In Jan. 2012, Saanich Police received a complaint about a local elderly victim who had $450 cash in a sealed envelope which had gone missing from a drawer. Suspicion immediately turned to the home care worker, the only person outside the family who had access to the residence.
After entering into an investigation which took five months, approximately 8 separate incidents were uncovered by the investigator. These incidents all involved the same worker and had some striking similarities.
The most disturbing trend was that all of the elderly victims were found to be suffering from either really poor health or dementia. This made the investigation much more difficult given the level of incapacity on the part of the victims. Other similarities included that the worker had been hired privately, outside a service, on several occasions.
This particular care worker, a 44 year old local area resident, was interviewed by the investigator. Given some inconsistencies in her story a request that she undergo a polygraph exam was made, which she declined.
Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to support charges at this point in time.
Things you can do to prevent an elderly relative from becoming a theft victim:
• Use a reputable care organization
• Remove all valuables to a safe location like a safety deposit box
• Be involved in the process of selecting a worker
If you intend to hire a care worker privately, here are some precautions:
• Check and verify identification
• Have forms for the employee to fill out to collect all necessary personal data
• Ask for them to produce a criminal record check from local police
• Conduct some internet queries. For instance, compare the telephone number and address provided and check various online public databases
There are many local seniors organizations and services which can also assist in providing advice to families who are providing care to an elderly loved one.