
•Utilities: $130 (current average of electricity, water, and gas for an apt)
•Food: $200 (assuming you could survive on $50 a week)
•Phone: $25 (prepaid phone)
•Car insurance: $100 (full coverage)
•Gas: $75 (this is what I currently spend to drive to/from work)
And your husband is working 2 weeks a month! You could be out of there by the 1st if you really wanted. You need to move before these issues becomes legal issues! You should of called in a caseworker from the mentally medically developmentally disabled.(MMDD) They come and do assessments and would be going straight to the court room to find out on the POA. You have been there 6 years and are just as much to fault as the POA to even stay there one more day without calling in caseworkers because this is abuse. I would be packing real fast because the caseworkers are not going to believe you after you waited 6 years. Sorry.
I did take her to the doctor's on Friday. I have been filling him in on everything over the course of the last 6 years and he knows she is well taken care of, not beaten, no poison and is being fed. He has known me for a while and I am sure he would help me out should it come to that. I'm just hoping it doesn't. I don't think I could handle that stress. I HATE hate being accused of things that I am not doing and because her stories are so far out there, I never in 6 years thought anyone would believe them. It all just amazes me. The doctor did do blood and urine tests. He said there are a couple of things that could cause this behavior. He is also going to help me find a psychologist for her.
I have thought about getting a lawyer. Though that would be more money we don't have. But is that something I should be looking into? What do you all think?
Since we pay my Charges bills as well to live here (Pennsylvania):
Her electric is $400 a month.
Her water is $120 a month.
Her sewer is $100 a month.
Her cable/phone is $200.00 a month.
My medical bills $300.00 a month.
Car insurance $140.00 a month (basic)
My husband's job is out of state (Ohio) he drives there and sleeps in his truck to save on hotel - $600 in gas, tolls and food while he is gone (If he comes home with any money left that is usually put toward groceries.
Household food bill between $400 and $500 a month.
Bankruptcy $250 a month (only 2 payments left).
Doctor's appointment co-pays $40 a month. (I have a couple of medical conditions).
I am given as "pay" $500 a month and $200 to cover her needs. Husband makes about $2200.00 a month. If you do that math, that doesn't give us much to work with at all when all is said and done. When we try to get assistance from the state so we can get a head, and move out, we get turned down. We make to much for help and you have to count the "Household" income, which means my Charges money, even though we have no access to it.
Its a catch 22 all the way around. I am just keeping my finger crossed that the truth will win out.
Start looking for another live in job and get out as soon as possible and don't tell anyone you are doing it till you are ready to leave. or just leave and live in the truck with hubby till you get straightened out. You can rent a PO Box where hubby works so your mail follows you. Give whatever notice you agreed to when you took the job and leave. Rent a storage locker if you have too much stuff. But do something and do it fast. if brother knows you will be free from the bankruptcy by the end of the year he may try and blackmail you into staying so his profitable little game can continue. Believe me you are owed far more than $55,000 for your six years work.
Good luck. Worry never got anything done.