My mother's caregiver, who I have relied on and trusted for over three years and counting (employed by an agency), really did dumb yesterday. She used my mother's credit card to make a relatively small purchase on her own personal amazon account. I discovered this immediately because of all of the alerts I have on my mother's credit card (this was a "card not present" transaction).
I followed up with Amazon, and they were able to confirm who the purchaser was. I very grudgingly offered the caregiver's name, hoping that it wasn't her. The customer service person said yes, it is this person. I was so deeply disappointed and felt very much betrayed and taken advantage of. As someone who I've put a lot of trust in, and have had tremendous faith in her judgement and reliability over the years--and what could well be years to come -- even though the amount was pretty trivial ($28 and change for goodness sakes), I'm struggling.
Amazon removed the credit card info from her account, and she won't be able to use the card for any further purchases. I also disputed the amount with the credit card company, so all of that is good to go.
The thing is, I don't want to get rid of her, and I feel really conflicted about that. She has been the best caregiver in the past 5 plus years -- all of the others have been flakey and unable to use good judgement (I live 3 plus hours away, work full time, and need someone who can take responsibility and initiative when necessary). This person was someone who would demonstrate good common sense, keep in good touch with me, run interference in any number of difficult situations. When my mother fell last March, she handled the paramedics, the ER, and the cleanup at the house. I was very appreciative and gave her a monetary "thank you" since I know her agency wouldn't pay her more than her hourly rate. Now that it's holiday season, I was (maybe still am???) ready to write her a check for her annual Christmas bonus, which I'm pretty certain other clients don't do.
Sigh...a few months ago, she was driving my mother through her retirement community, and she got a speeding ticket (I was notified since my mother's a resident). The community "police" are hypervigilent and my reaction was to think "hey, it happens" (she was going maybe 40 mph in a 35 zone), and I paid for the ticket so she wouldn't be out the $50. I just thought "don't let it happen again" and moved on.
I'm just so deeply disappointed, and wonder if I'm being a total chump. Searching online, I've found posts that use the terms "elder abuse" and I wonder if I should immediately terminate her, and then embark on the horrendous task of finding another replacement. The agency would of course send someone else, or more than one person if necessary, but the upheaval to my mother (and me, honestly) is just overwhelming to think about.
And I don't know if, or how, I should approach this with her! Amazon couldn't tell me if the caregiver would receive her order or not, but she will be able to see plain as day that the credit card info is permanently gone from her account, so she'll know what's up in that way. I wonder if maybe it would be beneficial to just let her twist in the wind--not say a thing to her, but she'll know she's on notice.
It was such a stupid thing to do. She knows I watch my mother's accounts like a hawk, or she should know. Would it be awful, or stupid of me, if I continued to keep her as my mother's caregiver? I know that it's the nature of the situation (my being long distance, my mother having dementia, caregivers earning a crappy wage for difficult work) that things may go missing, they might take advantage in small ways if they can get away with it, and I've made my peace with that. If she throws a few groceries for herself into the cart when she takes my mother shopping, I'm not going to sweat it. If a tchotchke or two or three disappear, so be it -- that's the way it goes, is my attitude.