Website Offers Warning Signs For Caregiver Thieves

It should be the last thing people have to worry about when hiring someone to care for an elderly loved one.
But it’s not.

A German nurse in scrubs.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Talk to anyone who’s hired someone to help care for an older loved one, and theft is almost always a major worry,” according to a recent article on Caring.com. “Bringing a paid caregiver into the home, whether through an agency or privately, can come as welcome relief to all, but it can also feel like a risky decision. Stories abound about vulnerable people who’ve been taken advantage of.”
The site goes on to offer some helpful tips in being vigilant on behalf of the person being cared for.
These include receipts that don’t add up.
“If grocery shopping and other errands are among a caregiver’s responsibilities, it’s pretty easy for ‘mix-ups’ to occur,” Caring.com points out. “You might notice items listed on a receipt that seem out of character for your loved one, or certain supplies that seem to run out, and be replaced, with surprising frequency.”
“You may see $6.50 for a lipstick, knowing Grandma doesn’t wear lipstick, but if you let it slide you’re sending a signal that no one’s minding the store,” Carolyn Rosenblatt, author of The Boomer’s Guide to Aging Parents,” was quoted as saying.
Other warning signs, Caring.com states, include the caregiver making frequent cell phone calls while on the job, cultivating a personal rather than a professional relationship with the client, making bids for sympathy and frequently missing work on Mondays.
“This is a classic sign of alcoholism or substance abuse; people go on a bender over the weekend and then can’t make it into work on Mondays,” Rosenblatt told the website. “Unfortunately, alcoholism and chemical dependency often go hand in hand, and they frequently lead people to steal to meet their need for drugs.”

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Helping Seniors Simple and Worthwhile

It’s something most Americans take for granted: we need something, so we go get it, whether it’s groceries or clothing or what have you, and go back home.
But it’s not that simple for people who are homebound. They must depend upon the kindness of others, in some cases strangers, for the basic necessities.
Locally, that’s where Senior Services of Southeast Virginia comes in.
“We help seniors to live with choice and dignity in their communities,” is the mission of the nonprofit organization.
One of the many ways this mission is met is through the delivery of prepared meals to homebound senior citizens.
Another aspect of SSSEVA’s efforts is advocacy on behalf of clients and others up there in years.
“Entering our 41st year, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is the regional organization in South Hampton Roads that supports and enriches the lives of seniors and their families through advocacy, education, information and comprehensive services,” according to the agency’s website, www.ssseva.org. “For one-third of a century, we’ve changed the lives of tens of thousands of the region’s seniors for the better. We’ve served over two million meals, contributed more than six million hours of senior volunteer services, driven seniors over 11 million miles and helped thousands of seniors live in their homes independently as an alternative to nursing home care.
“Through community partnerships with businesses, health care providers and other agencies, you will find us finding new ways to improve seniors’ lives. You will see our staff, advisory council members and board members playing key roles in statewide and regional coalitions and commissions on aging. And you will discover us hard at work addressing issues on aging to put before the Virginia General Assembly.”
SSSEVA recently put out a call for volunteers to help with both meal delivery and become senior advocates. The volunteer drivers make a commitment of taking meals to seniors in their own communities, only once or twice a month. Senior advocates make visits, resolve quality-of-care issues and provide needed information.
Anyone with a little time and some compassion for people who can’t just get up and go get what they need may find additional information about volunteer opportunities at the nonprofit organization’s website.