An Update on In-Home Care

Five weeks ago I reported that the stability of my three-year arrangement of sitters for Kate had suddenly come to an end. I lost the person who came on Monday, and the person who came on Wednesday and Friday had some changes in her life and dropped Wednesday.

On top of that COVID-19 has made it hard for the agency to find replacements. That led me to contact someone we had met at our music nights at Casa Bella. She started a business providing services for seniors about a year ago. I gave her a call, and she came to my rescue on a day when I had an ophthalmologist’s appointment.

Wouldn’t you know it was also a day when Kate didn’t want to get up. As it approached time for the sitter’s arrival, I gave up and decided to let her sleep/rest. This was a time I hoped she would sleep be in bed until I returned. Our friend isn’t really in the business of providing personal care, and I didn’t want to put her in the position of getting Kate to the bathroom and dressing her. Since I knew that Kate would not remember her, I was also concerned about her waking up and not knowing who this person was.

As it turned out, Kate wanted to get up before I came home. I never got the story from our friend, but she had taken care of everything. They were chatting happily when I arrived. I regretted that both of them had been put in this spot, but they seemed to have gotten along fine. Since then, I have used the friend on two or three other occasions. It is especially nice that she does not require a minimum time. Twice she has been here an hour and a half. The agency has a four-hour minimum.

Next, the Monday/Wednesday sitter had to leave her position as a result of a back injury; however, we had a stroke of good fortune. One of the agency’s regulars had an opening for those days. Coincidentally, I discovered that I know her husband. He is an ex-banker turned farmer. For several years, he has dropped by our office in a truck loaded with fresh produce. I have also encountered him at the American Red Cross. He is one of, if not, the leading donor in our area. He is nearing his 1000th donation of blood or platelets.

The best news is that she is the best sitter we have had since I first brought in help three years ago. Having said that, I did run into one issue that seems to have been resolved. I thought she was great because she took more initiative to engage Kate in conversation and other activities. The only problem was that she seemed to move too quickly for Kate. Each of the first two times she was here, it appeared they had gotten along fine. When the sitter left, however, Kate’s eyes rolled. One of those times, she said, “What’s going on here?” On another visit, the sitter brought her iPad to play some children’s audiobooks for Kate. I suspected that was going to be overwhelming, and it was.

When I returned from another visit, Kate was asleep on the sofa. That gave me an opportunity to talk with the sitter. I told her I was very pleased that she was now our regular Monday/Wednesday sitter. Then I asked if she had heard of The Horse Whisperer? She hadn’t, and I went on to explain his approach to breaking horses by very gradually gaining their trust. She confessed that she was a little hyper but would try to approach Kate more gently to establish her relationship.

She has been back twice since then, and the visits have gone very well. Kate had rested a short time during her last visit. The rest of the time they had looked at photo books and read stories. I took it as a good sign that Kate didn’t express any concern when I left, nor did she seem to be relieved when I returned home.

I am optimistic about the future with her. Her hyper nature has a positive side. She has taken more initiative to help me with the laundry, replace bed sheets, and looks for other things to lighten my load. She also has a touch of OCD. I notice that in the way she folds clothes and makes up the bed. If she can stick with us, our in-home care will be the best ever.

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