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Overnight Care

The family of the woman I've been taking care of decided to cancel the overnight shifts. This is going to be a disaster. Many families are stunned by how expensive round the clock care is. My agency charges $25.00 an hour, we get a portion of that. Add that all up and the yearly cost comes to $240,000.00 a year. That is expensive no matter how much the service is needed. In this particular case the family decided to cut out the over night care. My shift, three days ago, was the last overnight and wouldn't you just know what happened. She went to bed about 9:00 pm. At 10:00 she got up and took off her nightie. I heard the noise and went in to see what was going on. I found her stark naked in her bedroom struggling with her bathrobe. No lights were on which was fine, I can see enough in the dark with the light from outside. I asked what she was doing. She swore at me saying "God Damn it, can't I have some privacy!" I helped her with her bathrobe all the while telling me that her night gown was too scratchy and she wanted another one. So I pulled open a few drawers, not knowing which drawer her nighties were in, and finally found one that I recognized to be a good one and slipped it over head. She was very grateful and apologized for getting mad at me. "No problem" I said, and put her back to bed. Who knows what would have happened or where she would have walked off to if I hadn't been there. She could have ended up out in the public hallway stark naked.Later on at 4:30 am the facility came in to check on her as they always do. Sound asleep she was. Not even ten minutes after they left did she get up. I heard her so I got up too. She went into the bathroom, nothing new. Then she started to make her way out of the bedroom and down the hall. I asked where she was going, she said to the kitchen to get a cookie. Ok fine, whatever. She got into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and started to pull food out. Finally she got to her lunch for the next day. I asked what she was doing, she replied that she had to warm up her lunch so she could eat it properly. I reminded her that it was now 5:00 am and she was supposed to be in bed sleeping. Oh yes she said. I sometimes mix up my hours and my days. She put the lunch back in the fridge and I helped her back into bed.What could possibly happen next? She could have tried to turn on the stove to heat her lunch, a disaster waiting,  or have walked out into the public hallway simply by opening the wrong door. Who knows but now with no one in the apartment looking after her... anything could happen. The facility, under their new plan, is scheduled to check on her 4-5 times a night. This happened not more than ten minutes after they checked on her. Your guess is as good as mine. There have been plenty of nights when nothing out of the ordinary has happened. But all it takes is one off beat episode and she could be in real danger. Did I mention she is 99 years old.

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