Can paid family caregivers be fired?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 29, 2016
Froglady3319 asked...

My aunt and my mom are taking care of my great-grandfather in Idaho. They stay with him 24/7 mainly because he lives in Stites and has no close neighbors and he's 91. He uses a walker and so they make sure they get him meals, help him up and down when needed, bathe and keep the house tidy. My grandmother and her sister are executers of his estate and make sure my aunt and mother are paid for their services.

Today, my grandmother's sister demanded that they dress him and do everything for him whether he likes it or not. My great-grandfather has no problems dressing himself and will ask for help when he needs it. Otherwise he tells them not to listen to Gwen (my grandmother's sister) and says he can do it himself. Gwen also told them that if they do not do everything for him that she will fire them. Is that legal? When a man is perfectly capable of doing things for himself can a person be fired because they are told by that man that he can do it himself (and does)?

Expert Answers

Dan Tobin, M.D. is the CEO of Care Support of America, a national service providing telephonic and local nurse counsel to adult children caring for aging parents. Dr. Tobin is the author of books and articles focused on the practical and positive aspects of family caregiving.

It is not unusual for families to differ about how to provide optimal caregiving for older family members. An important first step in resolving such differences it to fully understand each person's opinion. In this instance it could mean completely understanding the executer's concerns and doing what you can to position the executors to understand the patient's and other's concerns. In this way you give everyone a chance to be sure their most important points are on the table; for example, the common consequences of promoting dependence in older people. Often, if each person is truly listening they can see valid points held by others they have not yet recognized. If you take this step and nothing changes there are other low cost options in many areas for outside assessment and intervention such as the county department of social services.