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Thread: manic-depressive assistant

  1. #1

    manic-depressive assistant

    Hello, I haven't been posting in a long time. Maybe this is my way back into the community, especially for the long winter evenings. My question is regarding your experiences with assistants who are manic-depressive. I am in the situation that I lived with my mom here for a few years. She was so loving and caring (though not always easy) to buy us a beautiful appartment in a beautiful area of Freiburg (southwestern Germany). She died last August, and now I am trying to find a nice person who has a free room in exchange for assitance in the household. Caregiving is done by an agency and is not her/his task, but cooking, cleaning etc. (additional supported by a dear friend).
    Since last Saturday I have a 45-year-old woman in this position. Two days ago she told me she was diagnozed with manic depression. To summarize: she said she wanted to find work, instead she has an add for partnership, goes jogging, dating, sauna, ..., doesn't pay for our common lunches, cleans the place so you could eat from the floor, I guess even from the toilet seat without being asked, doesn't want to be desturbed watching soap operas in "her" room, which is actually my living room I offered her to use, for empTying my urine bag . But the real bad thing is, that she puts words in my mouth I never said, lables me as a typical handicapped who demands empathy but doesn't have it, and (worst for me emotionally) instrumentalizes MY friends through crying how bad I am and telling them lies.
    My intuitive reaction is to make her move out, risking to have to pay help by the hour over the holidays. I am also doubting that she WILL move out without problems.
    May I ask for your opinions on that?

  2. #2
    My initial reaction is that you don't need this kind of negative karma in your home, no matter how good of a housekeeper (how well she cleans) in your home. Usually, it is understood that there is a three month trial period after a hire. No harm, no foul, she is out because things just aren't working out for you with her. Give her adequate notice to find a place to live and a date certain that she must be gone. After that you may have to get the law involved if she is resistant to leaving and is harassing you.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    I agree. By the way, the current terminology for this disorder is bi-polar disorder. Even if she is well controlled on medication, just based on the behaviors you have described, I would not keep this person in employment. Did you do a background check on her prior to hiring her? Do you have a contract spelling out the position responsibilities and boundaries such as use of rooms and items and amenities in your home?? If not, when you find a new person, strongly suggest that you do some type of contract. This should also spell out a trial work period, periodic evaluations, and conditions for termination.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Thank you both for your opinion. We had all the suggested agreements, but not written in a contract. Next time I will do that. And maybe ask for references. She just tricked me, she appeared so nice, but now I see that behind that "niceness" is a narcissistic "poor me" personality. These examples always make me think about the very nature of those disorders: are they really excusable as illnesses or are they not kind of a questionable character? I am Christian and believe that if one has such a disorder, they could give it to God for healing. Pills might just cure the symptoms to make them managable, but not get to the core of the problem. Manipulating my friends: isn't that just plane mean? Are these people aware of what they are doing? I guess I am getting lost in philosophical questions. - I told her to move out by the 15th of December;

  5. #5
    She may have a personality disorder rather than or in addition to bi-polar disorder. Borderline personality disorder would fit with much of what you have described. I would be the last one to suggest discriminating against someone based on a mental health disorder, but her behavior is what is the proof of the pudding. Well done giving her notice.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I know that here in Holland I can not do a reference check, but I can ask them to provide a "certificate of good behaviour". Especially with how strong housing rights are for tenants in Europe, and I assume Germany, I think it is very important you have a very clear written contract that says that rental rights are based only on working, and then be very clear about what is required for work. I would also be very clear about what is expected for working, so you don't get in a situation where you are liable for too much if you do fire them or they get sick. All of the laws for both employment and rental rights here in Holland are probably one of the biggest reason we can not really consider a live-in, even though it would be much more practical for us. Even with flexible part-time freelancers they just changed the law that we can be held liable for unemployment and sick leave for up to 10 years if we do not have them sign a proper agreement also with the tax office!

  7. #7
    References only go so far. Not saying they are not worth getting, just you really can only trust them so far. Unfortunately you are in a tough place. I see why your hesitant. However I believe like others that you should remove her as soon as possible even if it cost you some money and some discomfort. The disability is enough to deal with. There is no need to ad any additional problems of any kind from friends, family, caretakers etc. Since my wife became injured I have found a great respect for most nurses. What they do is truly a calling and a blessing to all that need them. With that said though. There are some nurses and caretakers that should be outright fired and never allowed to work again. You really have to want to be a nurse or caretaker. If you don't you really have no business being one. This is why I do so much of my wife care both in home and when she is in the hospital.

  8. #8
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    I don't think you should get into trouble by dismissing her. she was not honest with you, and seems to be unstable at the moment. she seems to be intimidating to you. manipulative. that is a recipe for abuse. your safety is more important than her feelings. regardless of her diagnoses, you need to be safe, and you need to feel safe. just from your carefully worded post, I perceive you don't feel safe. That she can and has taken advantage of you.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Regine, is she out yet? Any problems? You might talk to a hospital social worker type and ask if they have a basic form that covers most of the bases on your laws. You can then itemize what you need to it and basically individualize it for you. ELarson probably has seen what most of the EU will soon have. I believe Germany's current policy is 5 years of unemployment plus all the normal employer paid taxes. You really need to protect yourself so if you can ask for references, get them.

    I bet you have a wonderful place. Freiburg is a beautiful old town.

  10. #10
    Get rid of her...you do not need a negative person like that in your life, especially a carer. It might be tough finding someone else but at least begin looking, get your friends to help find someone good. Ah Germany, one day i will get there to see where my ancestors came from, and of course see the Mercedes & Porsche museums!.

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