What should I do when I was accused by an elder I was a caring for?

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I was a caretaker for an older couple for about 9 months and we got along great, his family thought I was doing a great job and they did not know what they would have done without me. My husband lost his job and had to find work elsewhere which cause us to move out of state so I put in my notice with him. I wanted to ask him for a small loan but was scared to so I talked it over with his daughter and she told me to do what I thought was right. I waited for a couple weeks until I worked up the nerve to ask him, at first he said he had to talk it over with his wife. A few days went past and he asked me to come over and he handed me a check that he said was a gift for being a great caretaker, I appreciated so much because it helped us out a lot. After we finally moved, me and the older couple stayed in touch. When I came back to visit family I would stop by his house to say hello and catch up. Times got hard where we were at that I could not come back anymore and we did not keep in contact. Several months went by until we had to move again, after we moved and stayed settle for a few weeks I got a call from my sister saying she heard that I had been in some trouble from an elder man with dementia. I was shocked because of what he had said about me. He told police that I stole thousands of dollars from him and I absolutely did not. After hearing that I got mad and a little upset because of how hard I worked for them. I want to know some advice on how to handle this situation because I have never been in this situation. I have to think the worse because I do not know how I can prove my innocence. If anyone has any advice at all please respond, Thank you.

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I'm so sorry you are having to cope with this. If he gave you a loan, you should be able to prove that amount, so if he's saying you took more, then that may be a provable lie. He likely doesn't remember it all the way it went, but you are the one in trouble. I assume you had legal counsel. That's really the only way to straighten this out.
Good luck. You've had a rough time. I hope you get this taken care of properly.
Expert Answer
36 helpful answers
The initial circumstances surrounding the money are irrelevant now. What matters is how the person you cared for perceives his "gift" or "loan" to you. You have to make it right. If you thought it was a gift and he thought it was a loan...you still have to make it right. You should probably seek legal counsel and I'm also assuming there is some kind of a paper trail here. If i were you, I would seek legal counsel. Going forward, you must be extremely careful about the circumstances under which you accept money from an elderly person. Circumstances change and unless you have all the details in writing, you can't take any financial renumeration from someone. You don't want to be perceived in this light and no amount of talking to the elder will change what he thinks the situation is now. If you are an independent contractor and take care of seniors in need, then you absolutely must have a contractual agreement or some kind of a written agreement with them. Stipulate your duties, hours, what you are expected to do and how you will be paid. Given the current situation that exists now, you need figure out a way to make it right. Good luck to you.
You are never required to prove that you are innocent. The state must prove its case so relax. These things happen with aged people. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to borrow money from a client. As a caregiver you are in a relationship referred to as a fiduciary one. In a civil case you would be required to show that tis was a disclosed transaction but you will still be required to repay what you admit was a loan. Of course, a debt is only a debt and you cannot be imprisoned for not paying a debt. This is not 17th century England where they actually did have a debtors prison. If it is impossible for you to repay this loan you might consider bankruptcy but that is not a good idea unless the debt is so huge that you would find that bankruptcy is the only answer.

If this is more horrible than I imagine, just suppose that you were arrested. Then say only one thing, "Lawyer" and nothing more.If you are destitute the court will appoint a lawyer to defend you at no charge. Of course, you have the family to testify for you.

All that being said, looking from your side, borrowing this money was a huge mistake but it was not a crime. Accepting your report, I do not suppose that you will never hear more from this matter.

One thing though, the size of the loan is important. If I were you, I would discuss this with the family. They may well be on your side. Another thing -- did you sign a note? If you did and can produce a copy that would just about completely establish your good faith. It would also be evidence of your good faith if, in the past, you have made an effort to repay the loan or part of it.

Here is the disclaimer -- I am no longer an active attorney having retired a number of years ago. My comments rely upon common law and there may be local statutory laws that would make my comments inapplicable.
Unless you have been summoned to appear in court, I would not do anything. If you do get called to court or to be questioned by the police, then you should have a lawyer with you.
My experience with abusive elders and families taught me to remember that business people see elder care as business, when business gets personal it may seem merciless, when extra needs arise paper trails are necessary, the best protection is to not ask relatives for anything personal, stressed people want your help, but not any of your problems, being the sole caretaker can be exhausting,
having a church family is very helpful, the elders have wisdom here.
I agree with mommaq. Maybe nothing will come of it. If you are in another town or state so much the better. But next time get any loan or gift in writing with witnesses. Actually don't take a loan from unstable people. I understand you heard this through the grapevine so to speak. I wouldn't contact the older couple again. They seem like too toxic.
FIrst of all, its only hear-say so forget it. Second of all, its either a mistake of maybe he is trying to claim something on his insurance, try and let it go and dont look for trouble ok? I know its tough, I was accsued once also but proved them dead wrong. Take Care.

You needed a loan, which you got in form of a "gift," which turned out to be a down payment to somehow lock on to future care that was never rendered when you feel off the map. The fact that you keep on fretting about it tells you it's a loan. I assume the old couple is on a fixed income, and this kind of people usually don't make this kind of gifts to someone they've known for less than a year.

See if he can give you a copy of the cancelled check or a statement that certifies it was in fact a gift. The caregiver community is a small "ghetto," and word gets around in a jiffy. You don't want to be labeled as someone who preys on the elderly. Clear your name.

Sorry, I meant "FELL" off the map.
I agree with plannerman...do not borrow money from the people you work for, especially in a situation that involves care of an elderly person.

I dont know you from Adam, but my intinct tells me that you were trying to take advantage of this person...and you got caught...I am glad you got caught. You should have gone to friends and family or a bank rather than to someone you work for for a loan...especially a loan from an elderly person you work for.

Shame on you...I hope every one that does things like this gets caught and are required to repay the money they "borrowed" from the elderly person.

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