Can my brother be fired or reported for fraud if he is neglecting my mother?

4 answers | Last updated: Nov 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you report a caregiver who isnot doing their job? My brother is supposed to take care of our mother and he goes off with his friends all day instead, leaving her alone until night. I am unable to care for her myself due to being a singel parent with 3 children. The case worker named Sally, in Grandview WA, NEVER checks in on my mother. She only takes my brothers word for it that everythings okay. My mom is having to clean her own house, and cook her own meals. My brother is supposed to take her to appointments but she ends up calling medstar instead because he is too tired or doesnt have any gas. How can he get Fired or reported for Fraud?? Thanks, Debi

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Thank you for writing to share your anger and frustration so clearly.  It is so difficult to be raising children as well as  trying to see to the care of a parent. Sibling caregiver conflicts are more usual than you may think. 

What is not clear to me is who hired your brother? Also, why was he hired if your mother still has the ability to clean and cook and arrange for her own transportation. Is your brother being paid  to care for your mother by medicaid as part of a family caregiver program. Or was it your mother who hired him?

Hiring a son to live with his mother  is very difficult usless the son is disabled in some way.  If it is arranged that way it often takes a strict outline duties as well as conflict management. At the same time with the economy,families often need to stay together. Your brother may provide comfort  by being there at night.

Your family needs more of a team effort. 

Could some money now paid to your brother be used for someone to clean house?  Is your mother eligible for Meal on Wheels? Is there another family member who could go to visit every two weeks for coffee and doughnuts.  Could you take your children once a week  or once a month to visit their grandmother? The community transportation  for appointments sounds good. Older people who use those services often feel more connected to community and more independent. 

 Anger that comes up so strongly is an opportunity to work on yourself---even if the anger is justified. Try to find a counselling center that sees people on sliding scale. 

Call the caseworker. Ask her for family support services. Ask her for a support group for you. Others in the same situation may have suggestions about how to work with sibling caregiver conflicts.

Try to think of some ways to communicate with your brother that are not combative. Thank him for being there at night.  Consult with him.  Ask yourself, how is he doing?  Is he depressed? Is there anything that you could do that would help?

If you can work this out with the help of community services----they will also assess whether this is a situation of elder abuse or family conflict that can be worked out with better communication.

Community Answers

Puddlejumper answered...

Please also be sure that you are getting the right story. If you are getting the evidence from your mother, check it. The elderly don't always represent the truth and even make up stories.

Jaye answered...

Caregiving can be hard, do you think he is "burned out". Do you think that your brother just needs some time to himself at times?  There are many services available to elders now.  Many home care agencies offer housekeeping and assistance with bathing and laundry. Try to talk with your brother,  and as it were get his side. I sure do wish you well.  I help my parents and I love them, but once in a while it is just hard....

Granny2grandsons answered...

It is so hard to watch what you are seeing going on. How do you know if your brother isn't being abusive towards your Mother and she is extremely terrified to tell anyone? Has your brother ever lived anywhere else besides your Mom's house? Is he a "freeloader"? I sincerely hope not but if so, he is definitely showing a lack of respect towards the family let alone your Mom!

You probably need to go visit your Mom and see if things are missing. People do some of the strangest things - especially if they think no one is watching! After what I have been through - it made me numb! I witnessed my Mother being screamed at by the eldest sibling - and she was within an inch of my Mom's face! My Mom wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do - give the elder sibling 2 choices: 1. Leave now (after all it was her 2nd visit in over 5 years) or 2. Let me call the Police and report her for "elder abuse". That didn't happen again! My Mom told me it had been going on for years but she accepted it only because she wanted the relationship with her Grandchildren from that sibling.

Definitely call your Mom's caregiver's supervisor/main office and if they cannot help because of their "case load" - find someone else! If your brother gives you grief over it - get over there and see what has been going on! It will help give you the "peace of mind" you are seeking and needing!

Sending Hugs!