I am single and it’s just me, my father and my mother in the house. When my mother developed dementia six years ago, my father initially relied on a housemaid who had been with our family for decades, to care for her. When my mother became difficult to manage for the aging maid, my father hired round-the-clock carers from a professional care-giving agency three years ago—12 hours in the morning and 12 hours at night.
An old friend of my father’s asked him why he has to spend so much when there are freelance carers who do the same work and at rates lower than an agency. I was on a study grant abroad when my father agreed to his friend’s suggestion. When I came back after six months, I saw the recommended freelance carer. She had moved into our house and had taken over the cooking, cleaning, buying groceries—virtually becoming the boss in our house. It looked obvious that in a short time, my father had become very dependent on her. I put my foot down when I found out that she had been given permission to withdraw cash and keep my father’s ATM card, and drive him around instead of the old driver.
I travel often while my siblings have their own families thus keeping our parents on their own. I am now worried at how much this caretaker has taken over the lives of my old parents and wondering if we should revert to my mother’s more reputable carers from the agency. With the vulnerable state of my father’s mind and health, and with so many horror stories about bosses and personal assistants getting involved emotionally, I don’t want him having any ideas about this carer that may not be good for him.
—WORRIED AND CONCERNED
If money is no object in your family, your worries and concerns can all be averted. In this time and age of schemers and stories of that kind abound, better rid your lives of these unnecessary eventualities. Better to get back the carers from the agencies you’ve hired before. They can come and go with nary a thought of emotional upheaval on your end. And if they develop creative designs on their wards, you can easily ask for replacements in a snap. No song and dance about it. No hand-wringing getting in the way about their presence in your house.
Guide your father slowly out of the menace that could be in the offing and from the clutches of this supposed carer. Take a sabbatical to prune your staff without hurry, if you want it done correctly and efficiently. You can never underestimate the creative minds of people you hardly know. This carer may have only goodness in her heart for your elderly and infirm parents. Nevertheless, remember the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Don’t allow your parents to be the poster ad for the old dictum.