The Caregiver Decision

posted in: Uncategorized | 19

As Jim’s dementia progressed, it became obvious he would need full-time caregiving while I was at work. Jim had become afraid to stay by himself and needed help getting through the day. Initially we considered all the traditional care giving options: family members, senior care companies that supply caregivers, adult day care, and moving Jim to a facility to live full time. But we ended up crafting our own slightly unorthodox way of meeting our needs, and it has worked wonderfully for us.

My desire has always been to have Jim live with me for the remainder of his life. So I wanted to select a caregiving option that would keep Jim at home and delay – or preferably avoid – his moving to a facility.

Family was not a real option for us because – like many – we have no relatives in town. So I thought adult day care might be the answer. These centers range from modest church-run programs to upscale centers that have chef prepared meals and spa services. We selected a center on the nicer end of the spectrum. But Jim was going through a challenging period and he was difficult for the center’s employees to control. Unfortunately, that option was eliminated.


So I decided to recruit our caregivers myself.

Senior care companies were very responsive, but the two companies I talked to only paid their employees a few dollars above minimum wage. This concerned me because I thought we might have more caregiver turnover, which would require Jim to make frequent adjustments.
So I decided to recruit our caregivers myself. We would pay the caregiver more than a typical caregiving job, but our costs would still be less than an outside agency – if I could handle the recruiting. 

I sent out emails to friends and associates and had the job posted on our church’s job board. To my delight (and surprise), we had a good response. The typical person who was interested was retired, desired parttime work, and wanted flexibility to occasionally travel. And most of the people were friends from church. So we hired four caregivers, each of whom works five or six hour shifts several times a week. When one person goes on vacation, another steps in to fill the gap. Jim has known three of these caregivers for almost 30 years, so there is a long relationship that enhances the caregiving he receives.

We certainly feel blessed by the caregivers that work with Jim. There is no question that their loving, homebased care has helped him remain and thrive at home, and allowed me to continue working. It does take extra effort to prepare weekly schedules and work around the timeoff issues that invariably arise, but that effort has been minuscule compared to the exceptional level of care Jim has received.

19 Responses

  1. Jim Augustin

    What a great loving environment for Jim. Reminds me of angels, and a saying I saw in small frame so time ago.
    “So interwoven are the threads of human life that no single contact is trivial. In our most casual moments we entertain angels. Around the humblest of us are the influences which touch eternity.” Anon

  2. Beautiful pictures!

  3. Sandy Mandeville

    Vicki, you and Jim are a wonderful love story and example of how God called us to live and love one another. Jim has wonderful Believers taking care of and loving him in Christ. Just beautiful! The Church of Christ. I aim to be like you when I grow up! Love you! Sandy

  4. Sandy Mandeville

    Vicki, you and Jim are a wonder example of how God has called us to live and love and love one another. Jim has wonderful Believers loving and taking care of him. Just beautiful! Sandy

  5. Laura Smith

    Wonderful way to handle Jim’s care. In a similar situation, I hired four great ladies to care for my husband at home for many years.

  6. Ruth Samuelson

    Great entrepreneurial solution. I’m going to pass it along to my husband’s family. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Katie Slaughter

    I think of you and Mr. Hafele often. Thank you for including me in this!
    Love, Katie

  8. Gilda Johnson

    This is a painful but completely loving journey for everyone involved. God Bless you and Jim. Love Gilda and Cece

  9. Pauline Hempfling

    I like keeping up with Jim and you. You have two good ones Cynthia and Paul I’m not sure I know the other girl. . You’re in my prayers.

  10. Gary & Shirley

    You always were the smart one lady !

  11. Pauline Hempfling

    I like keeping up with Jim and You. You chose 2 good caring people (Cynthia and Paul) – I don’t know the pretty girl

    excuse te comment in the wrong space..I’m still learning. I only did a limited of things on the computer at the bookstore. Love and payers thru our JESUS

  12. Debbie & Dave

    What a great solution! Wonderful!

  13. Elaine Ginsberg

    Enjoying your writing! Allison has successfully used to find caregivers, but finding people that Jim is familiar with is wonderful!

  14. Ross Rhoads

    How wise and loving you are an example to believers and a model has a wife to Jim we treasure your friendship please except our prayers Ross and Carol

  15. You are Jim’s angel

  16. You and Jim are in our prayers. Glad this is working out so well!

  17. You have very special care givers that love Jim and wish only the very best for him.

  18. Ana Bardales

    Hello Miss Vicki, I’m Very glad to receivi your mail,and read all of the things you make for your husband.
    I would say that if you need something to help Mr. Jim, call me. my number is 704-6053194
    Thank you so much for share me.

  19. Vicki,
    Everything is by the Holy Spirit and so to say that this posting is in great timing with a book I recently read by Jonathan Kozol from Boston Mass. about his journey with his father and the kind of loving care he provided for his father. The love and respect that is provided by the church family are the hands and feet of the Lord and it is with his heart that Jim and yourself can receive the love and care you both are needing in this season of life.

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