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Hiring a Caregiver


My mother is 90 plus years old and now in need of a little bit of help every day.  Her children all live out-of-state so this help is going to be in the form of paid caregivers. 

Mom is not at all interested in moving and none of us can leave our families to move in with her.  She is absolutely refusing to leave her hometown to be closer to one of her children.

We are left with the need to secure help for her.  We all share a concern that mom will give away her valuables to the caregivers.  She is a person who always wants you to leave with something.  She is rather generous that way.  Our concern is that she will send valuables with paid help, treating them like family.

Is there a solution to this concern we have, so that we can prevent a problem from the start?



There are several ways that you can approach the situation that you find yourselves in.  Knowing your mother’s proclivities, you are already anticipating things leaving her home.  I recommend that you take appropriate actions upfront to prevent discomfort and pain after the fact.

Your first source of control is your mother herself.  She needs to be made aware of the risk associated with bringing strangers into her home that will spend some unsupervised time in her house.  Most caregivers are honest and will not steal.  There is though that small percentage, (and you will not know who it is.  You cannot tell by appearances alone) that will pocket items from her home.

Your mother needs to understand that if she makes a habit of sending people out the door with things people will come to expect and maybe start asking for things they would like. Make clear to your mother that valuables need to be locked.  Leaving jewelry, cash, check books, or credit cards lying about is simply asking for trouble. Help her to figure out a way to lock up these items, yet still have access to them.  She should not give the key or code to a paid caregiver.  Also, be honest with your mother.  Caregivers as a group are very kind and loving.  They are not family.  They will not be there unless they are paid, no matter how it feels. 

Think about cameras for the front and back doors that make a recording.  That way you will have a record of everyone who entered her home each day.  This is valuable information should large items that could be carried are taken and a nice record  of who was there each day if anything goes missing.

If she hires someone individually a police record is essential plus references from past employers.  Never take someone’s word, do the research.  An easier route is hiring a caregiver through an organization, though do make sure that they are thorough in their hiring.  Never assume that an organization is doing a criminal background check or obtaining references.  Only licensed providers are required to meet certain standards.

As with anything, it is important to do your homework and prepare mom and the home for strangers in the house.



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