Unfortunately, I hear horror stories from Seniors and their families. These people come to me for help because they had terrible experiences with caregivers that they hired on their own. This is generally referred to as private help. I call them “PIRATE” help, based on their lying, stealing, and cheating.

One dear eighty-year old told me she is scared to answer her phone now, because of the harassment she gets from the private aide she just fired. She got rid of the aide because her jewelry and $250 disappeared. Her jewelry is irreplaceable. It was her wedding rings and other sentimental reminders of her 60-year marriage. The aide is constantly calling her because she is angry over being fired. The elderly lady’s son had to fly from out of state to stay with her until this crisis is resolved. He may even have to get a restraining order to protect his mother from this “pirate” aide!

The elderly woman told me that she had prior, smaller problems with the private aide. For instance, the aide would invite her own family and friends to visit her on the job. Then there were plenty of times when the aide would come in late and demand to be paid anyway. Basically, the aide was taking advantage of the woman whenever she could. The elderly lady felt helpless to make any changes. That’s why she put up with the aide until the final blow of the theft of her money and jewelry.

After I heard this horrible story, I offered some ways to help this lady. In spite of her bad experience, she still needed help from a caregiver. First, the elderly lady should never set herself up as the employer any more. My home health care agency can do this. Then, down the road, if she wants to change the aide for any reason, we will take care of it. If any question comes up, such as, “Is the aide allowed to do this?” then my Agency can step in and handle it. My Agency requires all aides to submit time cards, showing the actual times worked. And most importantly, my Agency’s Director of Nursing personally visits the client at least every other month to make sure that everything is satisfactory. All home health care workers are supervised by my Agency.

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