I read an article yesterday about a senior who managed to 'catch' a caregiver who was stealing from her using a spy camera placed in a clock in her home. Not only did she have the presence of mind to realize the small amounts of money missing over time, but she also figured out how to catch the thief! Wonderful and amazing. But I also think unusual. I don't think most people would have the presence of mind to figure out what to do in such a situation and it leads one to wonder how many other seniors are financially exploited unknowingly. Especially those who don't have family watching or visiting regularly. Those are the people I worry most about.
I often wonder what kind of person would take advantage of someone in their care, someone vulnerable who trusts them. I wish I had an answer.
When people ask me how to find a good caregiver for a loved one or even a good home, my number one answer is research. As much as its important to trust people with caring for your loved ones - be it children or seniors, there are always people who will take advantage of a situation or worse. We often read stories of bad experiences people have in homes or with caregivers and one has to wonder how common this is. However, even if it's a one in a million chance, it still doesn't negate the need to be careful and get references. If you are that one, it really doesn't matter what the chances were!
So what's the lesson we can take from this? I think it's do what you can to protect the seniors you love. Make sure someone you care about isn't in a position to be exploited by anyone. Listen if they have concerns about someone looking after them. Research choices & options to make sure they are safe. Get references. Be careful. Ask questions. Understand that there are many good people out there but a few that are not so good. Buyer Beware is my rule of thumb for anything we do or anyone we hire for someone I love.