My mom and cousin hired this company three years ago. My mom has dementia and was not speaking to me at the time. I live 1800 miles away. Fast forward to November of 2019. She calls me and begs for my help. Her short term memory is gone and I could hear the fear in her voice. I told her I would help her. The first thing I did was fire that company. They knew how bad my mom was and they had my POA for financial and medical on file yet they would not communicate with me. I got no updates, schedules or invoices. The director was rude, condescending, and unprofessional from the get go. My mom kept complaining about items missing and caregivers not showing up or showing up and doing nothing. I was not allowed to talk to a caregiver at anytime unless I called her when she was with my mom. In November my cousin emailed me a years worth of schedules and invoices. Wow. What a wake up call. So many discrepancies, schedule changes, charges on my moms debit card that were fraudulent. I could go on and on. Many concerns are under investigation. It has taken me a month to figure it all out. They sent me an invoice for $650. After all my mom has been through with this company and all the BS I have had to deal with trying to manage her care, I have written a letter with dates, charges, discrepancies, schedule changes, etc. they will not answer my questions. They are sending my mom nasty letters to pay up knowing full well I pay her bills. She doesn’t have enough cognitive ability. She has been ripped off for far more than her final bill. I have written a letter laying out all the fraud, scheduling issues, etc. I am deciding whether to tell them I am not going to pay them for the reasons I just stated. My mom and I have excellent credit and I have never defaulted on any bill or loan. I don’t think they deserve anymore money from my mom. If they’d send it to collections, so be it. Has anyone ever been in this situation. What did you do?

Your biggest problem is your 1800 mi. distance and your mom's refusal to consider moving into assisted living. I went through a similar situation with my mom, 10 yrs ago. She was in her mid 80s and living independently in a senior apartment complex. During the early stages of her dementia, when the private caregiver she had contracted with was similarly stealing from her, my mom thought *I* was somehow traveling hundreds of miles in the middle of the night to slip into her apt. and commit the thefts. With the help of some "friends," went to the bank and to an attorney and had my POAs cancelled. Of course, the thefts continued. She called me up asking for help, which I could no longer provide, since I had no authority.

Although my mother was very intelligent and therefore able to mask her early dementia (she even had her primary care doctor convinced she was perfectly competent, and didn't need dementia screening) she was easily manipulated by whomever she was with at the time. I made the 400 mi. trip, took her back to the attorney, had new POA documents drawn up, and to the bank to have my authority reinstated. Then fate intervened in my favor. Within 24 hrs of my departure, my mom fell in the bathroom and became trapped between the toilet and tub. She was found lying there with a dislocated shoulder and transported to the hospital, where they definitively diagnosed her dementia and refused to let her return to her apartment. A few days later I made another trip to arrange to have her placed in assisted living. She literally threw a temper tantrum in the hospital--which didn't help her case--and with the help of social services her refusals were overruled.

My suggestions are:

1) Report what evidence of theft that you have to the police. In my case, I didn't have much proof. Only after I took over all her accounts and audited them did the patterns of withdrawals and inappropriate "gift" checks, signed by her, become clear. But since she wasn't yet officially legally incompetent at the time, and she was no longer a reliable witness now that she was, there wasn't much chance of a criminal prosecution.
2) Seek the advice of a family law attorney in your mother's state of residence to see what your options are. You need to find out what you can do to get your mom into assisted living near you ASAP, as her mental status will only get worse, and your distance from her is problematic. You may have to go through a two-step process like I did; initial assisted living in her present home town, and then a well-timed move to a second facility near where you live.
3) Do not worry about your mother's credit rating. However, do worry that your mother will respond to the billing notices inappropriately and pay the money herself, perhaps several times over. My mom was doing that during the last few months she was living alone.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to DorcasBlack

You might want to visit the DA in your parent's county. Similar happened with my parents with a company called "Americare" out of Las Vegas and Oceanside, CA. They got charged and convicted. He is serving 11 years. She is serving a lesser sentence. It was a husband and wife and the court saw it as mostly as the husband who was the crook. We got back a decent percentage of the money paid. Their assets were sold and the money used to pay the victims as much as it could.
It can get complicated so let the law sort it out. Provide all the documentation you can.
I was 1700 miles away but I made a timely visit. That set the ball in motion. There were already complaints with the company so it was not too hard to have the DA take notice.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to whatsagipper

I would think this agency is under State inspection. They must have a license of some kind to operate using Certified Nursing Aids. Certification of aides comes under the Nurse licensing board in my state. Call ur State Ombudsman and run it by them.

I would think that the agency would have to address your findings within 30 days. Meaning, with detailed paperwork. Showing the billing, then the check offsetting. I would suggest getting a lawyer involved. Even if legal aid. Call Office of Aging for legal aid info.

I know you want to keep Mom in her home but there will come a time when that is not possible. She will need 24/7 care. Its will be what she needs not what she wants.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to JoAnn29
gdaughter Feb 23, 2020
If it is a private company that does not get Medicare reimbursement they can pretty much do whatever they want...but if they do...that's another matter.
Vdubgirl, I agree with those who suggest contacting a lawyer, especially since you say you have some "proof" of the credit card charges. Also, don't worry about her credit score...what will she need that for anymore? I'm glad you found a good care agency finally, but she wouldn't be so socially isolated if she were in a care community, and you'd be doing a lot less management and have more peace of mind, especially if she were near you. Just something to consider. Let us know how it goes.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Geaton777
gdaughter Feb 23, 2020
Not to mention you can contact the credit card company and put the charges in dispute...
Until you are ready to put her in a assisted living I highly recommend cameras in the house. I buy tenvis brand from Amazon. They have a 360 view, they will move with the tap of your phone on the app. You put an SD card inside and it record 24/7. You will be able to see everything that goes on in the house. I highly recommend that you consider assisted living at this point. If you are not able to afford it then cameras are the next best thing. I never caught any theft in the house but I certainly caught a lot of behavior that helped me reach the decision that Mom needed to be in Assisted Living.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Sadexecutor
marte48 Feb 23, 2020
How can you be sure that the same behavior does not happen in Assisted Living?
Before you blow this off, Im a fomer Private Investigator, I disagree with all the answers...just file a claim with the Home health companys insurance policy....end of story. THATS ALL YOU NEED TO DO, CASE CLOSED! (Your spending way too much time dwelling on this, file a claim, with all the proof you have, you will get reimbursed and move on my friend! Life's too short!)
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to magnumpi29

So who's looking after your mother now?

Was it your cousin who was managing your mother's contract with this care provider?
During those three years, did you communicate with them?

You don't think they deserve any more money from your mother... but "deserve" doesn't come into it. It's a matter of contractual obligations, and possibly money laid out on legitimate expenses. Who's investigating the suspected fraudulent transactions?

The agency writes to its client. Its client is your mother. Yes, they know that her finances are managed by the person with POA for her but nonetheless your mother is their client and it is correct business practice to address correspondence to her. If the letters are distressing to your mother, perhaps you can prevent them from reaching her - send them a change of address advice giving your mother's name, care of yourself, at your address; or, if your mother agrees, you could have all of your mother's mail redirected to your address and only forward nice letters on to her.

What event led up to your mother's crisis phone call?

This puzzles me a bit: you say you could only speak to individual caregivers while they were present in your mother's home with your mother. Well, yes. When else? To explain my puzzlement: no worker is allowed to have contact with clients outside scheduled hours or without the supervisor's knowledge. You can't have workers having undocumented conversations or visits with family members or clients. It is difficult enough keeping records without workers calling family members privately, or vice versa. And then suppose... you have a worker who is well known to a vulnerable adult, and the adult likes the worker. On the pretext that she is just making a friendly call, or that a family member asked her to pop in and check, the worker shows up at the adult's home one evening and of course is invited in - without anyone's knowledge, any record of the visit, or any idea of what the worker is up to while in the vulnerable person's home. Shudder!

And there are data protection issues, too. The agency can't give their workers' personal details out, and workers ought not to access clients' information except for directly work-related use.

But of course it is also true that agencies don't particularly want their workers rung up in the middle of a busy shift to be given an earful by an angry family member. It doesn't tend to help.

There is a lot of poor practice around, sadly, and I am sympathetic to your dissatisfactions, and it was foolish of the director not to receive your complaint constructively and address it immediately. Only do bear in mind that the agency seems to have been dealing for three years with a client with dementia - ?and a half-in, half-out cousin? - and were probably doing their best in difficult circumstances. If your mother has been the victim of theft of course you must take it further, but don't withhold from the agency any money she does actually owe them.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Countrymouse
Vdubgirl Feb 21, 2020
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I hired a new company whose caregiver leaves a detailed account every day she is with my mom. It’s a website I can log into. It’s the complete opposite of the previous company.

My cousin never wanted to be involved but constantly interjected himself whenever he felt like it. He picked the company but my mom signed the contract. He set up the ACH transactions for payment. I monitor all my moms financial matters now. I didn’t when they hired this company. He lives five hours away. He’s the type that appears to be “doing” for my mom but he makes bad choices for her. She thinks he’s awesome so I don’t say much. He thinks she doesn’t have dementia even though she has been officially diagnosed.

I tried from the very beginning to work with the director (my mom did not like her) but I needed her in my corner. I would talk to her or send emails about concerns yet she seemed disinterested. She had no credentials but claimed she was an expert on dementia. SMH.

Nothing was ever documented regarding schedule changes and no one was notified even though I asked to be. My mom would get upset about something and call the office and tell them not to talk to me so they stopped communicating with me. The next week she’d call and berate them and tell them they were fired. The director would call me and complain. This went on for months. The director told me my POA meant nothing if my mom could make decisions. Problem was my mom was getting more emotional and paranoid by the week. All this time my cousin was working against me. I won’t go into all of that but it took its toll on me and my family. I set boundaries and stepped away for four months.

When my mom called me for help I wasn’t sure what to do. She was saying checks, debit cards were missing. Several missing items from her condo haven’t been found and my cousin would tell her to look under her bed. I believed her. I visited this past December for 10 days. After a lot of detective work, filing police reports and reporting fraud to her bank, I realized these caregivers took advantage of my mom. Once I compared schedules to invoices, I found charges on her debit card that were made on days no one cared for her. I shut down everything. Her debit card and checking account. When I ordered a new debit card someone tried to swipe it and it hadn’t even had time to be activated. I could go on and on.

That’s when I hired the new company and have had zero issues. My mom has stability and the same caregiver every week. She’s beginning to trust again.

As far as talking to the caregiver, no one would answer the phone when I would call. Not even my mom. It was so frustrating.

My mom wants to stay in her home. She refuses to go into memory care or move closer to me. She can function day to day but her memory is not good. She is grateful for all that I do for her.

It makes me so angry to write this check to the previous company. I’ve never “not paid” someone for services rendered. They took advantage of my mom and shut me out so they could do what they wanted without any accountability. It’s so wrong.
See 2 more replies
I have a feeling that this isn't uncommon. I would alert the rest of the folks that may need assistance by leaving a review on Yelp, Google, and any other resource that you know of. People read reviews and sometimes that's the only way to get the word out.

BTW: ever notice they tend to have Biblical-esque or saintly names, with "angel" or "shepherd" or "savior" in them? I think I'd prefer "Nancy's In-home care" because then you know who you are dealing with -- Nancy. I digress.

I had in-home care (with a shepherd in the title) for my mother and I thought the experience was very frustrating. I think they played both sides -- they had my mother's trust, but I live 75 miles away, and they never gave me the details of my mother's declining situation. At the time, my mother's dementia had spiraled downward; she saw me as the enemy and wouldn't let me in the house. Naively, I thought my mother would "get better" and the care company said "they'd work with her" (like a preschooler being taught to read). They did assist with getting my mother diagnosed -- it came back severe dementia. Even then, the company said they thought the diagnosis was wrong and I should seek a second opinion. How frustrating for me (and expensive!) The two care providers who went to the doctor's appointment told me that "she answered every question". When I talked directly to the doctor who administered the test, and read the report, it was very clear. Either the two care providers also couldn't answer questions correctly, or they were trying to protect their jobs. The report said my mother needed 24/7 care. My mother went to a care-facility within a week after the diagnosis. The whole experience could have been easier had the in-home company gave me detailed information each day.

Thanks for asking the question so I could (obviously) vent! You have done the right thing in removing them from caring for your mother.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to ArtMom58
Intherecliner Feb 23, 2020
In times past, I have been reluctant to apply for work with any agency with a Biblical sounding name. I agree with the above poster and those names are disgusting to me when I know that no one is equivalent to an "angel" or any similar thing. If they really were angels they would be working for free. I also know that it's stressful to have total strangers in your home for extended lengths of time even when they're not dishonest since I've had home care before. They really need to stick to formal business names to display more honesty about who they are. I have also worked for people who are unprofessional and insensitive so I know this is common.
See 2 more replies
Hello V. I'm very sorry that you and mom are going thru this Horrible situation.Im a HHA since early 1980,s.In NYC we have Millions of Home care agencies.The first thing you do when looking care for your mom is What do I need for My mom? WHEN IT comes to handling money...ONLY THRU YOU.
Now they damage the situation...they need to repay.
When you get all the facts call to the department of aging in your mom's community and de department of disable,the department of Alzheimer's and ask to get advice in how to make the agency repay all that was taken.IF YOU see with your own eyes they owe you...BELIVE me if you can get all back. Thru court all is going to return.

Never again let mom handle money...all has to go thru you.
Please call definitely someone is going to advice.Good luck.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sorgalim

Get thee quickly to the county Ombudsman where the nursing home is located, as well as your local and state Adult Protective Services office. And your state representatives. Report this home-'care' company asap to everyone you can think of. Do not pay another penny. Make sure they are more afraid of what you will do to their reputation than you are of what you think they might do to yours. This agency should make good on all loses. They are bonded, right? Licensed? Surely you chose an agency that has these minimal safeguards in place.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to thepianist

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter