Over the years there are a few unusual home care questions that we have received.   While the questions are understandable, they are a bit different then the general questions that we normally get on a daily basis.

So here you have it these five unusual home care questions we receive.

Can You Pick Up My Marijuana?

In Massachusetts marijuana is now legal, but Federally it is still illegal.   This causes issues with our caregivers.

We have received requests for caregivers to pick up an individuals marijuana or be around it regularly when it is smoked.

The first issue is that many of the caregivers are here working legally with a green card.   This puts them in a difficult situation of being around something that is illegal nationwide, but legal locally. 

For this reason, many of them turn down these types of cases because they do not want to jeopardize their work status in any way. 

Additionally, they do not want to be around it because the smell is pungent and it attaches to clothing so they do not want to smell like it either. 

Now, not all caregivers are opposed to being around weed, but it is (for now) an unusual question we have gotten – but will probably be more common as time goes on.


Hire My Family To Care For Me

Families will call and ask if they can put their family member on our payroll to provide care for them.   They have a daughter that is caring for her father, so to be legal with taxes and statutory benefits they want to use us as a way to pay the daughter.

There are a number of reasons why we can not do this.

As an employer with employees, we can direct and control which jobs a caregiver can take.  But it is unlikely a family member is ever going to be taken off or fired from a care in which they are caring for their parent.   

So if we determine the “caregiver” is not performing to our standards, there is really no way to reprimand them other than canceling the case altogether, as the family is not going to accept a different person to care for them.

On top of this, we are a non-medical home care company.  As silly as it sounds, we are not allowed to even provide basic first aid for clients like bandages or handling open wounds.  These simple tasks are not allowed as our staff is not officially trained to provide skilled care and our insurance does not cover this.

But a family member would do this for their loved one.  We have all provided care for someone when we were not officially trained at.  For example, when my mother was dying I would be happy to give her morphine, but a non-medical home health aide is not allowed to do that, only a nurse.

So this leads to the problem that a family member is going to be willing to provide care that normally we can not provide, which puts the family caregiver in a conflict of interest between what is best for their employer and what is best for their family member, and we all know who will win that battle, so to speak.


Can You Clean The Whole House/Attic/Basement

This is an interesting one because the problems that arise from it are safety concerns for both a caregiver and the client.

The caregiver is not there to clean the whole house, organize, or clean out a basement, garage or attic.  While the caregivers will clean up messes they make while providing care, they are not a house cleaner.  It is not part of their job description.  Some will go above and beyond and clean but do not expect it. 

It can be unsafe for the caregiver to clean our parts of the house, lift boxes repeatedly and move things around.  There are stairs, tripping hazards and attics and basements can be cramped and dimly lit.

The other reason this is a safety concern is that when a caregiver is cleaning the windows of the house, who is watching the client?

Families are hiring us when their parent need assistance to safely stay in their home.  It is common that an older adult with try and do something themselves without asking for assistance even though we are there to provide the very help they think they can do on their own.

For this reason, our job is to be there by their side at a moments notice.  If we are in another part of the house, there is no way we can prevent an injury from occurring.


Will You Take Care of My Pet

While letting the dog out the back door isn’t a big deal, like cleaning it isn’t in the job description.  Cleaning up after animals, feeding them or cleaning a kitty litter box.  We have even been asked if we will clean out bird cages but this is not what one-on-one care is for.

Like cleaning, if the caregiver is walking the dog in the neighborhood, then no one is there to watch the client.

Additionally, not all caregivers are pet people.  Some do not wish to be around dogs, cats, and other animals.   

While these types of questions are not a problem to answer, usually the caregiver is unwilling to do much with exotic animals.  With cats and dogs, there is a bit more flexibility.


Can You Take Notes At The Doctor’s Visit

This has become less common now that doctor’s offices have portals where families can log in and take the information they need, but we still do get asked if the caregiver can take notes during a doctors visits.  

The reason we can’t do this is because it is too easy for the caregiver to miss something important and that information is not relayed to the family.  What we can do is take whatever documentation and information and bring it to the house for any family members to look at, or we can fax it to the family members if they live out of state.