Practical Ideas For Monitoring Your Loved One’s Care
Preventing Caregiver Theft
Caregiver theft is a real danger for isolated seniors with in-home caregivers, particularly during this time of pandemic when friends and loved ones cannot visit as often as they’d like (or should). The Alameda County financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors throughout California victimized by any form of caregiver theft or financial elder abuse. If you or someone you know is a victim of financial elder abuse here in Alameda County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call us today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
We have written before about checking bank statements, important records, and keeping confidential information (like Social Security numbers) out of caregiver reach. Those steps are all important. But there are also some clues to financial elder abuse that you can pick up from some other caregiver behaviors:
1. Groceries and Store Bills. If grocery shopping and normal errands are among the caregiver’s responsibilities, it’s pretty easy for a personal item or two to make it onto your loved one’s credit card. Don’t let even the smallest transactions pass without scrutiny, as the caregiver may be testing the waters to see what he or she can get away with. If you hired a caregiver through an agency, report any problems with that agency as soon as possible.
2. Frequent Cell Phone Use. If a caregiver is constantly on the phone, this could mean that he or she is not giving the requisite time to your loved one, or worse, planning with others how to steal from your loved one. Always run a background check on a caregiver before he or she is employed. Next, make sure credit cards, bank statements, check registers, and other important papers like trust agreements are removed from the home.
3. Getting Too Personal. Some thieves will plan a scam to “prime the pump” by seducing the elderly with lots of affection until she or he becomes emotionally dependent upon the caregiver. The elderly person will try to reciprocate the affection by giving expensive gifts, or worse, paying for the caregiver’s expenses like rent and food. Here’s where you come in – it is absolutely essential you stay involved in the senior’s life (by lots of phone calls if visits are not safe right now) to ensure that your loved one does not become too reliant on the paid caregiver.
4. Bids for Sympathy. The “getting too personal” phase may quickly rise into the “bids for sympathy” phase. The caregiver may concoct stories of the caregiver’s own family members who are in dire need of medical care, but do not have the resources to pay for that care. Keep talking to your older loved one about what is going on in his or her life so that you can detect this sort of trouble – and stop it – before your seniors loved one caves in to the pressure.
5. Missing work on Mondays. It could be a bad sign when a caregiver is AWOL on Mondays, even if he or she is responsible throughout the rest of the week. Monday absenteeism could be a warning sign of alcoholism or substance abuse. The caregiver may have gone out over the weekend and therefore is in too bad of shape to make it in on Monday. If the caregiver has any unexcused absences, find someone else.
6. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney.
Report any suspicions of financial abuse to the police but also call elder abuse counsel immediately to pursue all civil remedies available to your loved one. Greedy caregivers strike quickly and may take more if you do not act on your first hunch. The elder abuse litigators at Evans Law Firm handle elder abuse cases of all varieties and know the remedies, extra damages, and awards of attorneys’ fees and costs to which you or your victimized loved one is entitled.
If you or a loved one been the victim of elder abuse in Alameda County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. We can help guide your case through investigation, discovery, through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.