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The indignity of aging: Caregiver Exploitation

stealmemeIn the past few weeks, I’ve been involved with three older adults who have been the victim of fraud and exploitation and it’s both fueling my commitment to serving older adults and whittling away my belief in humanity.

It’s been distressing and discouraging on many levels.

Every year, the National Council on Aging predicts that $17 Billion is taken by businesses, individuals, and charities that use pressure tactics or misleading language to lead seniors into financial mistakes.

CAREGIVER EXPLOITATION: The first older adult lives in an assisted living community. She is unable to manage her affairs now and I pay the bills on her behalf. She’s been declining and a new caregiver coached her through writing a check for $100.  When I discovered it, I immediately reported it to the community and it resulted in the loss of her job.

I’ve been working with this client for more than two years and know that it would have taken at least ten minutes for her to write that check. She would have been unable to complete it without step-by-step coaching. We reported it to the police and hope they will be able to charge her for this crime. What I learned during this process is that she has been working in senior-living communities for almost a decade. YIKES!

Did she start small to see if anyone noticed the check?  Had we not found it, would she have returned for more money every week?

I’m not sure we will ever truly know.  What I do know is that she most likely made my client very uncomfortable and that makes me angry and sad.

I decided that what I could do was to let the owners of the local home care agencies know her name and what she did. Gotta admit that I made A LOT of phone calls. However, I hope that it can help avoid this happening to someone else. None of these agencies would want her on their payroll. I’m sorry that it’s not easier to prosecute those that pray on older adults.

This is just a reminder that being watchful and protective can make a huge difference for those you love. Fueled. 

4 comments on “The indignity of aging: Caregiver Exploitation

  1. Lucky you, that a check was written and you had proof. I can’t prove it, but I am certain that my mom paid for an airplane ticket for her maids’ mother to fly from a foreign country to the maids hometown.
    I am also disappointed in the marketing ploys that frighten older adults into thinking that they are behind in payments for bogus vehicle maintenance agreements.

  2. I had a caregiver place an order for herself and her boyfriend for matching jogging outfits charged to my account. She used a catalog that was laying on a table. (She was married and living with her husband at the time! We had no idea she had both a boyfriend and a husband.) I was lucky to be home that day and received the package mailed to the home address. It resulted in her being fired, the catalog company being contacted and the outfits returned for a credit on the account. She was not charged with stealing.

  3. This makes me very sad and angry as well. Glad so many have you on their side. Also have a question for you…what do you know about FLP’s…good or bad….where would you suggest look for good information?

    • Hey Jean – do you mean for financial planning and wealth transfer? That is really a question for you financial advisor. I don’t seem them much in this area. Tell me more if you all decide to set one up! Curious.

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