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An aging family member’s increasing vulnerability and inability to manage everyday tasks are among the top reasons that companion care near Solana Beach can become necessary. Tragically, there are times when caregivers give in to the temptation to steal from those whom they serve.
Whether a worker simply feels he deserves additional compensation for his service, or whether his sole purpose was to initiate a complex fraud scheme, financial abuse is a real possibility which family members must diligently watch out for.
Advice From the NCPEA
The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) has provided a simple, helpful list of definitions, warning signs, and other information related to financial abuse of elders. The single most important element that reduces the risk to seniors from abuse by strangers or caregivers is close attention by responsible family members.
Financial abuse can come from nearly any source—a mailer that promises a prize, a phone call by telemarketers, or, most disturbingly, family members that betray the trust of their aging relatives. The risk of elder financial abuse can be significantly reduced by utilizing caregivers from an in-home care company that utilizes strict criminal background checking methods and only hires caregivers with no criminal history.
Live Scan Fingerprint-Based Caregiver Background Checks
A Servant’s Heart Care Solutions utilizes the statewide Live Scan fingerprint background check system. With Live Scan, prospective new caregivers are required to submit their fingerprints for checking by the California Department of Justice.
The California Department of Justice sends A Servant’s Heart a report that tells the company whether or not the candidate caregiver has any prior criminal convictions. A Servant’s Heart only hires candidates with absolutely no prior criminal convictions.
One last note: one advantage of using the Live Scan system over other criminal background check methods is “subsequent arrest reporting”. Other background check methods only provide a “snapshot in time” as of the date the background check is conducted.
If the candidate commits a crime after that, there is no way to detect that without performing a subsequent background check, something that most home care companies do not do. However, the Live Scan system will automatically notify an employer if someone they previously background checked with Live Scan is arrested for any crime after the date of the original Live Scan report on that individual.
Signs of Financial Abuse
What should you look for to identify whether an elderly individual is being taken advantage of? The best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on bank accounts and credit card activity.
If there is a danger that a senior might be less capable of making sound financial decisions than he was in the past, it is time for sharper minds to take over some or all of the bookkeeping. Unusual checks, withdrawals, credit charges, purchases, and incorrect signatures are some of the most common signs that something irregular is happening.
San Diego County In-Home Care Can Help
If a senior is blessed with a trustworthy professional caregiver from a professional home care company in San Diego County, his or her family has an important ally in his defense against financial abuse. A good caregiver can act as a buffer between an elder and potentially harmful marketing and criminal scams. If you don’t already do so, plan to review your aging loved one’s financial records regularly and make sure he has the help he needs in making decisions concerning money.
The NCPEA’s informational page is available at: http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/fin_abuse.html.