Back to zero, How to find a caregiver again? I could go to Care.com and look at the faces and their backgrounds and try to determine if the person would fit with Rick. At first I tried to find someone from Minnesota, or from the Midwest or Northern California because Rick has relatives there. So that they would have something in common with Rick. It didn’t work. Then I tried to find anyone interested in music. I thought that I found a match. It was a girl from Sacramento and she seemed perfect. But unfortunately, the next day she found her dream job and told me that she couldn’t accept the position. The next person we tried was a guy interested in music. He even played the guitar, so I thought that they had so much in common. He came for about 2 weeks when I was home but Rick never accepted him. I tried to explain to Rick that it would be good to have someone else around but he wouldn’t listen. I tried for several weeks. This process went on for a while interviewing different people and it was exhausting. How does one find the perfect person for their loved one? I needed someone that I could trust and train while I am work.
Finally a friend of mine referred a caregiver that also did yoga. Rick used to love yoga. I agreed to meet with her at lunch but she arrived at our place early and it was the same story. She was shown the door. A lot of them were shown the door, and none of them stuck. What I found is that some of them spoke to Rick as if he was a child and he didn’t like that. They would talk down to him. We have to try and put ourselves in our loved ones shoes. Would you like it if someone was saying to you “do you want to go out for a walk hmmm?” Has this happened to you? Was it difficult for you to find help? Who helped you? Was it just your family? Were they patient? Did they know what to do? Where did you find your caregiver? How did you convince your AD loved one to accept being with a stranger? Rschyjer@gmail.com
Nothing worked. Maybe I didn’t know how to pick the right person. Maybe he was too picky. I don’t know but it was back to zero. I called another agency that would send someone who was used to behaviors that go with the disease. Another director came and interviewed us just like the first one. I was hopeless but they sent someone who specialized in dementia; Finally it was going to work! She was ok, a little bit like a robot but she could understand what was going on. The problem was that Rick didn’t want anyone here for more than a couple hours. So I had to pay for 4 hours even though she would only stay 2 because the agency required a minimum of 4 hours. Of these 2 hours 1 hour was just time spent taking notes. It was a bit weird. She wasn’t allowed to use her personal cell phone so she had to call me from my house phone. She would keep extensive notes for example: Renee gave him breakfast, reminded him to take his medication and to go to the bathroom, Rick is ready to go out, Renee showered him, and he is moody today.
Since his care is so important to me, I guess I’m like a helicopter parent or a smother, I would call a lot to ask, did you go for a walk with him? It was hard because I couldn’t stay in close contact with her. So I bought another iPhone for the caregiver. About 3 months after she started to working with us, she went on a 2 week vacation. That was it! Rick forgot about her and when she came back he didn’t like her anymore and we were back to square one. It’s interesting that he didn’t remember her anymore. Have you found this? Why is it so impossible to find a good caregiver?At least someone who will stay?
We must have gone through 10 or 11 people. He would just ask them to leave or throw them out. Once he even pushed someone. Then I went back to Care.com and by chance I had some luck. I found a Brazilian girl: Faby. Rick loves Brazil, Brazilian music and the accent. She has a lot of tenacity and when he tried to push her out, she simply said “No!” Renee told me that I should be here. so when he’s crabby, she lets him have his space and after a while, he comes out of the other room looking for her and he’s happy again. She figured that out herself. She is not the perfect caregiver but she fit perfectly and didn’t give up and she cares so much that she was just what we needed.
I always have my sisters and they are a HUGE support for me. I depend on them so much and I don’t know what I would do without them. I am very lucky to have such amazing sisters! I’m grateful for Faby because like my sisters, she is in this with me. She experiences the same things with me, she tells me every day how the day was. She takes pictures of Rick and keeps me informed of everything, even what he’s eating and how much water he drank. I feel that I have someone who really cares about him and it helps me relax. Before her, I felt kind of alone in this battle with the MOST EVIL DEMON ALZHEIMER’S. I love Faby and I am thankful for her. She is incredibly caring, loving, kind, completely supportive and smart! She figures things out without me telling her, she just follows her instincts and they are good.
Something funny is whatever she tries turns out to be the right thing to do. I know that she does research because she’s always saying “that food causes inflammation!” “He must exercise a lot!” She’s right! Can you imagine the type of conversations we have sometimes? Did he poop? Did he wipe himself? One time we were laughing so hard in the middle of this restaurant talking about poop, pee, and all that stuff and I felt like I had a 1 year old child at home. I don’t have any kids but I have a big kid now.
As an added bonus, she’s from Brazil! Rick had studied Brazil and we have listened to a lot of Bossa Nova and Samba music. We even have a map of Brazil on the wall in our office. We love her accent. She reminds me of the puma from Nick Park’s “Creature Comforts.” You should see it. Go to YouTube and type in Creature Comforts by Nick Park. Search for the puma. It is so cute! As he says “I need to live in a hot country! I need space! I need to see the sun every day and enjoy the warm weather and not stay in a box.” I am lucky to have her. We are a good team. We are opposites in so many ways but it turns out to be perfect because we complete each other. Faby has been with me for over a year now and I hope that we can keep this symbiotic relationship going. The three of us are happy together.