Get References When Hiring In-Home Caregivers
Use A Bonded Agency And Ask Questions
Warning Signs Of Caregiver Fraud
Whenever a stranger enters an isolated senior’s home there is a very real risk of financial elder abuse. This is especially true when the stranger is a caregiver, who may be in the home fulltime or for long shifts with ample time to access to a senior’s valuables, credit cards, cash, checks, and time to access bank account information online. The risk is there whether you hire the stranger off Craigslist or go through an agency. Some steps to protect a senior from abuse in these situations are straightforward: Evans Law Firm, Inc. recommends that you never hand credit cards or checks to a caregiver for make purchases and never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney under any circumstances. We have seen so many cases of theft from seniors whenever a caregiver has access (physically or online) to credit cards, checks, money or bank accounts or any authority under a Power of Attorney. Financial elder abuse is a crime and grounds for civil liability. See, e.g., Cal. Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse) and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). We represent victims of any kind of elder abuse and their families, and pursues all persons responsible. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Orange County or anywhere else in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Questions When Hiring Caregivers Through Agencies
It is probably safest to hire caregivers only through a bonded and insured home-care agency. Even when going through an agency, ask questions about who the business and how they operate:
- How long has the agency been in the business?
- Is it financially sound?
- What experience and certifications are employees required to have?
- Does it do criminal background checks on its caregivers?
- Does it conduct drug screening?
- How does the agency assign caregivers to its client?
- What records are caregivers required to keep of the in-home care they provide?
Stopping Caregiver Theft
- Secure valuables, cash and cards
Create an inventory of all the valuables in the house, including photo or video records of items and a list of where they are stored. Keep smaller items like jewelry locked up at all times. Do not allow access to cash or credit card.
- Be present
Check in regularly with both the caregiver and the care recipient to monitor the quality of service and see how the relationship is developing. Make unannounced visits if you are close by. If you live far away, ask a trusted friend of your loved one to pop in at least once or twice a month.
- Use technology
If your loved one will allow it, video cameras in common areas like the kitchen or living room can provide additional monitoring and theft protection.
- Monitor transactions
Have all mail and statements for financial accounts redirected to your home. Monitor all of a senior’s accounts online frequently.
- Watch for warning signs
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Large, frequent or unexplained bank withdrawals or fund transfers
- Changing from a basic bank account to one with more complicated services
- A new person conducting financial transactions on a loved one’s behalf without proper documentation (such as a financial power of attorney). Never ever give a power of attorney to a caregiver.
- Checks that are written as “loans” or “gifts” or have suspicious-looking signatures
- Sudden overdrafts or unpaid bills
- Changes to wills, trusts or powers of attorney
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Orange County, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including mandatory awards of attorneys’ fees and costs to victims and families in financial elder abuse cases under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.