Just a spoon full of sugar…



Before I moved down to Florida, we had a private person who worked Monday thru Friday 8 to 5.  She was from a house in the neighborhood and my Mother new her.  This was working out fine the first year.  At that time we didn’t need people on the weekends or overnights.  But that soon changed.

First it was driving.  It had to be eliminated.  That was very difficult for my Dad.  Thank God his eyes were so bad, it wasn’t a choice any longer.  But that meant no one could go to the store or run an errand.  That lead to a bit of fear of being “trapped” in the house.  So, we started getting VNA (Visiting Nurse Association) on the weekends.  Soon we were getting phone calls about needing help at night.  So we got VNA for overnights on the weekdays but not on the weekends.  My father really didn’t like having them around at night, but he knew he couldn’t help my Mom much.  By the time I arrived, we had VNA at at night and on the weekends day and night and our private person during the weekdays.  Needles to say this was adding up very quickly! And even more important, my Dad was struggling with his dementia, and the constant change of people was getting too much.  I took over some of the nights and the weekend shifts.  But it was clear we needed something permanent.

My desire to go with Private care came first from a financial need.  We were currently only under contract for my Mother, but it was clear my Dad’s needs were increasing.  We were paying up to $20 an hour for my Mom and when my Dad came on board it would be $23 to $24.  Secondly, I couldn’t request a specific person (I could try but no guarantee) or give incentives.   I am a true believer that when you are treated well, you tend to do well.  I wanted to be able to give gift cards or thank you’s when things came up.  Or, raises.  I was very aware that these women were making only $10 to $15 per hour.  So, I found Care.Com.  I am sure there are many services out there that do similar things, but I had good success with these guys.  I had a few criteria I was looking for: “If you want this position, You must have a cheery disposition, Rosy cheeks, No warts, Play games all sorts”!  Ok, that was Mary Poppins, but that’s where I started.  I wanted someone they could relate to.  Understand.  This may seem prejudicial, but keep in mind, both my parents were hard of hearing.  Having care givers with thick accents was a huge problem.  So, that was something I was looking for.  Cheery disposition was important. Not too bubbly (that would drive my dad crazy) but not a Debbie downer.  I interviewed 16 people and found 2 that would work my night shifts, and they would start at $16 per hour.

This was already starting make a nice difference financially.  Now, keep in mind.  I also made sure they were both CNA’s so my parents long term health care plan would reimburse the $100 per day.

Now I had wonderful care that I could say “thank you” too with a raise in 6 months, or a gift or a card.  They “wanted” to come to work, and they soon respected my parents and myself for the way they were treated.  A spoon full of sugar really does work!

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