By: Jeremy Los
February 3, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- The recent mistreatment of 93-year-old Pearl Harbor veteran Max Bauer in El Cajon has left a black eye on the profession of care giving. His caregiver is accused of leaving Bauer to wallow in filth, also allegedly robbing him. His case is among hundreds of elder abuse cases documented each year in San Diego.
Baby Boomers are quickly reaching the age where they, or their parents, may need assistance with daily tasks. But how do you find a qualified and compassionate caregiver—and avoid nightmare scenarios such as Max Bauer’s?
“Given the important nature of the job, it is essential to find an in-home care provider that works with a certified and well established organization,” advised Laurie Edwards-Tate, the President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare. “Don’t hire from a list, newspaper, or a recommendation from a friend of a friend.”
Adult Protective Services recommends choosing a company that is insured and bonded up to at least $10,000. APS also recommends that those seeking caregivers should request referrals from previous clients of agencies and potential caregivers.
If you’re looking for certified in-home care organizations, you’ll find a list of nearly 100 options in San Diego County alone using the agency/vendor locator at the California Association for Health Services at Home website, CAHSAH.org.
Priority number one for those looking for in-home care is the well-being and safety of their loved ones. An advantage of going through an established organization is the use of background checks and checking up periodically on the patient.
“There was a lack of oversight,” Edwards-Tate said of Bauer’s case. “Certified organizations provide protection and security through constant oversight.”
It is clear to see that in the case of Mr. Bauer, troubling signs were not picked up by those surrounding him. Being able to pick-up on warning signs could help loved ones stop elderly abuse in the early stages.
According to Adult Protective Services, these signs include: dramatic change in mental status, suicidal thoughts, bruising, excessive clutter, filthy physical condition, continuous attempts by a caregiver to get money, and complaints of over-interference from the neighborhood.
If you suspect elderly mistreatment in San Diego County, call Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020.
“It is important to pay attention to warning signs and if you suspect mistreatment to call Adult Protective Services or 911,” said Edwards-Tate. For those hesitant to contact authorities, she offered, “If you are unsure of what to do, whether you are a client or not, feel free to call At Your Home Familycare and we will call APS for you.”