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Some of you have caregivers who are spouses, family, friends, and if they’re good spouses, family, friends, they’d offer the world to see you thrive. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about hired caregivers who only work for you to make caregiving into a living, caregivers who only work to meet the mortgage or the rent or some other bills that need to get paid. 

Let’s look at this logically. Caregiving is one of the few professions where you can–poof!–just become one, training be damned. For the decent ones, I’ve had, in the eleven years since my stroke, over thirty caregivers, virtually genuflecting to them all to not have them quit.

I fired five of them. They are the following:

I’ve had a caregiver who was on drugs (I saw labeled cocaine in a plastic baggie, lying among her possessions which she
 brought to work and acted like a schizophrenic with her
 disorganized thinking, delusions, and hallucinations); 


and a caregiver who didn’t ask if she could bring her children,
 and then she did (they were rambunctious twin 6-year-old
 boys who whined about lunch for hours, which I bought for them just to stop moaning); 

and the caregiver who would yell at me in sort of dark,
 comedic fashion and laugh as if she was committing elder abuse (I didn’t think that’s funny); 

and a caregiver who went on eating her strawberry salad
 while we we were out shopping after I fell off the smooth,
 glass-like chair (people around me got up to assist me while
 the caregiver continued picking at her strawberry salad);

and finally, a caregiver who eagerly wanted to work, and
 then, a week later, told me she had diarrhea constantly and
 couldn’t work anymore. (Did the diarrhea just start a week
 ago? I wonder.)

Then in January 2020, eleven years later, I achieved the impossible: a caregiver that was a registered nurse at a prominent hospital who retired from her job and was continuing to look for ways to help people. I hired her and was jubilant until one day a month ago, she said she was offered a full-time job to work with a woman who had Alzheimer’s, and twice the money I was paying her. I encouraged her to take the job because I couldn’t even come close to the family that was offering so much.

She helped me interview new caregivers and I chose two. One was state-certified, meaning she had training on the process of becoming a caregiver, the first for me ever. The other was a seminary student.

“You could always trust a seminary student,” the nurse said.

I just shrugged, thinking about all those priests who did the unthinkable. 

But she, too, turned out fine and she demonstrated to be a good person. They’ve been working since the retired nurse wanted to take the other job. 

So if you don’t like your caregiver, there’s more to be had, if they’re not your spouse, family, friends. Otherwise, you’re sort of stuck between a rock and, well, another rock. 

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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6 thoughts on “Be Honest, Caregiver: Serious Profession or Work-Shy Pastime?

  1. I can imagine how horrible this situation is, and dread the day (stroke or no stroke) when I will have rely on others for my personal care. (assuming God grants me that many more days/years).
    Thank you for your frank posts! The are encouraging!

  2. This is a very serious problem. And if it is as you describe in the US, imagine the situation in much less developed country like India. The caregiver industry is highly disorganised and only now are some efforts towards training etc. emerging. But prices for them will be prohibitive for most. So it is a very difficult challenge.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I help my parents (104 and 97), but they have a caregiver now 24/7. I am grateful this go round that we have one highly trained and one who cares and tries really hard.

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