You may live out of town or out of state or maybe with all your other family responsibilities aren’t able to check on mom or dad as often as you would like. To attend to their daily needs, you’ve hired an in-home caregiver who is not attached to an agency on the advice of a friend of a friend. She seems sweet and kind, and at least you know that your parent is being well looked after. But do you? Are you in frequent contact with your parent or the caregiver? Do you video chat, Skype or Facetime with them, or at the very least call and text on a daily basis? Or are you just taking the caregiver’s word that everything is going well?
Giving over the reins of your parents care to a stranger is often a nerve-wracking decision. However, once you do, that does not negate your responsibility of checking in to make sure everything is being taken care of. As the owner of Luxe Homecare, I’ve also heard stories over the years that I find concerning, to say the least. I am aware that it takes empathy, dedication, training and more to become a compassionate and dedicated caregiver. Taking care of a senior is a privilege and not something that should be abused. I drill that into all my dedicated and well-trained in-home caregivers.
Elder abuse has many forms, including physical, emotional and financial. I counsel families to check in on their loved ones as often as they can not only for their own peace of mind but also to get a better read on the home situation.
Here are some warning signs to watch out for.
Physical Elder Abuse
Your parent may be experiencing physical abuse if they:
- Have unexplained scratches, cuts, bruises, burns or bleeding and recurring injuries.
- Are becoming withdrawn
- Have unexplained weight loss
Emotional Elder Abuse
Emotional abuse may include demeaning behavior by a caregiver to your parent, or it may come in the form of neglect, intimidation, etc. How would you know if this was happening to your parent? Look for the following signs:
- Appearing scared
- Developing mood swings
- Experiencing changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Being kept from seeing friends and family members or using the telephone, etc.
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial abuse may be a bit more difficult to detect, as it may not impact your mother’s or father’s physical or emotional characteristics. However, you might begin to see:
- Checks made out for large amounts to the caregiver or to one of their family members
- The caregiver being added to bank accounts, as a Power of Attorney or to other legal documents, such as a will
- Unusual transfers of money between accounts
- A noticeable change in your parent’s signature
- Belongings missing from the home
- Credit or debit cards being used for items your parents wouldn’t usually purchase or at stores they don’t frequent.
This is one of the reasons why I advise families to use an accredited homecare agency instead of a private home care provider. It is a safeguard against such events happening. One of the reasons for this is that our caregivers are our employees. We vet them thoroughly, and that includes a detailed background check. We insure and bond them. We make sure that they are trained to meet a variety of home care situations. Most of all, if you ever need to speak to our in-home caregiver or to our staff, we are always available to answer your questions and to make any adjustments in staffing that may be needed.
To find out how we Luxe Homecare can help, contact us at (310) 362-4882, email info@LuxeHC.com. We provide caregiving and home health services to individuals living in the greater Southern California area including Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Malibu, Newport Beach, Pacific Palisades, Riverside and Santa Monica.