RSS Feed Print
Home Health Aides and mom accusing them of being the other woman
Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 7:58 PM
Joined: 7/16/2018
Posts: 18

Dear ALZ Connected,


I received good advice on my previous thread about home health aides so I thought I would give the forum another try.

My mom is 87 and is about ALZ stage 5. Some days, most days in fact, she knows where she is and knows who I am and can have a descent conversation, reads her newspaper, does her crossword puzzle, watches TV and is chill -- when *I'm* home and when she *doesn't* have a UTI.

But, I can't be home all the time. I finally started working again after being unemployed for about 20 months after moving back home to take care of mom. Finances are tight but during this time I got to know my mom's illness intimately as I brought her to live with me due to institutional options being terrible where or I live or being outrageously expensive for us (5k+ /month for a private bedroom/private bath).

And of course mom lived independently all her life, was a very alpha, type-A lady and doesn't like women she doesn't know (or like) coming to the house.

So because of this, and other issues, went through 12 home health aides (HHAs) in a period of about 1 year and half.

We are at home health aide 13 (HHA #13).

I thought this lady was alright at first but HHA #13 seems to be in it for the money, more so than the other aides. She fought with me in front of my mom over the hours she was supposed to get, even though I tried to direct her back to the agency whom I had already discussed the case with. She said she could only do an 8 hour day minimum  partly b/c the bus would take 3 hours to drop her off at her house and so her spouse would need to pick her up after work. I like Googled it and the bus ride would be 30 min. She recommended I take mom to a doctor she knows, even though I explained to her she has a primary doctor and already has a neurologist. She seems to be always giving us her resume as in "I took care of an elderly lady for 4 years", "I'm a licensed masseuse", "I have such and such certification". 

Case in point, the lady is becoming really obnoxious.

The latest thing HHA #13 has done is told me that my mom will, on some days, accuse her of being the other woman. Mom will confuse me for her husband, and will either try to throw out the aide or take the anger out on her. Me not being there seems to trigger this and this isn't the first time mom has had this reaction with the aide or with other aides. All the aides have been female and when I asked mom if she would like a male aide she said she would not stay in the house with another man being there. So that's why we've had all female aides. In the past I have come home and set things straight, been firm with my mom, telling her in no uncertain terms I am her son not her husband, etc., to not to throw out the aide, and have calmed things down.

But I have a inkling this aide won't stay unless I drug up my mom which is something I don't want to do. I would believe drugs would be the answer if my mom was crazy/yelling/delusional all the time - but she isn't.

Mom also is getting over a bad UTI and I think this contributes more to the crazyness of the "other woman" but even when my mom hasn't had a UTI she has accussed aides of being the "other woman" and thrown then out etc.

So, anyone gone though something like this or something similar. How do you make a parent remember you are their child and not their spouse? 

What would you do if you were me where you didn't want to medicate your mom but were kind of stuck with the aide quitting and now that you're working, don't really have time to find another one?

I hate medication and from experience with my mom and medication, it seems to do more harm than good.


I'd appreciate your collective advice.


Thank you,


Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:18 PM
Joined: 3/8/2018
Posts: 809

Hi Elhijo,

My mom sounds like yours, strong-willed and stubborn. Guess I know where I get MY attitude from LOL

I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time with finding a good fit with aides. It sounds like the agency isn’t screening resumes or training for dementia clients. And professional behavior with clients is paramount.

If #1-13 are all from the same agency, hav you tried a different agency? (My experience has been best with ones from nonprofit hospitals or nursing home systems). Some folks here have done better with direct hires, but then background checks, training and callouts are on your plate.

When we finally got a HHA with a great attitude and a better fit, mom was better with her, but still went through times of “I don’t need her, I don’t want her!!”

Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:24 PM
Joined: 7/16/2018
Posts: 18

Hello SelEtPoivre,

Thank you for your prompt reply. About trying different agencies, I tried two. Had about 4 aides with one, and about 5 aides with this one. In  the middle tried a couple of really small agencies and they didn't work out.

Thing is, this agency bills itself a nationwide dementia expert agency, the aides have dementia training etc., but in reality, the aides have been moderately better than the first agency I went with, which seemed to hire people right off the street with no training. Even with this agency I have had people quit/ call-in-sick at the last moment etc.

I guess I can try another agency and see and will keep that in mind.

I appreciate the response.



Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 12:16 AM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 403

I'm so sorry you're in this position.  I'm going to give you an unpopular response.  


Have your mother medicated. It doesn't have to be the same medication in the same doses.  It is simply ridiculous that you have been through 13 caregivers in such a short period of time.  Your mother's situation has driven away 13 paid caregivers in less than two years??  Time for you to take a look in the mirror at yourself and your Mom.  

My mother thought that I was Her Mother for the last year of her life. She passed away nearly one year ago.  It was super upsetting and nothing would/could have changed her mindset.  She wasn't even ever a good Mom to me in the first place, which made the whole idea even MORE preposterous.  Talk about freaking with my mind! 

I will take down my posting by tomorrow morning, as I'm sure I won't be winning any popularity contests with this response.  I speak the truth and I am as honest and helpful as possible; that is my goal.  

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 12:58 AM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 403

ah, Victoria. My nemesis.  Every post I write, there you are, disagreeing with me.  I guess I appreciate the consistency.  Thank you.
Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 1:11 AM
Joined: 7/16/2018
Posts: 18


From my point of view there is no need to take the post down and I'm not offended at your suggestion. What you stated might be the only viable option at this point. I appreciate your honesty and sharing what you went through with your mom.



Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 6:24 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2159

Maybe mom would do better with a male HHA if she needs sitting during the day but is mostly independent of showering and toileting.
Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 4:01 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 403

Hello again, elhijo.  I wanted to let you know that I have a close friend who went through about four different private caregivers with her Mom (no dementia involved).  It was difficult for various reasons; a couple of the caregivers started asking for raises (and being quite pushy about it). Another caregiver would ask to be given items she didn't feel the family was using/ she didn't feel the family needed or wanted certain items, and would press my friend "Christina" to just give her things. 

 She did not use an agency; she asked an agency worker to come work full time for her mother and paid her cash (no benefits). I think she paid her about 20$ per hour; it was cheaper than an agency, but I thought way more risky.  My friend is a nurse and lived directly next door, so if the caregiver had her own family/issues to take care of, "Christina" could step in right away.  Sometimes this can work out well, but it can go south if the agency has restrictions on this type of arrangement, or for liability/risk reasons it could be a nightmare.  I would be worried about the security of documents and personal items with so many new people in and out of your lives; if you have a good method for this taken care of, please disregard the comment.  Just additional thoughts.  

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 8:40 PM
Joined: 7/16/2018
Posts: 18


I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the follow-up reply. One salient point you make is worrying about so many people coming into our lives. Mom was living alone with the first aide, hha#1 so I have only been through 12 hha's. Still 12 is enough. While we really don't have major theft as a concern the last aide was always asking for things "an extra pair of socks", $20 loans, etc. I think she stole some batteries for my mom's hearing aids but I am not 100% sure so I never mentioned it to the agency. Nonetheless, you bring up an excellent point of having so many different people in/out of our lives. Our building is very secure but still you never know. At least with this present aide I don't have to worry about theft. Finding good help is hard esp. with an elderly parent. I think the best thing for now is just deal with this aide and push back on her pushyness and just tell her up front when she's being really obnoxious. It's hard though b/c she comes from a different culture which might as well be a different planet sometimes from the way she acts. 

Ah the joy of being a caretaker. I did think about what you said and I can honestly say that bringing my mom home with me probably saved her life. Despite not knowing anything about how to take care of an elderly lady, in an ALF or nursing home they would have probably medicated her b/c she's "difficult"; would have missed her UTI's or most likely prescribed her antibiotics that wouldn't have worked; and my mom most likely would not be with us/me now. Institutional options might work for other elderly folks but my mom is so headstrong I think she would have just been sedated and that would have been that.

Thanks again for the thoughtful follow-up and reply.