Monday Memories With My Mom

A Daughter's Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     As you may recall from last week's post, all was relatively quiet with regard to my mom, and I appreciate all of you who have been celebrating this calm with me.
     I visited with her for about an hour and a half last Wednesday.  It happened to be while Sheri was there.  I was stocking my mom up on miscellaneous supplies and a couple new shirts and a pair of pants.  I like that she is there to see what I am bringing in and then she also knows where things are.  I also think it's important that I occasionally spend time with her, give her some insights into my mom's life and her care and needs, and also just generally see how their relationship is going.  At this point, though, Sheri gets it.  She has spent virtually 7 days a week, 3 plus hours per day with her for about three months now. When you do that, you pretty much start to get the full picture.  She also said my mom was "crabby" today.  She did not want to go to exercise class.  When I asked her, she still did not want to go (sometimes she says yes to me).  I think when she's like that she is tired -- or sometimes just crabby!!
     Fast forward to when I left from my visit...and at that point I was just trying to remain calm and breathe....  
     Through my phone conversations with Sheri and occasional visits I have learned a bit about her.  I always ask her how she is doing, not just my mom.  I learned she recently moved into another apartment.  She was located within walking distance of my mom's senior apartments.  Now, she has moved to a location fairly close to where I live.  Probably a good 30 minute drive to my mom's during rush hour traffic.  I know she lives alone.  I also know she has a daughter and a grandson who is 3 years old.  I believe her father lives in Georgia.  When I have thanked her for taking care of my mom she has said, "I just take care of her the way I would want someone to take care of my mom". 
     I asked her if she has heard anything from anyone about possibly getting more hours (to work) either with my mom or from her employer.  She said no.  Then she said, I don't want to leave Mary, but I have an interview tomorrow.  She said it was for more money.  She also said they don't pay "nothing" here.  She told me the hourly wage of the job she is interviewing for.   I am guessing she currently makes a bit more than minimum wage.  I told her I would hate to lose her.  Yet, I understand she has to support herself and if you do the math 3.5 hours per day seven days a week at her hourly wage is not enough to easily live on.
     I immediately started calculating in my head how much it would take to supplement her current wage and realized even with an extra $10-$20 per day I would go broke quickly.  Or, my kids would not go to college.  This frustrates me to no end.  Why are caregivers, nurses, teachers, child care workers some of our lowest paid people???  They perform such significant and critical services.
        It also appears that the other staff does not treat Sheri very well.  I am assuming it is because they know she was brought in to do a job that they were not fulfilling.  They do not share information with her about my mom or much of anything else.  Ugh!! 
       As soon as I got home I put a call in to my Area Agency on Aging case manager.  The one who works on site at my mom's apartment complex.  I wanted to tell her that I am afraid of losing my mom's private aide and that I don't understand why the facility can't give her more hours or pay.  Clearly, she has proven she is reliable and does a good job.  I would hope that after she cares for my mom she could go out on the floor and provide some of the tasks that the other Med Team workers perform.  I am quite confident that she is at least as capable if not more so.  I realize it may not be that simple, but really it seems like common sense to me.  They've worked this hard to find someone for me and then they're just going to let her slip away?  She returned my call and after speaking at length about it, I learned it is more complicated than that.  However, she told me first to confirm with Sheri that she would be interested in working for my mom at night and then she would see what she could do.    
The Newsletter From Her Cousin -- She Loves to Read/Look at the Pictures

Some Surprise Mail From My Friend - Much Appreciated

Chillin' With Mom and Sheri
(Please Don't Go...)

Things Are So Orderly...

and Calm When She is Here...

So We Watched "Channel 4" and I Tried to Remain Calm...

     Next up, I will be calling Sheri.  I have to admit, though, that I realize if she works mornings and nights for my mom seven days a week -- she will burn out really fast.  It's not for the faint hearted and requires so much patience...  But I will ask and report back.  At the same time, I know Sheri deserves more and needs to worry about herself first.  Obviously, I am fearful of going backwards to inferior care for my mom. 
    The whole thing is upsetting to me, yet I have a feeling this is how it's gonna go.  Lots of turnover in these jobs. 



Kim said...

Oh Cindy, this is so sad. I hope something will work out that will enable your Mom to keep her aide. My first thought was that there must be another resident in the facility that could use her assistance also, for another few hours a day.
My heart aches for you and I will pray that is solution is found that helps all of you. This system for the care of the aging in both our countries needs a major over-haul.

yaya said...

When I see how much movie stars, sports figures, and other almost "non essential" careers pay it makes me sick. I don't know if the wage for health care workers will ever go up as much as the work load does. I sure hope a solution is found and your Mom can continue to have good care. Working in health care, I totally get it and feel your frustration. Good luck to you and Sherri.

Julia said...

The system is not working right. A good employee who has integrity is hard to find and like you said, the turnover is great in those types of job. This poor lady could use a break. Some people have a hard life.

This must be really hard for her, for you and your mom too. Your mom will be lost without her. I really feel bad about all this.

Again, you are leaving no stones unturned and I hope that something can be worked out for your mom.

I appreciate that you are giving us a window on how life is with an Alzheimer parent, this too can't be easy for you.
Hugs and prayers.