Here are some tips to prevent theft in old folks homes:
- DO leave a big note in the fridge which says “Please ask Anne/ Janet/ Jane first if you would like something from this fridge.” ( Rather than your parent thinking: “Was there an apple there or wasn’t there – I must be going mad and deeper into my dementia!”).
- DO write your relative’s Full name the date and their room number on all creams, toothpaste, knee-highs.
- DO keep an ongoing written inventory of soaps and other supplies that you leave it visible in her/his cupboard.
- DO insist that the CCTV’s be activated and observed by a staff member.
- DO insist on a kosher Mezuzah for her/ his room’s protection, or get one yourself – if you are a Jew/ she-he is a Jew – even if you’re not a Jew – it may help.Check twice in every 7 year period.
- DO NOT collude or be complicit with what most relatives, friends – the entire Planet actually believe and say “IT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE”. Stop the plague of theft from old folks.
- DO insist that the staff-contracts have A STATEMENT OF THE ZERO POLICY FOR THEFTS FROM THE RESIDENTS and that every staff member be obliged to sign this as part of an integrity oath in their work contracts.
- DO have in mind to NOT let your relative “supplement” the low salaries of the care staff nor the profits of the care-staff company.
- DO help the staff in coping with their own ethics, morality, good conscience and self-esteem by insisting on a NO THEFT POLICY at the home thereby PREVENTING the staff falling into wrong-doing.
- DO praise the staff often for their care of your relative which might be a thankless job and accompanied by burnout.
- DO find out whether you are permitted to give gifts to the staff in your own capacity to express gratitude.
This worked for my mother Anne. She was robbed in her first month and never again in 3 years of living at a home. Everything was returned in that first month except a pair of earrings. I was vilified initially, then respected as was my mother.That and self-respect of staff for themselves were the goals.
Prevent the unnecessary further erosion of dignity. It is not necessary to be complicit. One tiny act of resistance is a good enough beginning.
It works, it really does.