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

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 Answer

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.