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Hi, I am new to this site, as of today. I am a in home caregiver to the elderly. I have been doing this since my father's death in 2001.  I am exhausted, You give so much of yourself, and sometimes it seems a thankless job. I have taken care of many people, men and woman, but this time, I have a man, he is 78 and there is absolutely no pleasing this man. I am an easy going person, calm, very quiet and take care of his every need. I hate to go into the store with him, he embarrasses me with his rudeness, he is brutal. He is constantly belittling me,

about my size, he doesn't care for anyone over the size 6.  I was hired as a caregiver, but I am the cook, laundress, housekeeper, I do the ironing, the garbage, the yard care, I don't know what to do. I need this job, but I am tired, so tired, and I feel like just for once, I would love someone to take care of me, if only for a day.. I don't know what to do. I cannot keep being treated this way, he is sharp , and has his mind, no one puts anything over on him, he is just old, and has a bad back, and knee's.

PLease anyone can you give me some help. I am ready to give up all together.

Thankyou for reading, and thanks for letting me join your site.

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Hello Kathryn:

 

Welcome! I am sorry about the loss of your father...

 

It sounds like you are close to being burnt out dear heart. Try not to do so much - the yard work should be hired out - that is ridiculous!

 

There is no way you should put up with belittling. Take a moment and fix a cup of hot chocolate or tea and think about it. The next time you hear a comment that is belittling, tell him that he needs to learn to respect others and such comments are not acceptable. Be polite but firm. Walk away if you have to. Make it your mantra... Putting this is words will empower you.

 

Crotchety old men can be a real challenge. However, behind that facade, there is probably an old man afraid of losing his independence. And they take it out on those who are closest...

 

Meanwhile, just know we are here for you. 

 

Hugs, Glenda

Hi, Kathryn.

 

Welcome.  You have found a safe place to vent.  I'm sorry you are in this difficult situation. 

 

If I can ask... you are a paid caregiver... who pays you?  Do you work through an agency, or are you working directly for the client and/or his family?  It seems that someone is taking advantage of your presence in the house to do more than your "job description."  Is there a contract that spells out your duties?  I suspect there are two levels to the problem, one with the personality of the person receiving care, and another with the party who signs your paycheck and is your employer.  The scope of your job should be addressed with your employer.  While you're at it, talk to them about a vacation schedule. 

 

As to unpleasant behavior from an elderly patient, Glenda (as usual) gives good advice.  Does he have dementia or other health issues that are contributing to this?  Again, talk to your employer and let them know there's a problem, even if you have to keep an incident log to document what's going on.  Just be careful to keep it professional.  A journal to express your personal feelings should be a separate thing, just for you.

 

In the meantime, hang it there and know we are in your corner.

Hugs,

Barb

Hello Kathryn...

 

Welcome... you have found a safe place to vent.. both Barb and Glenda have covered the choices you have... they are excellent...

 

The only other observation is that you are not responsible for another's actions.. I can understand your being embarrassed but as long as you continue to be mindful and loving to those your client is abusive too they will she it isn't your problem... also sending love to your client.. he must be suffering so emotionally...

 

writing in a journal on a daily basis helps you to release your own upset... it is carthartic and gives you the opportunity to start each day anew...

 

please keep us posted...

 

richest blessings in all you are doing.

 

gail

Originally Posted by glenderella:

Hello Kathryn:

 

Welcome! I am sorry about the loss of your father...

 

It sounds like you are close to being burnt out dear heart. Try not to do so much - the yard work should be hired out - that is ridiculous!

 

There is no way you should put up with belittling. Take a moment and fix a cup of hot chocolate or tea and think about it. The next time you hear a comment that is belittling, tell him that he needs to learn to respect others and such comments are not acceptable. Be polite but firm. Walk away if you have to. Make it your mantra... Putting this is words will empower you.

 

Crotchety old men can be a real challenge. However, behind that facade, there is probably an old man afraid of losing his independence. And they take it out on those who are closest...

 

Meanwhile, just know we are here for you. 

 

Hugs, Glenda

Hello and thankyou. I think you are right. I am very near to burnt out. It has been a very hard 3 years for me. The last man I cared for and his family which was very large, took his own life on a day I was alone at home with him, which was as usual. He was depressed when I got there, but far beyond what I was told. It was so very bad for me. I found him, the family was relieved as he had many many issues, but he was very good to me, and I liked him very much. I could relate to him. We both suffered from anxiety disorder, and he had lost an eye, and was very depressed, the family was upset with him as he could not provide as he used to, which was oppulent. I went from that family to another, which was sad also.

However, I was hired here by the man I care for, I took care of his wife 5 years ago when she was ill with Alsheimer's. She passed and I moved on, but now Don, is so hard to handle. I understand completely he is scared, ill, and worried. He is a strong, large polish man, who is very rude, and has no consideration for other's or their feelings. I knew this when I cared fro his wife, however, I though twice about coming out here to work for him, I knew what he was like, but he has gotten worse, and I get no vacation time, no sick days, nothing but 200 dollars a week and a room. I do everything for this man. I am just so tired myself, and I have problems of my own to deal with. I am scared for my own sanity.

I try very hard to please him. NO fast food, all home made, nothing forhim to do but visit his friends, watch tv, and so on. I do it all. He has had me paint , clean the yard, wash out the garage, I could go on and on, I am not in the best place in my life right now, and I am afraid to rock the boat, so I stay and do what he asks. I want to thankyou for your kind words, and let you know it means so much to me. I really don't have anyone else to talk with.

Thankyou and God Bless you.

Originally Posted by bamagirl:

Hi, Kathryn.

 

Welcome.  You have found a safe place to vent.  I'm sorry you are in this difficult situation. 

 

If I can ask... you are a paid caregiver... who pays you?  Do you work through an agency, or are you working directly for the client and/or his family?  It seems that someone is taking advantage of your presence in the house to do more than your "job description."  Is there a contract that spells out your duties?  I suspect there are two levels to the problem, one with the personality of the person receiving care, and another with the party who signs your paycheck and is your employer.  The scope of your job should be addressed with your employer.  While you're at it, talk to them about a vacation schedule. 

 

As to unpleasant behavior from an elderly patient, Glenda (as usual) gives good advice.  Does he have dementia or other health issues that are contributing to this?  Again, talk to your employer and let them know there's a problem, even if you have to keep an incident log to document what's going on.  Just be careful to keep it professional.  A journal to express your personal feelings should be a separate thing, just for you.

 

In the meantime, hang it there and know we are in your corner.

Hugs,

Barb

Hello, I work for Don himself, He pays me, 200 dollars a week, and a room. He does not have dementia, he just has trouble with balance, and a bad back, He is a big man, very stuck in his ways and very RIGHT ALL THE TIME... I try to talk to him but that just makes him angrier. He belittles me, and yesterday I said I don't like when you do that and started crying, I cannot help it, I am so worn out.  HE just says I have a problem, He won't admit to anything, and yet we live in a gated community, all 55 and older, and most people I run into here, which is not very often, tell me they don't know how I do it. 
I let it pass, but I am so tired, and, Afraid to say anything most times.  HE has a quick and mean temper. I get one day a week to myself and that is Sunday, and even that upsets him.

I get no vacation, sick days, holidays, nothing. Just work.

Katie

Hello Katie:

 

It is hard to stand up for yourself when you are exhausted...

 

It is even more difficult when a job is so important as they are in these economic times. However, journaling is a good thing and it might also be helpful to map out future plans. If, perchance, you see yourself there for the long run then adopting coping mechanisms are most necessary. It may be good to meditate daily to help cope with everyday issues. Deep breathing helps - and also helps with anxiety.

 

If, in your plan, this is only a temporary situation, then that helps to ease the daily challenges because you are actively seeking other opportunities. Either way, you need to take time for yourself and take care.

 

I find it difficult to see where he is not taking advantage of you...  Hopefully you can find another opportunity in the same community with someone who appreciates having help! Hang in there dear heart and try to keep your spirits up. Make sure you take care of yourself - we are here for you!!!

 

Hugs, Glenda

Originally Posted by glenderella:

Hello Katie:

 

It is hard to stand up for yourself when you are exhausted...

 

It is even more difficult when a job is so important as they are in these economic times. However, journaling is a good thing and it might also be helpful to map out future plans. If, perchance, you see yourself there for the long run then adopting coping mechanisms are most necessary. It may be good to meditate daily to help cope with everyday issues. Deep breathing helps - and also helps with anxiety.

 

If, in your plan, this is only a temporary situation, then that helps to ease the daily challenges because you are actively seeking other opportunities. Either way, you need to take time for yourself and take care.

 

I find it difficult to see where he is not taking advantage of you...  Hopefully you can find another opportunity in the same community with someone who appreciates having help! Hang in there dear heart and try to keep your spirits up. Make sure you take care of yourself - we are here for you!!!

 

Hugs, Glenda


Hello,

Thankyou so much for your kind words, and helping me to get through this. I do have Generalized Anxiety disorder, and depression I have been dealing with for the past 7 years now, so this job is harder for me. I take my meds, and I try to think positive. I have journeled for about 6 years now since the anxiety got so bad.  I am trying to learn to meditate, I just can't learn. I have bought so many books, and I am reading about chakra's and gem stones, and buddism. I need some type of help. I am alone in this. I enjoy caring for the elderly, I truly do, but I think I am getting near to giving up.

I am trying however. I hope in improves it has too. GOD give me strength. THankyou so much. 
THANKYOU GLENDA

Hi, Katie

 

Thanks for the additional info.  Hmmm.  Forgive me again if I'm pointing out something you already know.  $200/wk works out to $5/hr for a 40/hr/wk job.  That's below minimum wage, and I suspect you are in more of a 24/6.5 situation.  From your posts I sense that you feel as much a family friend as employee and if you are living in you have some additional benefits as (presumably private) housing and food.  From this I also get that you are a very strong and loving person.  You have a personal worth beyond an hourly wage.

 

I belong to another forum for independent computer consultants.  If I were addressing someone on that place, there would have already been a chorus of replies that it's time to start looking for something else, and I would agree.  I also know it's hard to do a job search when you are worn out, depressed, or coming from a place of abuse that has weakened your self-esteem. 

 

So be gentle with yourself and do what you can.  The affirmations and quotes here are good for getting you in the right mindset.  I personally like the Serenity Prayer, it has really helped me get through tough times.  As Gail says, use your journal to help organize your thoughts.  Do you have access to a video player?  Look around for meditation and yoga videos and/or exercise videos.  Having a physical outlet besides yard work will help you de-stress.

 

I'm sending prayers, positive energy and cyberhugs your way.

(more) Hugs,

Barb

Originally Posted by bamagirl:

Hi, Katie

 

Thanks for the additional info.  Hmmm.  Forgive me again if I'm pointing out something you already know.  $200/wk works out to $5/hr for a 40/hr/wk job.  That's below minimum wage, and I suspect you are in more of a 24/6.5 situation.  From your posts I sense that you feel as much a family friend as employee and if you are living in you have some additional benefits as (presumably private) housing and food.  From this I also get that you are a very strong and loving person.  You have a personal worth beyond an hourly wage.

 

I belong to another forum for independent computer consultants.  If I were addressing someone on that place, there would have already been a chorus of replies that it's time to start looking for something else, and I would agree.  I also know it's hard to do a job search when you are worn out, depressed, or coming from a place of abuse that has weakened your self-esteem. 

 

So be gentle with yourself and do what you can.  The affirmations and quotes here are good for getting you in the right mindset.  I personally like the Serenity Prayer, it has really helped me get through tough times.  As Gail says, use your journal to help organize your thoughts.  Do you have access to a video player?  Look around for meditation and yoga videos and/or exercise videos.  Having a physical outlet besides yard work will help you de-stress.

 

I'm sending prayers, positive energy and cyberhugs your way.

(more) Hugs,

Barb


Hello Barb,

First I want to thankyou, for your thoughts and helpful words. It means a lot to me, it really does. To know that someone understands helps a lot.  I know it is very cheap pay, but he tells me I have a home to live in and food. He is right about that, but I work from 7 am to almost 8 or 9, before I can get up the nerve to say I am going to bed.

He sleeps most of the day in his chair, except when I am feeding breakfast, lunch and dinner. I make what he likes, I make snacks for him, and things he enjoys. I try , I really do, I don't want to come off as a martyr, but I don't know what else to do. The pay is awful, and I do have a room, and meals, but I only eat once a day as he counts everything, and notices the smallest thing. I try to buy things that will keep and put in my room, but on what I make, by the time I pay my bills, there isn't a lot left.

I like Don, I just wish he would be fair, and not so mean. HE is constantly telling me I am to big, and that woman should learn to take care of themselves. I am not that big, I am a size 16, and loosing.  He makes me feel awful, and I have had enough of that in my life.

He is wearing me down, and my meds, are not working as well as they should. I think it is just my environment.  I try.. I really do. I just feel like giving up.

HE goes out with friends to dinner, almost every weekend, parties, lunches, dances, and I am in this house 24 /7.  I don't even know why I am going on about it.

I am just worried if I don't continue to work the way I do, he will ask me to leave and then I will be out on the street. So, I guess this is my problem. I am looking for other work, and I have ads out there, but times are tough and people are competing for these types of jobs.

SO, I will continue to look. I read when I can, about positive thinking, I am trying to learn to meditate, but I can't seem to concentrate for long enough. I would love to learn, I know it would help. I send lite and love to everyone I care about, I just hope they will do the same for me. THankyou again, so very much. Your email really does help me. Your very kind.

Please do take care, Katie

Hello Kathryn, I haven't read all of the posts and so excuse me if I am repeating what others may have advised. is there any reason you cannot apply to a caregiving agency for work? The reason I ask (I am employed by an agency), is because at least you have people to turn to in situations like this. The agency would not accept a caregiver being abused and by the way, nor should you! I understand you are in a live in situation. You might want to rethink that. It is not worth your health and well being going down the tubes. There are alternatives and you may even get health insurance and some other benefits signing on to an agncy. Best of luck!

Hi:  so I too am somewhat new to this site, and indeed this page.  My story has been told once so i won't go into details of my history/experience.  What I will tell you is this:

I was one of two family members who worked diligently to take care of my sister who was seriously angry at the world when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and when it mastisized (sp?), she was beyond "rage" at times.  I at times found myself accepting that it was ok to accept less than respectful and dignified treatment because she wasn't well.  Then one day, my husband in his quiet and insightful way told me that being ill was no excuse for bad behaviour.  He was right!

So...with that tucked under my belt, I remember telling my sister that I got she was really really angry...and so was I angry.  But it wasn't my fault...and invited her to get angry at the disease as opposed to angry at me! 

I don't know if this will be of any help to you.  I just thought perhaps you could maybe borrow a concept or at least a solidarity from it.  I believe it takes a special kind of person to care for the elderly, terminally ill, stroke victims (at times).  In retrospect, she was grieving what she had already lost, and how much more was certain to be taken from her.  I was safe...and my love unconditional.  (I'd give my right arm to have her here to rip into me again!)

I hope my sharing lends some support and maybe gives you some level of validation.  I salute you!  You are indeed a very special person to put yourself in the line of fire....and only ever ask for a word of understanding and compassion and respect!

 

Shirley

 

Hello,

First I want to thankyou for your reply. It really made sense to me and made me feel a bit better. Things here have not improved. He is still the same, he is not desperately ill, just slow in moving and diabetic. He is just angry at the world that he is old. He takes this out on me. I have been here almost a year, and I am at the end of my own rope here. He knows how hard I work. What kind of man, has a woman, scrape on her knee's for 3 days on the cement his patio,,, and then paint the entire thing. I am supposed to be a caregiver, not a handy man. He is very good at belittling me, and calling me the woman who works for him, never uses my name. All this has gotten to be too much for me, and I am literally waking up in the middle of the night, when I can sleep , crying. This has never happened to me before and it is very hard on me.

I try so hard to care for him. I do everything from the meal planning, and cooking, total house cleaning, yard work, painting, laundry, ironing, its all so much. I have lost all confidence in myself, as I allow this to happen. The depression is worse, and I just feel like my life is over.

K

Hello Katie:

 

My prayers are with you that you may find the strength to love yourself in spite of the bad behaviors and actions of others. You are a good person! Reach down deep within you K and find the strength that you do have inside – do not allow yourself to become easily defeated...

 

It can be hard to stop those inner voices that are constantly berating oneself (I have them too!) but you must! Replace those negative words with positive thoughts about yourself. Reaffirm your good qualities such as kindness, caring, intelligence, dependability, humor etc. whenever you find that you are beating yourself up. You do have many wonderful traits Katie – you know you do! Remind yourself of those whenever possible. I have used humor a lot in difficult situations and try to laugh things off myself. However, your situation sounds really abusive to me and not humorous at all.

 

I think you need to reach out to get some help. I assume your agreement with Don is verbal but I think there are still protections in place for verbal agreements if they are reinforced by actions. Of course I am not an attorney but perhaps you should start there. Make an appointment for a free consultation and get some advice on how to handle this extremely difficult position. You will feel much better and more empowered if you can get some directions towards identifying and re-establishing boundaries.

 

Perhaps Katie, by moving forward and standing up for yourself, you can become an example and advocate for others in the same position. It is like nobody really “gets” the abuse and oftentimes disrespect that many care-givers endure... God bless you!

 

Hugs, Glenda

Hello Kathryn, It sure sounds like you are in a rut! I understand your loyalty because I use to have the same problem. The thing I have learned over time though is that you always need to be loyal to yourself first.

 

I've been in situations where I felt less than appreciated OR respected and because of money issues felt stuck. But there are ways around these things. You do sound burned out as was mentioned here.

 

I am thrilled because there is a new program starting in my state and I have been signed on as a "Peer mentor" and will be helping new caregivers in how to care for themselves!! Is this long over do or what!? I am ecstatic because as much as I get that the client is the important one in the scheme of things...the caregiver is somehow always left out!

 

 Yet without the caregiver...what have you got? I hope this program spreads like wildfire so that caregivers can feel like someone cares about THEM too. I like to take an occasional "boundary" class as a reminder. It really does help to know and put in place boundaries. You can use all the support you can get and maybe check in to some classes for support.... Hope you are doing well.

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