Tips On Hiring In-Home Caregivers
Use A Bonded Agency
Spotting And Stopping 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 credit cards, cash, checks, and time to access bank account information online. 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 to money or bank accounts or any authority under a Power of Attorney. Financial elder abuse is a crimes 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 Santa Clara County or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout 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
Hire caregivers only through a bonded and insured home-care agency. Don’t use an online classified site like Craigslist or put an ad in the paper. When you approach an agency, come prepared with questions about who they are and how they operate:
- How long has the agency been in the business?
- Is the agency financially sound?
- What experience and certifications are employees required to have?
- Does the agency do criminal background checks on its caregivers?
- Does the agency conduct drug screening?
Spotting And 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
- 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 Santa Clara County, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com. 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.