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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 04/16/13


I have had to dismiss four caregivers (and am on my way to five) that we employed to help care for my husband who has Parkinson’s. They are all qualified at their jobs. The problem is ME. I am highly allergic to perfumes—any products, personal or household, that have fragrance. They are making me sick. I explain in great detail on the phone exactly what we need for them to do and not do if they want the job, and again at the interview. After a few days, they show up with some kind of scent that is musky, sweet, and/or perfumed. I have purchased the products for them that I use for myself and in my home. I go out into the world every day and hardly ever encounter these particular odors. Yet it seems as if each caregiver who comes to us just ignores my requests.

Is there some kind of agency that would specialize in caregivers who are trained NOT to wear any fragrances, who use detergents that are "fragrance-free" and so on? I am just exasperated beyond belief. My husband is in the hospital as I write this and, sure enough, the caregiver I hired for the night showed up with the exact "smell." What are the odds of that?

Any advice would be appreciated.


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Name: Jamie
Location: California
Date: 04/18/2013
Time: 10:22 AM


You should immediately discontinue the service that is sending the caregivers to you! I would also hope that they are not charging you. You have given simple instructions to follow and you should not have to put up with less than quality service. We do train our Home Care Associates that this sensitivity does exists and to “save the perfume for date night”. Check with the hospital to see if they can recommend any outstanding care provider organizations to you.

Date: 04/16/2013
Time: 01:15 PM


I am allergic to propalyne glycol it is in everything! Very difficult to find PG free products or environments! Much less getting my point across to others! Your not alone!

Name: Carol Kemmerer
Location: Florida
Date: 04/16/2013
Time: 11:15 AM


My husband also has Parkinsons and we have our caregivers from Comfort Keepers, which is nationwide. We have been satisfied with their procedures and we let the company know what we want and they let the caregivers know. We usually have pretty good results from the caregivers. We have asked the company to tell the caregivers that we do not want them on their cellphones texting all the time and that problem was taken care of immediately. Hope this helps.

Name: Jessica
Location: VA
Date: 04/16/2013
Time: 09:31 AM


Could they be picking up the smell at another patient's home? For example a smoker?

Name: Sandi
Location: ND
Date: 04/16/2013
Time: 06:58 AM


Does your husband notice the same scents? Have you had allergy testing done? Are you taking medications to help yourself? I too have severe 'environmental allergies' that have me over sensitive to aromas and smoke. We have posted at our home door: No Smoking and No Perfumes, Scented Shampoo/Soap, Dryer sheets within this home. Are you hiring yourself or through an agency? USE an agency! Then complain, strongly, to the management! They are required to teach their staff, and they know for the business that specific care needs for the home must be followed or they are out. If you are working with an agency, and they do not correct the issue with their the Better Business Bureau. You need specific dates that you made request that 'scent free' was needed, detriments to your health/his health, costs to that, contacts made regarding. Stay with it! Someone is out there! Do your part though...don't assume you are tested and have the paperwork to back it up. Otherwise---they will look at it as 'hot air'.

Name: Sue
Location: Georgia
Date: 04/16/2013
Time: 05:14 AM


B I have suffered for years with this very problem. Anything with a smell caused an asthma attack. I quit going to church and most contact with people. I developed chronic fatigue. Thankfully for me I did find a Dr. that help, but it was a complete diet change. Good Luck and hopefully you will find an answer that works for you.



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