The Common Sense Test

When walking in my grandparents' house from taking my grandfather to the doctor I found the aide in the kitchen on her cell phone and my grandmother by herself in the living room. According to Cille and Mom this is an ongoing thing. So...I made a phone call and this is how it went:
Me: Hi, I just found your aide in the kitchen on her cell phone and my grandmother alone. Does she supposed to even have a cell phone with her? My grandmother can't be left a lone...what if she had tried to get up and fell?
Personal care agency: You mean your grandmother can't be left alone at all, so the aide can't leave the room at all?
Me: She has to leave the room to do some things I just don't want her talking on the freakin' cell phone while she's here. You do know my grandmother's a fall risk?
Agency: Yes, we do.
Me: Well how well can you watch someone when you're either talking on the phone or texting?
Personal care agency: I'm just trying to clarify, you know we can't resolve an issue if we're not told what's going on.
Me: Uh, that's what I'm doing.
Personal care agency: Now let me be clear, when the aide's there for her four hours she can't leave your grandmother at all...she can't even use the bathroom?
This is where I was tempted to say no she has to hold it for four hours.
Instead...Me: I think you're being a little nitpicky.
Agency: I'm just trying to be clear, she can't leave your grandmother at all?
Me: (exasperated) Of course she can go to the bathroom, I just don't want her talking on the cell phone.

Good grief how hard is that to get through to someone? We've had aides to sleep in another bedroom while there, have their family calling there constantly, and not locking my grandmother's wheelchair so she missed it and fell in the floor. Personal care is a wonderful service but some of these people seem to lack good sense. Agencies need to administer some sort of a common sense test to all potential new hires...if they fail they're not hired. "Oops, sorry we can't hire you, you have no common sense. But if you find some, you're welcome to apply again."


  1. OMG! I've had this conversation a hundred times. What do we have to do to make sure that our elderly loved ones are cared for? Would these people leave a 3 year old alone in front of the fireplace??? I'm at a loss also. And, to make it worse, my friends and family consider me "controlling" for watching out for this stuff. I'm with you, babe....

  2. THANK YOU! I thought we might be too picky- it's nice to know someone else understands how hard it is finding someone to trust.

  3. This sounded totally infuriating. It seems like the Agency person was being obtuse on purpose just to be a jerk. Great way to treat clients and their families! The rudeness reminds me of the way the McDonald's drive-through person treats me every time I try to order a morning coffee. (Although, obviously the rudeness you describe here is much worse because of the circumstances. Still, it makes me wonder if the Agency hires from the same pool of workers as McDonalds. Ha!).

    Despite all that, your post still made me laugh. Stupidity really makes for the best humor. ;-)

  4. Thanks Rachel, it was infuriating. I think she was trying to antagonize me and she did a good job of it. I mean is it too much to ask that the aide makes sure my grandmother's safe? And I'm pretty sure you're right that the agency hires from the same pool as McDonald's. :)


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