How can I handle a situation where my father's caregiver is taking advantage of him?

1 answer | Last updated: Jan 10, 2015
A fellow caregiver asked...

Any advice on how to handle a situtaion where my father has become very fond of his caregiver, and the caregiver in turn is taking full advantage of the situation. She has begun leaving him alone more often, going out more nights (she's a live-in), and she is also borrowing money from him. When we try to discuss this with my father, he gets very defensive of her. My father is still very with it so we cannot replace her without his consent. Help!

Expert Answers

Oh dear, lots of red flags here. I especially don't like the part about the caregiver borrowing money. At the same time, as you point out, there's not much you can do, at least legally. And it sounds like she hasn't overtly done anything illegal. Is she repaying the money she's borrowing?

However, I do think you can (and should), have a private talk with the caregiver to:  a) Confirm her responsibilities and the family expectations, and b) Run over basic "do's" and "don'ts" from the family's perspective. The purpose of this conversation is to basically put her on alert that the family is "watching" and cares very much about her job performance. This alone might serve to kind of rope her in.

If this doesn't work, more drastic steps may be necessary. Here's a link to information on elder abuse.

It's great that your dad likes her - this is so important - and it would be wonderful if this arrangement can be saved. But it's hard to tell the caregiver's motivations. She may simply need reminders of her professional boundaries. Or, she's untrustworthy, and needs to be replaced.

I think you should tell your dad about the talk, after having it. Brace yourself for an angry reaction from him. But this is OK. Your priority is to protect your father. Try to explain it this way. Best of luck.