I've been my Mom's primary caregiver for over 9 years and at the end of my ropes as most of us are. My Mom is on a lot of meds, I have also managed them for 8 years. I finally hire a caregiver from what I thought was a reputable agency (and would love to give names) to help out in the evenings. Thought things were going good for 2 weeks. That Friday evening, the aid called in sick with family issues. Saturday morning, I discovered approx. 80-100 oxycodone pills missing from the bottle. Only 3 people had been in the house since I last checked them - my sister, my husband and the caregiver. Reported the theft to the police, discovered $ cash missing from a bedroom. Called agency to report what had happened, stated I was not making any accusations, but based on what happened I was termination our relationship with the agency. Also turns out the caregiver was the scheduler's niece, who had just moved to the area. Husband was looking for work to support kids, but money was obviously tight. My Mom really liked this young lady and is devastated by the betrayal and deceit. My mom struggles with bad depression to begin with and this just sent her over the edge. At this time she will not even consider another caregiver, understandably. My problem too, is how do I ever trust another agency. I feel like people lie and tell you anything you want to hear so you will hire them. And it's frustrating that I feel that I can't write a review concerning this agency because I really have no proof, but I would sure like to prevent other people from being hurt. Guess, just looking for new ideas, thinking out of the box, trying to find a solution.

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Gardendreamer, I'm going to add one piece of "post barn door" advice, take it or leave it. A few years ago, I simply stopped telling my mom depressing or anxiety provoking stories without endings, is how I put it. Does my mom need to know that my 30 year old DIL had a TIA, that my new grandson has a heart murmur? Nope! Did your mom really need to know that the young lady was maybe a thief? Maybe not.
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We often have Comfort Keepers care givers in our home for mom. They're a national chain and perform background checks.

Tom put locks on two of the bedroom doors where our private papers are, cash is kept, and, in one room, my jewelry and a handgun. We also lock up our two cats so there's no chance of them being accidentally let outside. I give mom the key and tell the caregiver she has it in case there's an emergency such that the cats must be let out.

Mom's medication is kept in one of the locked rooms. If the caregiver is to dispense meds to mom, I have a little pillbox I set down on a sticky note with the time boldly marked. The care giver gets a written set of instructions that include:

Our address in case she needs to call 911.
My cell phone number (first call)
Tom's cell phone number (if I can't be reached)
My cousin Sue's cell phone number if she's in town
The location of mom's DNR (on the fridge)
Where we're going and approximately what time we'll be back
Her food is clearly marked in the refrigerator and instructions remind the care giver that mom gets nothing other than what I've set out for her to eat. (She can't have anything salty and often tries to cajole the unsuspecting care givers into giving her pickles!
There's generally lunch meat, potato salad, or maybe chili, etc. for the care giver.

You probably wouldn't believe it, but I'm a trusting person. What I DON'T want to happen is what happened to you . . . suspecting someone of theft if it can at ALL be avoided.

So. Now that the horse is out of the barn . . .

Most people are care givers because it's something they least that's my take on it. Odds are, because she was related to the scheduler? They didn't do a background check. Or maybe they don't even DO them.

The lesson is a valuable one for all of us here: trust the caregiver, but lock up the jewelry. I'm sorry this happened to you. Honestly, though? If it WAS her - and it certainly sounds as though it WAS? You may be fortunate that she just didn't walk out on mom some evening and leave her unsupervised.
Helpful Answer (3)

I'm really sorry for the expense, disappointment and unfortunate experience you've gone through, as well as the negative impact it's had on your family and your mother.

I suppose that except for the personal betrayal, misrepresentation and effect on your mother, it's similar to other negative experiences probably most of us have at some time or other.

I'm not at all dismissing the impact or seriousness of it. On the contrary, I'm just thinking that one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole barrel. I've read here of problems that others have had but also read of caregivers who are good. And some of them are posters here.

Perhaps you can try to depersonalize the issue and ask what you would do if you had a bad mechanic, doctor, banker, or other professional. You would probably analyze the situation, think how you would avoid it again, and move on. Use the experience to avoid a similar situation in the future - i.e., what can you learn from this so it doesn't happen again?

What did the police do? Were they able to recover any of the cash or pills, and what did the agency scheduler and owner have to say, especially in terms of restitution?

You write that you "really have no proof"; did the police report and/or investigation find anything that you could use to publicly share?

Perhaps you could share what you might have done over, such as a background check of the person and the agency, or other tips you might have for anyone who considers hiring a caregiver through an agency. That might be one way you could prevent others from a similar experience.
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