Carers missing the big picture


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Had what some could say was an interesting visit with Dad today.... :rolleyes:

For once though, it wasn't his behaviour that was my focus (other than that I was absolutely delighted to have him appear to really be understanding what I was saying, it felt like we had stepped back a year in this awful progression, except that he is still unable to speak words)

Unfortunately the delightful side of my visit was marred by an incident with some of the carers. :(

After having had some rapport with Dad, I got the impression that he was getting tired of me babying him so I let him walk around on his own, keeping an eye on him because he has a habit of stumbling and because I had removed the protective helmet the home insists he wears constantly in case of falls. Anyway, one of the carers came out (we were in the outdoor area) with a drink for Dad and asked if I would like to give it to him. Unsure of if he would want to be 'directed' to sit down as he was having an independent moment, I grinned a little unsure....anyway the carer went and got him and pretty much manhandled him into a chair. I don't like the way she manhandles him, but I also know she is good with regards to other aspects of his care, so I just said to Dad as she went back inside 'Phew, [name] really knows how to boss you around doesn't she?!' but said so lightheartedly so as not to distress him in anyway.

Two other carers were in the vicinity at the time and one of them piped up 'Yeah too bossy sometimes though hey?', I just shrugged and said 'Ah well never mind, its okay', to which the other carer said 'So why does it upset you?'...I assumed from this comment that she had seen my wince at Dad being pushed around, although I did think 'Wow, how insensitive is that, I am upset every day and she thinks I need to be told that I am upset and in denial??'

I replied, 'Well I've seen him treated like this for 5 years now at home by my mum and well I guess, beggars can't be choosers.', meaning that it is so hard to find decent care, that sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good. The two 'concerned' carers then told me that I should report treatment like what we had witnessed. Trying to not be rude but also trying to explain why I accepted it, I said 'There is also the fact that, I'm not here all the time to ensure, that my words of complaint, don't cause more hardship for Dad than good.' The one remaining 'concerned' carer (the other one had obviously lost interest) then reiterated that I should 'Report it' and that I was silly to have such concerns.'

How do you say, 'For god sakes, don't you think that it rips my heart apart to see Dad treated like this, don't you think I weigh up the pros and cons of 'reporting' such treatment everyday, don't you think I might already be under enough strain and guilt and worry, that I don't need you, who might think you are a good carer but really has no idea what we are going through, who might think that just because you are gentle with my Dad you are better, but then you don't bother to change him when he needs it to tell me that I am not doing enough....don't you think....Don't you THINK???'

Aiy, yigh,yigh! :eek:

Well there's my rant for the day. :eek:


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Oh Nat, how I feel for you. I agree that no one can put themselves in your position. We all carry so much guilt around with us, and have to fight so many battles, sometimes it is easier to say nothing. I realise you are on top of the situation, so try not to let it get to you.

Take care of yourself, Connie


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
In my experience, each paid carer establishes a different relationship with the person for whom they care. Some find that gruff works, others find soft works. Good cop, bad cop doesn't mean 'good' or 'bad' but just defines the approach.

Imagine a world where you don't fully know what is going on around you. You don't know people and your memory is not good. Might it not be that accentuated traits, such as gruff, or soft or loud or quiet - they might enable someone with dementia to think "ah its Big Gruff today then" instead of "it is sylvia today".

You will often see exaggerated behaviours in care homes, both by staff and by residents. It is how life has to be.

Many behaviours can be misunderstood by people who are around to visit only briefly. Those of us who spend time learn there is more to it then the way it at first appears.

But we do always have to watch out for the innappropriate.

If we think something is outrageous then we should report it, perhaps not as a formal complaint, more to the manager as a gentle "I just saw this happen... am I wrong in thinking it is not the right thing?" Escalation is always possible if that approach doesn't work.


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi Nat,

Could you not go to the person in charge, not necessarily to complain, but to discuss your concerns about this carer? When Dad first went into his Home, Mum was told by the Head Nurse (I'm sorry, I don't know her official title), that Mum should go to see her whenever she had any concerns about anything.

Mum has accepted, as you have that, "beggars can't be choosers" and in our eyes there is obviously no care that would match up to that which we would give Dad if time/energy/circumstances permitted.

She also accepts that different carers have different personalities, and therefore different methods of dealing with people. There are a couple of "Big Gruff's" but, as you say, we know they are "good with regards to other aspects of his care."

Here's another thought; because carers in Homes are human there is bound to be, among some of them, petty jealousies etc. and wanting to get one of their colleagues into trouble. Again, if they were genuinely concerned, shouldn't they be reporting this to their superiors, rather than trying to get you involved? I'm just trying to say that it's possible they're trying to stir up your concerns to their own advantage - but I may be way off there.

Mum and I have often found that after one day where a particular carer might have given us cause for concern, the following day they're as good as gold and we can't sing their praises highly enough! I'm sure you experience the same thing. Plus the fact that some days Mum's able to deal with it, other days she's more sensitive to things. All this makes it even harder to know when enough is enough, doesn't it?

Having said all that, if Mum was concerned to the level of thinking of making a complaint, she would go and see the Head Nurse first. After all, she would be the one in the position to know if her carers aren't really up to the job. I can see this would be difficult, though, if you haven't been encouraged to do this or don't have a good relationship with the person in this position.

Hope this helps.


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Hazel, thanks for all your words, it pretty much covered everything I thought about when the carers had their little chat for me. It may not have come across in my post, but the point of it all was simply a sigh of tiredness that these so called carers would attempt to pull more emotions from me either for their own motivations or because they 'thought' I needed their words, that they 'thought' showed their concern. I have complained many a time at the home if I have not been happy with care levels and each time I have had to weigh up the pros and cons of it all, will it affect Dad badly, am I missing the bigger picture, can the home really be expected to do better and so on.

What I could not believe was that these two ....imbeciles??....thought that I needed them to tell me what I should be doing. That they knew the position I was in better than me. I was FRUSTRATED (!!), had had enough already, and just wanted to enjoy what i could of the afternoon with Dad....oh I could go on and on, but its coffee on the porch time....thanks all for your words.