My mother gives money to her former caregiver. We all live far away. What should we do?

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My mother lived at home with part-time care by an unlicensed caregiver until a month ago. The woman seems sweet and well meaning, but her life is a mess, and she shared all her problems with my mother. Mother started giving her small money gifts and loans about three months ago---not much, maybe a total of $500 all told. When Mother went into assisted living last month, we gave her caregiver generous severance and a plan to work off the loans by weekly visits to my mother in the ALF and to Mother's house to water the plants. She did none of that until last week, when she took took my Mother on some errands. And Mother gave her another $100 "because she needs money so badly." We all live far away. What should we do? Mother isn't incompetent---she's pretty sharp in most ways---but she's unwise about money and a pushover for a sob story.

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This experience has taught me to watch out for certain things when dealing with an irresponsible caregiver. I want to share some danger signals.

How does she talk about former clients and their families? Did the family "only care about Mom's money?" Were they "out for all they could get?" (Maybe the family had reason to worry about where Mom's money was going.)

When you're in town: is she "with another client" or "out sick" when you expect to see her? Does she fail to take or return your telephone calls and texts? Tell you her phone was out of order, she changed providers, she programmed it wrong, etc., etc.? (Avoiding you, feeling guilty, scared to talk to you.)

When you visit, is your Mom's pantry empty? Is the home low on or out of detergent, toilet paper, etc., even though groceries have been paid for? (Caregiver stocking her own pantry.)

Maybe the other clients' families were monsters, maybe the caregiver has a lousy phone and is sick a lot, maybe your mother is playing the ponies with the grocery money---but maybe, just maybe, you need to supervise the caregiver a lot more closely, or change caregivers.
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Caryn, Thank goodness the family pays all her bills and monitors her accounts on-line. We make sure that the balance in her personal account is never enough to cause a real crisis if she gives it away. We don't think she or the caregiver is sophisticated enough about money to arrange a loan, change the signatories on the accounts (joint accounts with my sibling), sell the property or anything like that. Anyway, we're dealing more directly with this now. My sib---the money manager---has asked the caregiver for a weekly accounting of amounts received, purpose, and services rendered in return "for mother's records." I talked to our mother about it yesterday, explained that the woman now owed her many hours of services. As we talked, I realized that a big part of the problem is that my mother simply doesn't always remember writing the checks and what they were for, making it very easy for the woman to ask for more. She has already forgotten that previous loans are still unpaid. She has forgotten that the woman stopped visiting her and doing things for her for a period of weeks (until she had spent her severance pay, I assume). .
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Your mom feels sorry for the women and as long as the women is around your mother will give her money. When you talk about "small" amounts of money, unless you have access to her accounts, you really don't know how much she is giving away. Can she afford to give her money away? Is that her normal behavior?My mother put me on her bank accounts as a joint owner, so, I can go online and keep track of things for her and I am her only child. Now that she has had a series of mini strokes, has Dementia, and cannot handle her finances it makes it easy for me to handle all of her bills. I didn't know the full extent of my mother's misuse of her money until she moved in with me 3 months ago and I had to put her place up for sale. I went through all of her files looking for paperwork and couldn't believe how much money she spent. Now, that she needs money for her care, she can't afford it. We will supplement her monthly income for her care for the rest of her life. Fortunately, her doctor wrote a letter saying she can no longer handle her finances and her attorney sent me the Durable Power of Attorney. Now, I can sell her condo and take whatever money she has left and hope it's enough for assisted living for the next several years. My point is, if you think your mom is giving away only small amounts, you may be surprised! Maybe your mother can add you to her account(s) so you can help her too. I hope all the best to you and your family.
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ZoomDots, I'm with you. There are two sides to every story, and there are people who are true saints. I'm lucky to have known more than one. So it's important to understand where everyone in these situations is coming from---and then, as you say, make sure that the elder's or child's or disabled person's best interests are protected. Bless you for your giving heart.
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realtime, you're correct in that a caregiver from an agency knows they could get in trouble. But in the case with my mom, the caregiver and the agency head made sure to perform their business duties on the up and up. They also befriended her, therefore there were two separate relationships. So when mom gave them $$, it was to a friend. My lawyer says this is how they legally get away with it. I said what about the caregiver taking mom to the bank to get my name off the joint account saying to my mom "are you sure she isn't messing with your money"? He said you're mom is sane, it's her money. The caregiver told me once that mom was her client, I wasn't and families tend to get too involved when they shouldn't. It was a real eye opener. My son, from the very beginning told me the lady was up to no good, I should've listened before the emotional attachment began. And just to say, we were very involved in moms life. The "business" end went on in the day while we were at work. The "friend" thing when on at night when we thought mom/gma was safely ticked into bed. I guess where there's a will, there's a way and when the cats away, the mice (or rats) will play.
Good caregivers are a treasure to everyone. The bad apples, I hope, are few and far between.
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realtime, the helper is a woman that is mostly good but with some bad. I usually don't burn bridges completely with people who can be depended on for some things. For example, she does need money and will take my mother somewhere if needed. Having someone I can depend on is important to me. As long as she is not asking for money as a loan or gift, I am fine with it.
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It is so hard, because it is their money. But, what about the look back period, and how can you deal with that if they find she has given away money. I am dealing with this as my mom gave away money to all sorts of churches and charity causes. I tried to stop her years ago, but she said it was her money and she could do what she wanted. It was... but now I have to figure out what is going to happen for this look back time.
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as there are two sides too every story $$$
i am here to say that there are several famlies that i have worked for for free
as a god fearing woman who searches out the needs and well being of a
community that is desperate for decent persons who care about our elders
no matter the pay or not
worked with families who live in trailers or condos or mansions
as there are many an elder who can not speak to their own needs
there are many a family who needs to advocate for the true needs of their loved ones-"FAMILY OR NOT"
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JessieBelle, If this woman works as a caregiver regularly, she must know that it's a no-no to accept money from clients. If she worked for an agency, she would be disciplined or fired for it. Good for you, that you put a stop to it! As to "she's not a bad person"---that's what I want to think about my mother's helper, but it's getting harder. Is this woman there for your mother when it's not a matter of getting paid? Does she ever call just to say hello or ask how she's doing? Does she avoid you and try to keep her relationship with your mother separate from you? Like you, I want to believe the best about everybody, but...but...but there are unscrupulous people in the world, and they do terrible damage. You're lucky your mother wasn't emotionally attached to her. If you think you may need help again someday, maybe you shouldn't count on this woman, but put out feelers to identify other helpers. If your mother can afford it, look at the home health companies, which hold their employees to a code of ethics.
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This same situation happened with my mother. She didn't particularly like the helper, calling her lazy and worthless, but she would "loan" her money. She said it was because the woman had a couple of kids and no money. The woman received child support from the father and money from the government. She drove a nice car, so my mother was just a little "supplemental income." She had no right to be asking my mother for money.

When I lived out of state I couldn't stop it. When I moved here, I stopped it fast.The former helper still owes my mother money. Boldly enough, she still calls her occasionally to see if she has any work for her. I don't tell her to get lost just in case we do need her one day. She is not a bad person, just doesn't grasp that her money problems are not her clients' responsibility.
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