My Client gets up at 3:00 am daily

Marie326September 17, 2013

I am a live in cook , personal shopper and light caregiver to a very nice polite ambulatory lady. She gets around well on her own with a walker, however she has Rheumatoid arthritis, which is why I was hired to cook for her and live in.

When I took the job, we agreed on my start time in the morning, which is 8:00 am (earlier if I have to transport her to an appt) . She told me that she gets up early to watch TV. Do you know what early is? She is up at 3:00 am. She pours her coffee, and transports it on her walker to her all day chair. I find this dangerous! What if she spills hot coffee on herself, or falls while at the kitchen sink? What will we say in the ER? That the care giver was asleep? As a live in I do not stay up at night. I have expressed my concerns to her and that she will reach a point where she may not be able to do this any longer. She doesn't respond. The day caregiver that comes for a few hours and has been working for her for 10 yrs never knew she got up that early.. 6 hrs of sleep and 18 hrs sitting. I can't change that. Already tried!

She eats on a wooden cutting board. I told her that I will not be able to make her soups unless she is willing to use a proper lap tray with legs. The soup could spill burning her. She is not interested. Any advice?

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How old is your gal? I am guessing that she must be up there in age since she has had a daytime caregiver for 10 years.

This sounds like my 90 year-old father. I have been caring for him full-time for three years and have come to the conclusion that we cannot protect the elderly from every single thing. My dad goes to bed 1-1:30am and is up around 7:30am. I take an hour or more to unwind after he retires so I am getting to bed late but I am here 24/7. I used to keep a baby monitor in my room so I could hear when he gets up (since he has been prone to falling) but had to remove that after a couple of months because I couldn't rest well. He does talk and make a fair amount of noise until he drifts off.

If she sleeps for 6 hours and gets up at 3am I would suggest that you begin by attempting to set back her bedtime in 15-30 minute increments. If she goes to bed at 9pm then engage her in conversation, a card game, reading out loud or watching a 30 minute program. Tell her that you are concerned that you are still asleep for hours when she gets up. If that falls on deaf ears then can she check in with you before she goes to get her coffee and sit? Perhaps you could put the monitor in the area where her chair is and keep the receiving end next to your bed. At least you have a better chance of hearing something if she falls or calls your name.

My dad eats at the wooden tv tray next to his "all day" chair and has spilled hot soup on himself (plus other hot food) and I just deal with it. I have had several of his doctors back me up but some folks are just going to do what they want. At least your gal uses her walker. My dad is "nicely" antagonistic to his and I am constantly reminding him to use it even though he states he is getting better ... which he is not.

If you have access to her primary care physician and/or any of her other healthcare providers then I would place a call to them and let them know what you are dealing with. If there is written info that you have called then there will be less of a possibility for the doctor being unhappy. I am sure that most know how the elderly can be.

How about you put her soup in a smaller cereal bowl (or desert bowl) and place that inside a larger one so most of the spilling may be contained without landing in her lap.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:05PM
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maybe you could 'compromise' by getting a wood tray with sides (but no legs) - at least any spill would be contained on the tray.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:06AM
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My dad fell and broke his hip at 4 am. I was sound asleep upstairs.

Why he felt the need to throw something down the laundry chute in the kitchen at 4 in the morning is beyond me.

I felt awful, but, you know, Dad was fully competent. Just a bit stupid that morning.

It was not my fault that he fell. You can't monitor every second. You have to get sleep, or you can't be a good caregiver.

OP, if you end up in the ER at 5 am, they are going to understand when you say, "I was asleep. She got up at 3 and made coffee and spilled it and fell."

At least, the ER staff that took care of my dad completely understood. And so did the EMTs I had to call, and the ambulance crew.

Unless you were hired to be up all night with her, no one is expecting you to forgo sleeping.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Can you make a thermos of coffee before you go to bed and put it by her 'all day' chair?? As for soup, I would put it in a big coffee mug, half full.

HMM they do come up with some crazy habits eh?? My mom is in an assisted living place and tries anything she can to get me over there~~it is 80 miles round trip, always in heavy traffic~~~I may start drinking;)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 5:30PM
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I finally found a tray with sides and she refused with a big " no"'
FYI I am not family, I am hired help with a paycheck, room and board. I sleep through the night. When the time comes that she doesn't sleep and needs assistance, we will need alternate caregivers.

I have also learned not to make suggestion regarding changes, even though I feel they should be made because the family members were either in denial or just wanted me to mind my own business, this happens at my last job. YOGALADY, she won't accept the thermos.

My mother was in assisted living and I would not allow her to manipulate me. But it can drive someone to drinking. Lol

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:29PM
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I would suggest that you act like she requested the changes then act surprised that she had "changed her mind". Then drop it for a couple of days. You can then ask if she would like to try it for a while. May not be all that ethical but for some it works.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Problem being, she has no dementia, she is only 78.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:33AM
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