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Chicago At-Home Care Worker Charged with Theft from Elderly Woman

Yesterday we discussed the demographics inside nursing homes and the fact that many local elderly residents would prefer to age in place rather than move into a long-term care facility. Each Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer appreciates that fact that few seniors prefer to be in these facilities anyway, which is what makes their mistreatment at the home that much worse.

As the total number of seniors grows and resources dwindle, it will become increasingly important for local residents to have access to alternative forms of long-term care. Considering the current amount of Illinois nursing home neglect, without huge changes in the running of these facilities there will likely be much more neglect when more and more seniors enter these homes in need of long-term care. Obviously one way to fix the problem is to improve the quality of care at all of these facilities. That is a worthy goal that must always be pursued. However, in addition, it is important to also work on ways to keep seniors from being forced to move into these homes in the first place.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of businesses that cater to this need and some changes in the works with programs like Medicaid which might allow more seniors to age in place who otherwise might not be given the chance. However, it is important not to assume that proper care is guaranteed to be provided just because one receives support at home instead of a nursing home. Elder neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation can occur at one’s own home as well. In fact, when perpetrated by friends and family members, this sort of mistreatment may actually be even more common than abuse in long-term care facilities.

For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that at-home care agencies be researched so that families understand the standards that are applied to all workers who will be involved in providing the services.

Unfortunately, not all at-home aides have pure motives. For example, just this weekend the Chicago Tribune reported on an at-home care worker who was charged with senior financial exploitation after stealing from an elderly resident for whom she was supposed to be providing at-home care. According to the story the employee worked for Help and Home, Inc. and was hired by an 83-year old Englewood resident to clean her home. However, according to the charges filed, the woman used the opportunity to take the senior’s checkbook. She made out a range of checks to herself (a total of eleven) while forging the senior’s name. She then cashed the checks, trying to take a total of $1,400 from the unsuspecting senior. The theft apparently took place over a period of about two months at the end of last year.

As with choosing a nursing home, our Chicago senior care lawyers remind all local seniors and their families to ensure that due diligence is part of all senior care choices-from picking a nursing home to choosing at at-home aide for cleaning chores. It is sad that so many local residents view vulnerable seniors as a way to enrich themselves. Yet, it is better to do a bit more research than necessary at the outset to ensure that seniors feel comfortable in not being taken advantage of in any way while allowing another into their home to provide the support that they need.

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