In-Home Care

Yesterday someone I follow on Twitter reported a success he has had with a sitter for his wife who had told him, “She’s just like my sister.” I wish I could say the same about Kate and her two sitters. Her relationship with them seems to fall far short of that. It has been one year and five months since I engaged an agency to provide sitters four hours each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. On the whole, it has gone better than I imagined, but there have been times when she wanted me to stay with her. That made it difficult for me to walk away. It was very much the way a parent feels when leaving a child at home, school, or a child care center.

Recently, we have had more success, and it involves both of our sitters. We have had to replace three of the Monday sitters. That wasn’t because of any dissatisfaction. Each of them has involved health issues of the sitter or her family. The one we have now has been with us three times. Kate was asleep the whole time she was here on her first visit. Kate has received her warmly the past two times she has been here. The two of them seem to be getting along all right. The first visit they spent the whole four hours watching YouTube videos of musical performances. The last time they watched Fiddler on the Roof. I am optimistic that will continue to go well.

We have been fortunate that the Wednesday and Friday sitter is the same one who started with us. I wouldn’t say that Kate thinks of her like a sister, but she is comfortable with her. Yesterday was a good example. When Mary arrived, Kate had just started looking at her “Big Sister” album. I suggested that she move to the sofa so that she and Mary could go through it together. Kate was happy to do that. When I told Kate goodbye, she didn’t express any disappointment. Her attention was focused on her album. I felt good when I left.

When I got home, they were both in the family room. Mary was watching TV, and Kate was resting in a chair. Mary told me they had spent some time with the album and then they had gone to Panera for a while before coming back to the house. I had left the TV in our bedroom set on YouTube in case they wanted to watch videos, but they hadn’t done so. I was happy that they had amused themselves without my having to structure too much of their activity. They seem to have gotten along well. Kate didn’t say anything that would have made me feel otherwise. I haven’t ask Kate how things went with the sitter in a long time. She never remembers, but I am encouraged that she doesn’t show any signs of bad feelings about Mary. More importantly, when I see them together as they were when I left, I can tell that Kate is quite comfortable with her.

I am still wondering when I might add extra help. Financially, there is no obstacle. We have already met our 90-day out-of-pocket costs for our long-term care insurance. The company will pay the total costs up to fifteen hours a day, but I don’t currently feel the need to have more time away. More importantly, I want to spend as much time as I can with Kate as long as we are able to enjoy doing things together.

I should add that I do sense the effects of the increasing responsibility of Kate’s care. I am discovering things I have left neglected or totally forgotten. One of the things I wonder is whether the greatest help would be overnight or during the day. I am getting up at night with her more than in the past, and I don’t always get right back to sleep. I could easily see that having someone here overnight could be of benefit. That would probably mean our moving to separate bedrooms. I’m a long way from being ready for that, but I know that time will come. I’m not going to worry about it now. In the meantime, I’ll continue with the status quo. I’m happy with it.