Issues with In-Home Care

It was almost exactly two years ago that I first engaged sitters for Kate. Except for a handful of exceptions, the schedule has remained the same – four hours a day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. We’ve been fortunate to have few changes among the sitters themselves. One of them has been with us the entire time except for the first week or two. That has been especially helpful since, until recently, she came two afternoons a week. We’ve had three or four sitters for Monday, but two of them were with us less than a month. I believe the continuity has been beneficial for Kate.

The past few months have been different. We lost our Monday sitter the first of June. Fortunately, the person who replaced her was a woman who had been with us forty weeks during our first year and quit to take care of her own health issues. I was glad to have her back.

Then our Wednesday/Friday sitter gave up her Wednesdays. She has been in great demand by the agency. That has been especially true during the pandemic. She was moving into a new house with her mother. She needed a break, and I understood. It turned out the Monday sitter was able to take the Wednesday slot. That has worked well.

After that, I had my own mini-crisis with respect to my blood pressure that was no doubt related to the increasing stress of caring for Kate. That led me to make a few changes. One of those was to add a sitter for Thursday. At first, it looked like that might be a problem. When I talked with the agency, I learned that they have been impacted by the pandemic. They don’t have as many people who are willing to accept assignments, and it is more difficult to recruit new ones. As it turned out, they were to arrange for our Monday/Wednesday sitter to add Thursday as well.

Over the weekend, the agency called to say that she had injured her back and would not be able to come on Monday. They called back that morning and told me they could not locate anyone else who could. Unfortunately, that was my day for Rotary, so I missed that.

It was also a day when I had a 2:00 appointment with my ophthalmologist. That meant I would have to take Kate or find someone else to stay with her. At first, I thought I might take her with me. I have done that on other occasions; however, she is bothered by wearing a mask. It is a challenge for me to get her to wear one from our car to a restaurant. Knowing that we might be there over an hour, I preferred to leave her home.

That prompted me to call someone we had met through our music nights at Casa Bella. Last fall, she started a business providing services to seniors. I know someone who uses her as a driver, but she does a wide variety of other things. I put in a call to her. She was available and came to my rescue.

I know that Kate didn’t remember her, but she must have seemed familiar. We sat together many times over the past five years. At any rate, they got along well, and Kate didn’t object when I left. She was resting when I got home two hours later, but according to my friend, things had gone well. I am glad I called her. She is an appealing person in whom I have confidence. If I encounter another situation like this, I won’t hesitate to call her.

The question now is “Will the sitter who injured her back be able to return soon?” I have no idea nor does the agency. Yesterday afternoon, I received another call from the agency saying they had been unable to locate anyone for today or tomorrow and are working on a replacement for next Monday. In the meantime, I placed a call to my friend who is available if the agency is unsuccessful. I have a dental appointment a week from today and told the agency about it. I plan to call my friend today to see if she could be a backup for that day as well.

Suddenly, my rather stable in-home care arrangement is no longer stable.

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