Just Saying No
It was difficult to break the news to Jona and Connie that I needed to cut back their hours to four hours each. During many months of 2005 they had each worked twelve hours per day, but I had cut it to eight hours and now to four hours.
Jona, the morning caregiver, had said she would not be able to work only four hours; she would ask the agency for a different assignment.
Connie, who works evenings, said she would be able to work only four hours because she has another job nearby for 8 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. With the two jobs, she could make ends meet.
So I went to bed hopeful that I would be able to retain at least Connie, perhaps both of them.
But today I got a call from the agency: neither Connie nor Jona will continue to work with my mother for only four hours per day, and Racquel, the weekend caregiver, will not be able to work daily during the week because she has another job.
"Do you want us to look for someone else for the job?" asked Ana at the agency.
What a scary prospect: hire two new people working four hrs. per day each (if anyone can be found to show up reliably for those hours), train them, and bond with them--at a time when I need to cut back on private caregiver hours.
Or cut back from sixteen private caregiver hours per week to zero hours, cold turkey. That would mean training Ocean View caregivers to get Mom up in the morning and dress her, care for her during the day, and bathe her at night.
It would help her financial picture greatly, but it would also entail me doing a lot more hours of caregiving as she adjusted from having a full-time personal caregiver to having only the overworked staff of Ocean View. More hours for me was really scary.
I didn't know what to do. I told the agency I would call them back in the morning.