The other day I stopped by my dad’s place and caught the home health aide yelling at him.

At first I was livid. How could she treat him that way? She’s here to keep him safe and take care of him and she was clearly failing at that. Yelling at someone with dementia is only going to agitate them and make the situation worse. Don’t they train home health aides?

And then I stepped back. Because, well, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve yelled at my dad, too.

I realized I was about to yell at her for yelling at my dad.

I know it’s not right. I know he isn’t responsible for his behavior. I’ve read all the advice, watched all the videos, and know what I’m supposed to do. But following the advice is so much easier said than done.

I know what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t always do it.

My first instinct was to fire her immediately and call up her company to complain. But that’s not what I did.

Instead, I asked her to finish what she was doing so I could talk to her. We talked about what I saw and I told her I understood how frustrating taking care of my dad can be, but that obviously what I heard wasn’t acceptable. She was so embarrassed and apologized. We talked about what had happened to get her worked up and swapped ways to keep our cool.

It felt like a bonding moment. I hope I’m right and that this won’t happen again. Hopefully this will mean my dad will get better care from someone who knows I want to work with her, not against her. Someone who sees her as a real person, working just as hard as I am.


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