Caregiver theft

An article in a local newspaper examined  a local couples lawsuit against two agencies and the caregivers. The article describes how difficult it is for the families in this situation.  The elderly couple alleges that over the course of six months, the three caregivers stole over a half million dollars of their belongings.  The couple had a difficult time confronting the situation since they wee so dependent on them.  When the couple reported the thefts to the agency, the agency did not take them seriously.   The couple then notified the police and when that happened the caregivers disappeared without proper notice.

As people age, memory can become an issue.  Older people will likely question their own memory before blaming others.  The couple boarded up kitchen cabinets and locked rooms but even that did not seem to help.   The caregivers broke into the cabinets and rooms anyway.  The article mentioned that the caregivers deny taking anything and nothing has been found.  It is hard to prosecute in such cases because of the lack of proof as well as no witnesses.  It  is the caregivers word against the couple.

So what should a family do to prevent this happening.  When a caregiver is brought into the home then all temptation should be removed.  Things that are small and valuable e.g. jewelry, gold, diamonds, watches should be either locked away or else removed. There should preferably be some trusted family member involved in this process so there is no confusion later on.   If its not possible to lock the valuables away then possibly take photographs of the items in their places e.g. paintings, sculptors etc.  This obviously wont prevent them from being stolen but at least there is no question that they actually exist and where they should be.  Another option when hiring a caregiver is to install a camera and record the activity in case their is an issue. The caregiver will also know that they are being recorded and are less likely to do something.

The family should recognize that most agencies try very hard to avoid situations like this. The caregivers are carefully screened using background checks, credit checks and calling references etc.  This goes along way to preventing this from happening however there are no guarantees.  It is really up to the family to try and prevent this unpleasantness from happening by removing the items if at all possible.