Caregivers Can be Abused Too

When caregivers for the elderly and disabled are emotionally and verbally abused by their clients.

Caregiving is one of the most challenging jobs.  It takes a compassionate, patient, and knowledgeable person to take care of the needs of a handicapped or elderly client.  Tens upon thousands of elderly and handicapped people are abused and neglected at the hands of a caregiver whether it is done in a nursing home facility or at home.  Thankfully, background checks are done routinely for certified caregivers which, of course, they should be done.   Decades ago, I was a young caregiver in a nursing home facility, and I saw examples of horrific health care aides.  Some of the nurses I’ve had experience with, too, have been neglectful and abusive.  However, no one ever talks about the reversal of abusive roles.  Caregivers can also be emotionally abused by the client, and I have experienced this first hand. 

Over the years, I have worked with mostly sweet and appreciative clients.  They appreciate every little thing you do for them.  I love working in clients’ homes because it allows them to remain fairly independent in the comfort of their own homes.  The elderly and handicap suffer less from depression, and remaining in their homes can extend their lives because they feel they still have purpose and a sense of belonging.  There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed than being in a nursing home.  I learned a lot about my clients and have heard many stories about their lives and the era in which they grew up.  It’s better than reading a history book.

Out of all the many elderly and handicapped people I have worked for, I have had only two bad experiences with in-home clients.  After doing home health care, you can pretty much read a person during the interview and determine how they will be as a client.  I’ve never been wrong.  My two strange and abusive clients keyed me off from the get go.  Walking away from the interviews and let out a sigh and all I could think to say was, “Here we go!”  I knew from one of the clients that it wasn’t going to work well on the very first day.  I was reprimanded because I didn’t put the clean garbage bag in the garbage can the right way.  I don’t mind quirks, but plain and simple pettiness without lack of appreciation I do not tolerate well.  I’m doing them a favor by doing all of their housework, shopping, cooking, errand running and recreational outings.  They need to show just a tad of respect and appreciation for what I do for them.  I used to have my own cleaning business, so I know how a clean garbage bag needs to go into the garbage can for Pete’s sake.  I’m a fifty plus year old woman, not some young ding dong that just got out of school and has no life experience.  I went directly to my supervisor and told her that she wasn’t going to work out.  I ended up staying three and a half long and emotionally abusive years with this one particular client.  She wore me down, berated me, got jealous if I said hello to other tenants in her building.  Hey, I’m a friendly person; I’m not going to be rude to someone if they need a hug.  The tenants, many of them, grew to love me and my client was petty and jealous.  I walked out of that situation with four bleeding ulcers.  I had to quit; she was making me physically ill.  She was snooty and rude. 

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  1. Good on you for airing the other side of this.

  2. I wish there were background checks not only for the caregivers but for the clients. I am frustrated. My client is getting meaner and meaner. No matter how you do something for her it is still wrong even if it done exactly the way it is requested. If you are asked to reminder her of something she gets mad for reminding her. It is going to visit a point where there no caregivers willing to for some peoples. Client burns through several dozens of helpers over the last ten years. So sad. I’m big guy but I’m kind of scared of my disabled client. Client is very smart and likes to gets in peoples heads and mess with them.

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