cabanagirl Asked April 2010

How can we convince my parents that their caregiver shouldn't be allowed anywhere near their computer with financial information on it?

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FIL suffers from dementia, is getting more and more confused, is obsessed with his finances but doesn't remember passwords, even forgets how to operate his computer so he asks their caregiver for help in all things computer and my husband is trying to make them understand that the caregiver has no business 'assisting' him on the computer and should not be privy to financial info. They're very well off and with one click of the mouse, all their money could disappear. But neither will listen. They think we're 'over reacting' and have put their complete trust with this caregiver. Any suggestions?

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cabanagirl, you are so right. Who are they going to listen to when every penny they've worked for is gone? When I found out mom was letting Daisy use her debit card, I nearly had a coronary. When I told her it was not a good thing, she pooh-poohed my warning by telling me I was terrible for not trusting people. I asked her what planet and decade she was living in.
Pamela, I also took things from mom's house for safekeeping, like documents with personal info, etc. and I told her I was taking them and why. Next thing I knew, I got a letter from her lawyer telling me I stole them and I'd better give them back or he was getting a judgement against me. I'd had her house deed for 11 yrs in the filing cabinet in my home office and then all of a sudden she tells a lawyer I stole it. What a loving mom I have . . . NOT!
Oh, cabanagirl, don't feel bad for saying you're sick of them. I've said that about mom, I had the right and I don't feel bad about it for one minute. The truth is the truth.
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pamela6148 Apr 2010
If the care-giver is taking care of your loved one, she shouldn't have time to be on the computer. Computers are addicting and before you know it, if she hasn't already, she'll be everywhere on that computer.

Yes I agree to remove certain items from the home, but I did that and after a while was asked to bring them back.

You shouldn't have to call the agency about their policy on computers, they really cannot control what the care-giver does inside the home, regardless of what they say. I'm interested to see what they say after you speak with them.

It's touchy. The care-giver my mom has seems to have taken over too, but when I'm there I let her know she hasn't taken over ME, and when I'm there I'M IN CHARGE OF MY MOM.

Please keep us posted and good luck.
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cabanagirl Apr 2010
Thank you all for your quick responses and your suggestions. I may have a quick word with the Agency about their policies regarding caregivers and computers. Unfortunately, my MIL seems to be part of the problem. She's a control freak and a narcissist (a whole new topic for another day!) and doesn't listen to my husband or me, just says we're kids, what do we know? I need to find a way or someone who can get it thru her thick it's-all-about-me head that it's HER VERY COMFORTABLE lifestyle that could disappear in an instant if she refuses to face reality. God forgive me for saying so, but I'm sick of these 2. Thanks for letting me vent.
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cabanagirl Apr 2010
Thank you all for your quick responses, your suggestions and your support. I may have a quick word with the agency and see what their 'policy' is regarding caregivers and computers. Like AlwaysMyDuty so wisely points out, it only takes one devil to bring an elder to financial ruin. Unfortunately, my MIL may be part of the problem. She's very controlling, extremely narcissistic (another can of worms altogether and deserving of another forum), won't listen to her son or me (we're just kids, what do we know?) and tells us we're overreacting. I need to find a way to get it thru her thick head that it's HER very comfortable lifestyle that could disappear instantly if she continues to act passive/aggressive. Forgive me for saying so, but I'm sick of these 2. I'm trying to help my husband cope with 2 very demanding, uncooperative individuals.
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NancyH Apr 2010
I would tell the caregiver that he/she is no longer allowed to 'help' their patient get online and look at their bank account. That your husband, the son of patient will be the ONLY one that will help with that from now on. AND your husband is going to keep track of how many times the computer is visiting that site from now on. IF that website is visited while the caregiver is there, then there will be consequences to their actions. I would put the ball in the caregivers court so to speak, making them responsible. Obviously the father-in-law can't be trusted, and unless you or your husband are going to watch him day and night, and it's not time to get rid of the computer, then this is the way I would go. One way to keep the caregiver honest, is for your husband to change the password and ID to the bank site. Making him the only one that knows. My friend doesn't have a computer, but that didn't stop someone from trying to hack in to her account. Her bank put a stop, on all online transactions in the future. period.
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195Austin Apr 2010
The computer should be off limits to the caregiver even if you have to remove it from their home many caregivers in my area have been found quility of stealing from the people they are caring for and tell this to your parents if they want use of the computer they will have to use it only when they are with family if the caregiver works for an agency report her and even if she does not I would fire her ASAP.
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toadballet1 Apr 2010
There is a lot of push and pull when you decide to care for your parents. Their world becomes smaller and sometimes confused. They suddenly want 100 percent of your time - and if you don't do as they ask "they will find someone who will." Very often this is a "kind and devoted" paid caregiver. Most are honest, some are not. My Mom has a caregiver who comes in once a month...I tell Mom repeatedly not to share personal info. or giver her access to important papers, etc. She is there to WORK and you are paying her. She may be a wonderful person, but she is not family or a longtime friend.

It may be in your best interests to remove all important documents, jewelry, etc. and put them in a safe deposit box. Remove all records, docs, and passwords from their computer. Make the computer just a place to get email and surf the Web. Identity theft is scarier than taking money from an account.

At the end of the day we can only do what we can do. If parents resist our advice and help...so be it. It is just too stressful to deal with my stuff and their stuff too.
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cabanagirl, I just had to respond to your post. I helped mom hire a caregiver because I work such long hrs, attend to a mobile but ill husband, help with grandkids, etc. Mom thought I owed her all of my time, became resentful and latched on to "Daisy". Daisy seized the opportunity to weasel herself into mom's life, of course with an invitation from mom. My family and I thought it was great for mom to have companionship but we didn't realize how deep the connection was. Not being with mom everyday (she does not have dementia but does have many illnesses), well you get the picture. Recently, mom revoked my POA, took all of us out of her will, accused ME of theft, Daisy moved in with her and we no longer have communication with her except through her lawyer. Mom doesn't have a lot of money but she'll be ok as long as she budgets (that suggestion from me made her furious). I won't ramble but in a nutshell, take a mean,selfish,vindictive mother, add an opportuntist (Daisy) and it equals an outsted family. Mom had every right to do what she wanted because she's never been diagnosed with mental problems.
You're right to be concerned, go with your gut feelings. Don't know what legal rights you have with FIL, these situations can be very tricky. Maybe it's time to see an attorney. I hope you find a solution to this ASAP. Why do these elders trust everybody so much?
There are a lot of caregivers out there who are angels but it only takes one devil to bring an elder to financial ruin.
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