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I'm posting this blog in case something bad happens.

I'm posting this because I am concerned that the couple who help my Mother and me might harm us, and we have nobody to help us that lives nearby.

Has anyone had help in your home for things like cooking, cleaning, or various other tasks, but the people helping you make you uncomfortable, or they take advantage of you?
This is the case with a couple who helps my Mother and me.
They borrow money BESIDES what we pay them, and don't pay it back. They use my Mother's car, (with our permission), and we pay for their auto insurance. I provide them with a cell phone for emergencies, and I discovered they were making international calls to Jamaica with it. The other day, one of them was opening boxes containing personal items of mine, just five feet away from me! I don't think he took anything, but I have heard them discussing taking things. I have begun hiding valuables. I am looking for other help, but it is beyond our means. Professional aides in our area charge $200 a day or more. I don't know what to do. Frankly, they scare me to some degree because my Mom and I are vulnerable. In the beginning they seemed great, but the situation has deteriorated. He is a doorman in our highrise. His girlfriend is our primary help, but she is on state assistance for emotional problems. This is sadly the level of help we can afford. We are not on Medicaid, and don't want to go on Medicaid.

I'm afraid for my Mother and me it's not as simple as just firing them. The male works as a doorman in our building. Again the other day he was going through my personal things. He took one of my dvd's and hasn't returned it. One time he grabbed my hair and told me I'd better get a haircut. I feel like I need something for self-protection! They have access to our cars, mail, and to us physically. The woman is mentally unstable. I am afraid of what they might do if we DID fire them! I don't have any family nearby to help us. We are alone. I am disabled and my Mother is almost 86. This is not a simple matter of firing.

Has anyone been through a situation like this? What would you do?

Views: 8

Comment by SydTheSkeptic on April 5, 2009 at 1:11pm
Hey Kevin. Your situation reminds me a lot of what Torigirl35 has had to endure for years! She's made lots of vlogs about her helper and how she's tried so hard to find better care but there's not a lot of people looking for such low-paying jobs in her area and she gets no assistance from the state even though she's home-bound and unable to even sit up for long periods of time.

Her helper sometimes doesn't show for days leaving Tori without food or assistance and she's actually caught her on tape being verbally abusive toward her.

This is most likely a much bigger national issue than we think it is. It's horrible that on top of everything else you have to deal with, you have to feel unsafe in your own home simply because you have no means to afford proper care. It's friggin' pathetic, really, that our society devalues human life in such a way.

I'm so very sorry for your troubles...
Comment by photo2010 on April 5, 2009 at 3:50pm
@Syd..You're right, it is a huge national problem that is being swept under the carpet. Those who get the best care are the rich, and at the other end of the spectrum, the totally indigent are afforded some government assistance, but not great by any means. If you fall somewhere in the middle, where most of us are, good luck, you're pretty much on your own. Some people are lucky and find help who are reasonable and safe, but that's rare. This is going to be a national crisis as the population ages..it probably is one already.

I didn't realize that Torigirl35 had such difficulties with her helper. She shows and talks about her current helper in many vids..is that the person who has left her alone? I actually have considered capturing some of my conversations with our helpers..I may do that.

I am sorry in many ways that I didn't 'prepare' somehow for this eventuality. But we were not taught about this stuff growing up.

Thanks for your comments Syd. :)
Comment by photo2010 on April 5, 2009 at 3:58pm
@Christine..I will have to look into things like you suggest. Most of the available help of that nature seems geared toward the indigent..but it's worth a look. :)
Comment by photo2010 on April 5, 2009 at 4:02pm
@Suze..I feel bad burdening everyone with my problems. Thank you for your concern. I'm going to look into those organizations.
Comment by photo2010 on April 5, 2009 at 4:13pm
@Chig..Thanks for looking up that info. I'll check it out. I have spoken to the local "disability advocate", and it was not helpful. What you state: "It became clear to me that there is a lot of run around on the web for the disabled community.", is accurate, and applies to local and state agencies as well. There is no cohesive overseer that I have found yet.
I do have some people that I will involve if/when I make a change in service. Thank you for your concern and help.
Comment by JustAnotherUserName on April 6, 2009 at 10:09am
Hi Kevin...If it were me I'd first contact the guy's boss at the building and explain what's been going on. Leave nothing out. Tell him you want to fire them but you're afraid.

I'd also consider reporting the cell phone stolen (then you don't have to pay the early termination fee, but the provider will turn it off) and changing the locks (your building should help you here since it's their employee you're afraid of). Remove them from your insurance and ask for your car keys back. If they don't give them to you, call the police and report the car stolen. Don't lend them any more money. Don't expect repayment, either, unless it's a large amount. Then there are other remedies available to you.

In Florida, where I used to live, and here in California, the the Department of Children and Families also oversees the welfare of the elderly. Rather than focus on the disability aspect, you're more likely to get assistance for her if you focus on that aspect. You will end up benefitting from some of that, in addition to the fact that they will be able to hook you up with other services you may be entitled to.

I would then call the local vo-tech school and see if they have a job board where the student nurses check for work. I would also post an ad on Craigslist (make up a hotmail or google address so your "real" one doesn't get clogged up), describe the position, ask specific questions they must answer via email, and get at least three verifiable references. Post that the job pays $12/hr or whatever you can afford to pay. Require that they have their own car and cell phone.

In short, you must take control of your own life back. You have the brains and the means to do it. If you have people that can help you, ask them! But you must get this couple out of your life!!

Remind me again of your city so I can do some local checking around.

Hang in there :-)

xo
Ruth
Comment by NatureJunkie on April 6, 2009 at 11:27pm
Wow, Ruth, all of that makes a lot of sense. I've been looking back in on Kevin's blog to see if anyone had helpful advice for him, because I'm concerned for him but I had nothing helpful to offer (sorry, Kevin!). But all of that sounds very practical. Kevin, I think that along with Chig's advice to procure an advocate, Ruth's plan sounds pretty darn good.
Comment by photo2010 on April 7, 2009 at 4:30am
@Ruth..Thank you for all the great advice. I am taking in everyone's suggestions and considering a plan of action. xo

@NatureJunkie..Procuring an advocate who is effective is unfortunately not a simple matter. I have been working on this for a long time. Even attorneys who supposedly specialize in eldercare have been rude and dismissive to me. I greatly appreciate your concern. :)
Comment by Jim on April 8, 2009 at 5:02am
I, too, think Ruth's advice is worth following, especially the part about taking back control of your life. Best of luck, Kevin, and please keep us posted.

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