WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Families with loved ones who rely on a caretaker may feel nervous after hearing about the recent caretaker arrests made after they took advantage of their clients.
As parents and grandparents continue to age, family members may start to consider hiring a caretaker either privately or through an agency. Either way, multiple precautions are becoming more and more necessary to avoid tragedy.
In some cases, it may be safer to hire through an agency.
“We get references, we contact the references, we do criminal background checks,” said Mary Jenkins, the director of in-home services at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging. “It’s a luck of the draw. Someone can appear to be an excellent candidate for the program, and then they go in and do something stupid.”
When things go wrong, your loved one could suffer. Authorities arrested two southern West Virginia caretakers earlier this year due to their actions on the job.
Jessica Lunceford was accused of murdering 76-year-old Sylvia Washington and Susan Harrah was caught on camera stealing her clients’ credit cards.
“It’s very saddening and disheartening when you see that people are taking advantage of a very frail group of people,” said Jenkins.
The Raleigh County Commission on Aging said they are fully confident in the caretakers they send to clients. Hours go into training each and every one of them.
To be sure you or your loved one’s caretaker is not taking advantage, keep an eye on valuables around the house. If you have a concern, contact the agency and the authorities to make a report,