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Are Your Elderly Parents Getting Ripped Off by a Caregiver?

Even an elderly close friend or neighbor can be vulnerable. Stay close if they need you.

Richard, my longtime elderly friend and neighbor passed away last week.  He had no children and only had a brother-in-law in the East Bay that periodically helped him.

He was admitted to assisted care two years ago after a fall and hated it. I and some kind hearted close neighbors (including his brother-in-law) brought him home and found day nurses to watch over him. He recovered from his fall and became able to live on his own once again. He still had to have someone come to his home to clean and prepare meals. 

Richard's temperament was that of a "grouchy old man." Not to me or his friends, but to the people who were hired to take him shopping, clean and cook for him. He fired several people before he found one that he trusted.

When I visited Richard, he told me of his fears of bringing a stranger into his home. He claimed that the first caregiver took money from his wallet. He said he could not prove it, but he was convinced it happened. He then showed me a grocery receipt that one caregiver had left in the bag that showed the sale of a case of beer. Problem was, Richard didn't drink alcohol. 

Richard's experience is minuscule compared to today's headlines of elder abuse and embezzlement by caregivers.

If you have elderly friends or family members, stay in close contact with them. Recently a caregiver on the peninsula was arrested for stealing close to $60,000 from an elderly woman.

Make no mistake: not all caregivers are awful people. The few people that commit these ugly crimes put a cloud on the the honest and caring individuals that  treat their patients with dignity and respect.

Just few ideas that may protect your elderly friends and family members:

  • Visit as often as you can, let them know you care
  • If possible, interview caregiver with your elderly parent/freind and be sure they have a tax ID #
  • You are also able to check on line of any issues through the San Mateo County Court House website

With a heavy heart I say farewell to you, Richard. I will miss seeing you waving out the window each morning as I walk my doggie past your house. You will forever be remembered.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Phyllis McArthur July 13, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Thanks, he was such a great human being I miss him already
joe July 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Taking advantage of the elderly is disgusting!!
Phyllis McArthur July 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Amen, joe, sometimes they don't even report some of the abuse because they're embarrased.
Cynthia Clotzman January 18, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Phyllis - I am in the home care referral business. Sadly, what you say happens to too many people. Even though the numbers are small, even one is too many in my book! The home care industry is not highly regulated. My company, Trusted Hands Network, screens home care agencies by running them through a rigorous certification process that includes background checks and much more. Our founder created the business because of the trouble she had finding quality care for her mom, and I joined because my own mother was subjected to abuse by someone she thought was taking care of her. Phyllis, we have many agencies in our network in the Bay Area, so if you want to tell people about us we'd be much obliged. If we spare even one person from being harmed we will have done good. Our number for customers is 800-603-5123. You can reach me personally at 800-297-0456. And our site is www.trustedhandsnetwork.com. Sincerely, Cynthia Clotzman
Phyllis McArthur January 18, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Cynthia, thank you for bringing this story back to life.

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