I took advantage of an opportunity and changed jobs at my place of employment. I’m now working entirely with clients in their homes rather than doing oncall work. It’s been a much scarier move than I had anticipated. Largely because I gave up a guaranteed amount of income and replaced it with an income dependent on the number of client hours I can build. I’ve done remarkably well in the 2 weeks that I’m not doing oncall and have replaced that income all ready, however, now I need to relearn time management, something I haven’t had to do for the past 11 years.

Doing oncall work happens at home, so daily chores aren’t being interfered with since you can accomplish them between calls. Now, since I’m out of the house for a number of regular work hours, I am finding that time I would have spent doing chores is now used up by client care, and time spent online is now used up by chores.  Add to the fact that it’s Fall and the sun sets earlier, outside chores are no longer something that can be done after supper. I’m also not as young as I used to be and after working with clients and doing my own chores, bedtime comes earlier than it used to.

This morning I got up and decided the chores could wait for a bit and I’d try to get a blog post for the Tazzone done. I can do Twitter and Fried Eggs during the breathers I take from chores, however, sitting here creating a blog post takes time. Writing in between chores isn’t working for me since I lose my train of thought and end up with a post that isn’t saying what I wanted it to say to start out with, plus what it finally ends up saying doesn’t please me. It somehow doesn’t work to write when I’m distracted. The distractions here are not necessarily of the shiny kind either.

One of those not necessarily shiny distractions was the realization that being a member of the online community is not as important to me as it was. When I compare what I can accomplish online against what I’m accomplishing with my clients in real life, I am left with a feeling that being able to make a difference in how someone feels is better. Much better. Sometimes I’ve done nothing more than help them take a shower and get dressed in a favorite outfit, or reminded them to take their medications. Other times it’s having someone there to talk to while they eat a meal they might not have enjoyed alone. It might even be nothing more than taking a walk with them in the sunshine for a short distance. A walk that they can’t take on their own. I wash their dishes, vacuum their floors and change their bed linens. I also make sure their refrigerators aren’t full of moldy food that they might accidentally consume because their eyesight is poor and they can’t see the mold.

In the short 2 hours I spend with each client I am engaging their minds with something besides the latest not so good prognosis from their doctor. They aren’t being left alone with the bad news. I’m not too busy to listen to the same story over and over and act as if it’s the first time they’ve told it to me. I’m not judging them because their minds are no longer what they used to be. I don’t make them feel that they’re a burden to me because after a lifetime of caring for others they now need care for themselves.

I’m making a difference in a real way to people who might not be able to live independently if myself or others like me weren’t there. I can’t do that sitting in front of a computer talking about helping someone. I’m also benefiting from the situation in ways that I hadn’t imagined. Rather than spending half an hour exercising and then sitting for hours at the computer, I’m moving more which is healthier for me. I’m making better choices for myself because I’m seeing the reality of what might be ahead of me if I don’t. To top it all off, kind of like the icing on the cake if you will…I’m getting paid for all of this.

By Butterose

Smart assed step-mother of 3, grandmother of 3. Insane enough to have lived with Hubby for 24 years now. What can I say, I liked his kids? We share our lives with family and our cat.

7 thoughts on “Sometimes Change Is Good”
  1. Alan, you don’t live near her, and while I admit any adult child/Mother relationship has it’s problems, the state can’t be totally responsible for paying outside help to assist the parent to remain independent. I have a 90 year old female client who is forced to drive herself to get her own groceries which has caused her to fall at least twice. The last time she hit her head and had a stay in the hospital. The daughter is fortunate enough not to have to work for a living and she’s old enough not to have young children to care for. When she picked her very weak Mother up from the hospital she took her home and left her there…alone.
    Milk was spoiled, bread was moldy and there was nothing she could fix for herself quickly to eat. She got home on Tuesday, my visit day was Thursday, she hadn’t eaten in all that time.

    I reported what I found to our office, and they directed my findings to her County casemanager. A meeting ensued with client, daughter, casemanager and myself. During this meeting, the daughter behaved towards her Mom as if Mom was still 100% capable of doing everything for herself. She even complained about the time when her Mom was sick with pneumonia and needed a prescription the doctor ordered picked up at the pharmacy. After trying to talk to the daughter, the casemanager gave up and while she didn’t authorize more time, she added errands and shopping to the care plan so I could do it. When the daughter asked how the house was going to stay clean if I had to leave to do those tasks, casemanager told her it would be her problem.

    I don’t know of any caregiver, me included, who would have anything to say about adult children neglecting their parent when they live 2000 miles away. Also, since I have a gay cousin who has a strained relationship with her Mom, I fully understand what part of the problem might be. Myself and other aides working for my company have clients who are badly neglected by their offspring simply because they are too involved in their own pursuits. Being influential in Twitter or whatever social media they belong to is more important. They pander to the faceless, the anonymous when they could be spending quality time with someone in real life.

    Last week one of my online friends was dealing with getting her Mom out of the nursing home and back home. She was describing the neglected residents who never see members of their families. She was begging people to volunteer to visit someone, to smile at them, to take the time to give them a hug. She got a whole 2 responses, one of them was mine.

  2. While not discounting your theories, Butterose, I want to point out that relationships between elderly parents and adult children and grand-children can be strained and distant for reasons having Nothing to do with the former’s disabilities nor the latter’s other commitments and interests.

    My mother and I have had a difficult relationship pretty much our entire lives. There have been years-long periods of complete estrangement. For many years Mom complained frequently about the fact that I am not very good about sending birthday, Chirsmas, Mother’s Day etc cards. She disapproved of my first spouse, whom I know loved me with all of his heart and was better for me than anyone else I could have chosen. She was kind to me when Joel died, but when 6 months later I “married” another man who is poor it seemed to push Mom a bit.

    She clearly favors my Insufferable cousin– a big shot sales executive who lives about 200 miles away in a huge expensive home with lots of guest rooms and extra bathrooms. After a very ugly xcene years ago, she is NOT invited to my home. And after cousin Insufferable insulted Ron (my current spouse), Ron refuses to go down there for Christmas. And Mom clearly did not enjoy coming up to Tacoma to spend a couple of days with us last year.

    Now, after all those years of being mad at me for not contacting her more often, she has stopped replying to my e-mails and I wonder if we are to be estranged when she dies. For pushing 80 years old, my Mom is in relatively good health and is able live independently in her home and drive her car. She has what appears to me a full life of friends and family and activities. But if this latest communication breakdown turns into yet another estrangement, I could easily see a time coming as Mom’s health deteriorates and I lead my very Online lifestyle 2000 miles away, a caregiver like you might say what you did. But it really wouldn’t be apt to the very complicated truth of the relationship between my Mom and me

  3. I agree. There’s a lot of band-wagon jumpers who neglect basic needs, then jump on the first ‘ trendy ‘ tragedy that comes along. And it’s all talk, and very little or no action.

    I remember years ago I was out training people to do door-to-door for another charity I came across probably the most honest non-giver you’d ever meet. Every time I took a new crew out I’d knock on her door, and she’d remind me that she wasn’t ever going to give anything, and I’d remind her that I knew that already. 😀
    I think we both saw the humor in it.

    One day she elaborates on why she never gives …basically she explains that she thinks people should help themselves, then admits that if she needed help she would probably be obnoxiously demanding about being helped by those very charities she refuses to give money to.

    I don’t think my little story relates to anything you said specifically, just something that crossed my mind.

  4. Actually my point was kind of that these negligent families are quite good at sitting on their computers or cell phones and spending time trying to save the world. I’ve seen tweets from people complaining that their parents won’t leave them alone, and I’ve read blogs saying the same things. These same people are the first to inform of us the latest place we can donate money for the latest tragedy. They’re great at getting right on the plight of the underpriviledged.

    My friends are all near my age and we remember that our parents gave up their own pursuits to raise us. When my Mom and Dad were alive, they never got my answering machine when they called me and there were days when Mom was nervous that she might call me 4 or 5 times. I ALWAYS took the time to talk to her and stop over at her place as soon as I could.

  5. Seems to me you’re making a greater case against the indifference or ambiguity of selfish ungrateful relatives than the shallowness of online communities.

    I don’t disagree that online communities are shallow, but I think that applies to offline communities as well. I’ve been in the helping people business for decades myself with my involvement with charities…and i know most people are indifferent and complacent…until they need your help, then they suddenly become very vocal and demanding.

    I approach promotion the same way, and for the same reasons, I approach fundraising…if you don’t ask they won’t give…likewise if you don’t tell they won’t come. People, for the most part, will rarely do anything for someone else willingly, you have to encourage participation. Or they will remain indifferent.

    I couldn’t do your job because I’d get fired the first day. I’d be way too sarcastic 😀

    Betty’s children come to visit for the first time in 40 days
    Me ( yelling loud enough for everyone to hear ) saying to the desk clerk ‘ Hey, Susan call the newspapers! Betty’s kids finally decided to visit her! Guess they must want something! ‘


  6. The problem is that dealing with dementia and depression in my clients, and seeing how their families act towards them has made me realize just how shallow the online community really is.

    I have a 90 year old client who lives in this house owned by a grandson. Other than my 2 visits every week and the MOW delivery guy 5 days a week she sees practically no one. Granddaughter comes 1 time a month to bring her prescriptions and her daughter calls but only comes when she wants to borrow something from the house. Sad!

  7. Career changes, or in your case a career shift, is always hard at our age. I’m glad it’s working out for you, you’re doing a great job helping people, and that’s what it’s all about.

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