Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

April 10, 2012

Sometimes, Family and Friends are the Enemy (USA)

 Sometimes, family and friends are the enemy
By Cindy Swirko
Staff writer
April 8, 2012

ditor's note: As America ages, more people are hiring at-home caregivers to provide basic services. But do you really know who you are allowing into the home of your elderly family member? The Sun looks at concerns about this growing segment of the health care industry.
Coming Tuesday: In Florida, people who work with children are subject to significant training and scrutiny. Those who work with senior citizens? Not so much. A look at what some are calling “a shadow economy.''
William Sohl is a 70-year-old disabled Air Force veteran with a lot of medical issues.
Living alone, he needs help with his basic everyday health-care needs — he says everything from “the waist down is gone” — and help around the house.
Sohl said he can’t afford a professional, so he came up with a solution. He invites someone — a homeless veteran because he said he wants to help his fellow vets — into his home to do chores in exchange for room and board for as long as the man decides to hang around.
The arrangement worked well, he said, until recently.
One of the men who was working for him, Ronald C. Souva, 30, was arrested in February and accused of stealing a laptop computer and other items from Sohl’s Hawthorne home and selling them to support a crack cocaine addiction. Souva has been charged with multiple crimes, including exploitation of the elderly.
“I don’t have the money to pay a professional,’’ Sohl said. “The VA offers some assistance, but it’s not enough to pay for anybody. The people I’ve had have been trustworthy. Until now.”
Sohl shares his predicament with countless others. He’s aging and needs help, but he has little money to hire a professional caregiver.
Many people in these circumstances wind up hiring a family member, neighbor or someone with whom they connected through word of mouth or an advertisement.
Often, these arrangements work out well. But they can end badly for the client, said Lynne Powell, district administration for the adult protective services program for the state Department of Children and Families.
Just last week, a Port Charlotte woman was jailed after allegedly punching the 82-year-old man she was hired to care for in the face at his home.
The man told the caretaker to stop drinking beer and to clean his house and she knocked over his bookshelf, punched him and tried to prevent him from talking to a 911 dispatcher, according to published reports.
Deputies said there were several hundred empty beer cans in the home and open syringes on the counters and tables.


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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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