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care worker issues - Carers UK Forum

care worker issues

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We have 3 care workers that I use regularly for longish sessions (3-4 hours) from different agencies at a time to enable me to go out to work (I do 2 days per week). They are paid either through direct payments or we supplement that ourselves. Although some of my work can be done on computer at home I have to go into the office or to meetings every week. Mum is comfortable with the 3 that I use (used to be 4 but the 4th moved away.) and thinks of them as almost family. However I now know one of them is stealing cash (a very large amount went last week) and I don't know which or how to deal with it. If I let them know, they might all leave either through guilt or through feeling uncomfortable that I think they are guilty. Mum sleeps more and more now so if someone is here 3-4 hours there is a lot of time to be going through everything. Suggestions anyone? :(
Denise, sorry to hear that. Are they sometimes there together? that is, can you not work out which one it was - probably not without losing a lot more cash. The usual method is a videocamera, if it's possible to set one up without it being obvious. I know they aren't all obvious. On top of that you should start using a safe. But of course the thing would be to find out which carer it is. Maybe others have better suggestions. It would be hard on your mother even getting rid of one of them, of course.
Hi Denise
How awful for you. It may not be a better suggestion, but could you purchase a lockable cash box as a temporary measure. You can keep the keys safe. If the carer touches the box it will have fingerprints. They have no reason to touch a cashbox. Not much help to you I'm afraid. Clutching​ at straws for you! Or maybe ask the police for advice.
Viewing the problem from another angle - is it possible that Mum has 'moved' the cash and put it somewhere 'safe'?? I can't remember if your Mum has dementia or not, but mine did and regularly hid any cash (and her cigarettes :shock: ) somewhere 'safe' so that no-one could take them. I would regularly find either or both stuffed into shoes/slippers/pocket of her dressing gown etc. I was still finding hidden caches when I cleared her flat after she died.

If you're sure that is not the case then I'd suggest speaking to the agencies to check if there have been other complaints about missing items; and if that leads nowhere then maybe you should involve the Police - but you do need to be sure that it is one of the care staff that are responsible.
How horrible for you.

As she got older my mum kept misplacing things in her over full house, then I got asked if I'd moved it? When she went into hospital for an extended length of time the consultant told me to remove all valuables from the house. I searched high and low for her brass carriage clock, formerly my grandmother's which I loved and looked forward to inheriting. Couldn't find it anywhere. Neither could I find her Halifax passbook.

When emptying her house after she went into residential care, I found the carriage clock in a blanket box in the hall and the passbook under the lino at the bottom of the wardrobe!

However, her cutlery did go missing, I kept having to buy teaspoons until I bought some cheap and nasty ones from ebay. My mum gave her gardener a key to her garage, bad move, lots of tools went missing. Even her special daffodils were taken from the garden. Next spring I saw them all again, flowering in the gardener's garden. He lived next door to my brother.

Removing all valuables and money from areas the carers have access to is really the only answer - is your bedroom locked when they are there?
Hi Denise
My mum 'lost' her engagement ring, her ruby 40th wedding anniversary ring, a gold cross and chain and other favourite jewellery. Never found. We had a lot of carers in and out but as neither Mum nor I could remember when she last wore the items of where she she'd put them it was difficult. She had a habit or wrapping the rings up in tissue paper and it could have been chucked out! Anyway, I did call the police and they were very sweet and sympathetic but couldn't do much, especially as I hadn't got any clear photos of the missing items. However they did offer to install covert cameras if we wished.I refused the offer because if was very 'locking the stable door'. Instead I removed any jewellery of the slightest value, locked her jewellery cases and hid the keys and took photos of ornaments etc after marking them with one of those ultra violet visible ink pens. The other thing I did was count the paper money in her purse every day and I initialled the corner of all notes she had so they were identifyable. Mum was heartbroken and I was kicking myself for not being more careful. The two carers who were 'possible' in my mind left soon after and nothing ever went missing again.
My advice to you would be to call the local police for advice as to how to 'catch' the culprit and take all precautions you can with anything of value -even sentimental. I know how sick and upset a theft by someone you ought to be able to trust makes you. You could check Mum's insurance and see if the cash is covered. Didn't help me because again no photos and no valuation.
Hi Denise
I think Elaines advice to consult the police is right. It could be that one of the carers(who you trust) is inviting someone in who is not so trustworthy. If it is Carer related its likely to be happening elsewhere too.

If it proves to be Mum at least you'll have a tale to tell :blush:
My head is spinning! I have been in contact with the local neighbourhood police via pm on twitter; they would like to be more involved than I am encouraging. I do not need to lose all 3 of these people as they are my lifeline. I have been very angry and also feel betrayed. I have bought 3 small safes and am trying to find one of those small spy cameras to set up. I so hope mum has hidden the money - with her dementia she has no real idea of the magnitude of this. Cynically I think the police would find this easy pickings for their results figures. Meanwhile 3 young people, all of whom have financial needs and are hard up, will feel suspected and one will have ruined his/her life.
To them I am comfortably off. In fact everything I have is the result of years of work - I have never not worked and even now at 67 do a 2 day week. Having started poor and been brought up in a council house I have tried to ensure finances are sound and there is a roof over my head - and my parents' heads too. I can see that desperation can cause desperate acts and feel guilty that I may have placed temptation i someone's way.
Monday I will arrange for the locks to be changed too in case someone has had copies of the keys made.
What a bloody nightmare!
Denise, it's always a tricky balance, isn't it, between sympathy and 'judgement' or whatever. It could be that if, say, one of the care-workers IS stealing, that they have 'good cause' (sick children whatever!) or it could be they just think 'sod it, I'll help myself thank you!'.

We can't really know.

I do think, too, in the end, prevention is better than 'cure' (or 'justice' or whatever). IF you mum has indeed hidden the money (and let us hope she has), or even if one of the workers has taken it, then its 'too late' to get it back anyway - (hopefully you might find it squirrelled away somewhere!) - the only thing to do now is what you are doing, ie, preventing it happening again by securing any other valuables at all. (Do the safes have to be in your mum's house - could they be 'carried away' by a thief, or would a thief only reveal themselves by so doing?).

One thought. Could you, separately, take each care-worker aside and say to them 'discretely' something like, 'Look, I'm so sorry to ask this of you, but could you 'keep an eye out' for mum's things? I'm a tad worried about (name of one of the other care workers)?'

Then say the same thing to all of them, about one of the others! It's a kind of 'sides against the middle' strategy that 'reassures' each of them that you don't suspect THEM, but 'one of the others'????

That said, the best way, as you are doing, to safeguard your mum is by not having anything worth stealing in the house in the first place...

All the best at such a difficult time - I know what pressure you are under, and this is the last thing you needed!
Unfortunately it is my house where mum lives... so all my 'stuff' is available for easy pickings too- jewellery, computers, financial records etc. Hardly anything locks (only external doors) and my bedroom door and its frame have not been friends for ages, in fact a previous builder said it was too big a job to get it sorted - no idea why. So I can't even shut my door, let alone lock it. The magnitude of this is daunting and I was feeling pretty rubbish before this happened so energy is not high.

Thinking hard... :sick: