Tips to Prevent Financial Abuse by Home Health Aides

{2:49 minutes to read} Home Health Aides are invaluable partners in enabling seniors to stay comfortably and safely in their homes. The vast majority are competent, caring and provide excellent compassionate service.  
 
However, there are exceptions. Among the most challenging are aides who gain their client’s trust and affection in order to manipulate the situation for their own benefit. Such abusers often target a senior, make their acquaintance in a public space such as a park or store, strike up a friendship, earn the client’s trust, offer to help, and begin to take advantage of them. Others may have known the client in a different capacity and leverage that relationship to become aides—all for personal gain.
 
Many seniors targeted by such aides are lonely, ill, or beginning to lose some executive function, making them especially vulnerable. The problem is that if the senior is legally competent, he/she is entitled to overpay aides or give them gifts and may strongly resist change even when it is in the client’s own best interest. Sadly, abuse of this type is on the rise.  
 
The aides of one of our clients chose the occasion of the client’s beloved wife’s death to double their hourly rate and to begin to charge for hours not worked. The resulting cost was well beyond what the aides’ work was worth and exceeded what the husband could afford. However, since the husband was legally competent, the only recourse was to persuade him to change aides. He was fond of the aide, so the persuasion took two months of gentle conversations with his family and us.
 
Once he agreed to the change, we developed a termination plan that satisfied him. Because he had been paying the aides on the books (as we strongly recommend all clients do), he knew they would not be without income as they were entitled to unemployment compensation. He also provided a severance package with the condition that the aides do not contact him again, thus avoiding future unpleasantness. Finally, the actual termination was handled off the premises by Eddy & Schein client managers, so our client did not have to be involved.
 
To prevent abusive situations, we encourage clients to hire aides either from reputable agencies or by the recommendation of professionals—such as aging life care experts (also known as geriatric care managers). If aides are hired directly, we prefer to have a written contract in effect that specifies all terms. We also strongly encourage that aides be supervised by family members or an aging life care expert to assure optimal care and less chance of abuse. If you have questions about how to hire aides, please contact us.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Eddy & Schein in New York at 212-987-1427 or in Los Angeles at 626-395-7572.
 
Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Partner/Co-Founder
Gideon Y. Schein
Partner/Co-Founder

Eddy & Schein
212. 987.1427
NYmail@eddyandschein.com

626.395.7572
CAmail@eddyandschein.com

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