How do I monitor a caretaker's effectiveness?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 29, 2012
A fellow caregiver asked...

I do not think that my aunt is doing the best she can for my grandmother. How do I get this investigated?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Before you call in any investigators, zero in on the specific things you are concerned about your aunt doing or not doing. You might get the best peace of mind, and the best treatment for your grandmother, by having an informal conversation about the situation with your aunt and other family members.

An important piece of the puzzle is how mentally able your grandmother is to make decisions about her own care. And another thing to throw in the mix is whether there are any legal documents in place that authorize your aunt, or anyone else, to make decisions about your grandmother's health care, living arrangements, or finances.

Such legal documents might include:

  • a durable power of attorney for healthcare, which is sometimes combined as part of an advance directive
  • a durable power of attorney for finances, and
  • a conservatorship appointment.

The first two authorize a person to manage other people's medical and financial affairs if they are unable to do so on their own. The third -- a conservatorship -- is a rather drastic legal arrangement in which a person is appointed to make major financial, legal, and medical decisions for a confused and unguided older person.

If none of these are in place for your grandmother, consider getting them put in place. And if you sincerely believe your aunt is not the right person for these roles, find someone who would be better suited for the duties.

If you are truly concerned that your aunt is abusing your grandmother financially or physically -- or is neglecting her is some profound way, contact the Adult Protective Services agency in your area for help. You can discuss your concerns first on the hotline and locate a local agency if need be through the website run by the National Center on Elder Abuse .