To the Editor:
I read with interest the article titled “Caribbean Cruise: Gifted or stolen?” (Nov. 21), about two caregivers charged in an alleged scheme to bilk an elder they worked for, in the Martha’s Vineyard Times. I had a similar experience with two women who provided care for my husband in 2018, when he was homebound with Alzheimer’s disease.
I employed these two women on referral by an acquaintance, and thought nothing of leaving them alone with my husband. Several months after my husband’s death, I discovered that a collection of antique buttons was missing, as were numerous other precious heirlooms that had been stored in the basement. While I acknowledge that most caregivers are good, honest, hard-working people, I wish I had not been so trusting, and had taken measures to protect my valuables. I also wish I had gone through an agency that carefully screens its caregivers, and takes appropriate action when unprofessional behavior is uncovered.
Given the changing demographics of our Island, the demand for elder care is sure to increase, as will commercial opportunities. The Vineyard needs a better system of oversight. Until then, I hope those who privately hire caregivers will learn from my mistakes and take steps to protect their assets and financial information.
Katharine A. Colon