First and foremost, do not let the title mislead you! Not every in-home caregiver is going to commit fraud or take your senior and family for granted. However, I have been told of two cases by families who have been defrauded by in-home caregivers, and that’s why it’s worth discussing further to prevent this kind of atrocity from happening.

Recently, I’ve come to know two families that were defrauded by a caregiver working in their homes. They operated independently of any organization (which meant that background checks/drug screenings were not mandatory). Because they were independent, they could charge their own rates, have their own qualifications, and what tasks to be expected of them.

In both situations, the caregivers ended up draining tens of thousands of dollars from their client’s savings; leaving the defrauded seniors with less than desirable quality of life choices! It was awful. Each senior was in desperate need of socialization, so they signed off the use of their funds because they believed their (dis)respective caregivers had their best interests at heart.

While police reports were filed, one of the cases ended with the caregiver returning to a senior living facility when she should not be allowed to offer her services again – EVER!

These kinds of stories propagate because families end up in crisis mode, in need of immediate help instead of planning it out in advance.

Obviously, we want your senior to have as many options as humanly possible and in-home care is always the first choice on everyone’s mind – not everyone can afford it, but if you can, do it! It’s important to hire caregivers that come from reliable and certified organizations so fraudulent behavior doesn’t ensue. There are many out there and we provide a short list of some in our resources page.

The purpose of this article is to provide a run-down of things to check for when hiring an in-home caregiver.

Make Background Checks Mandatory

Always, always, ALWAYS make sure that the care providers undergo background checks and drug screenings – it’s not enough for them to simply say they’re willing to. In the previous two cases I mentioned, I’m sure if they had looked at their work history, much of the heartache and fraud could’ve been avoided.

Check with Multiple Caregiver Agencies

When you’re shopping around for any kind of long-term investment (be it a home, car, or – in this case – senior caregiver), it’s important to compare the cost and task-lists of various companies. Learn what the average responsibilities of caregivers are or what they should be.

If there’s anything to learn from these stories, it’s that just because an independent in-home caregiver may seem like a less expensive route, the financial repercussions could be disastrous – and your senior’s health may be none the better for it. Bear in mind though, we’re not saying “more expensive = better care,” just that you should check the organizations, regulations, responsibilities and price points of various in-home caregivers.