Sunday, June 15th is not only Father’s Day, but Elder Abuse Day too; and Arizona is among the 22 states that do not require a license or certification for in-home caregivers. The lack of regulation in our state means many of our seniors in Arizona are engaging Caregivers who have little to no experience and no formal training in the caregiving profession. What is even more disturbing is the fact that there is no requirement by statute or law that requires Caregivers and or Agencies that employ Caregivers to do background checks, fingerprint clearance card verifications and make sure that that they are in good standing, drug screening, reference verification and caregiver training prior to being hired and going in to someone’s home.
Elder abuse is on the rise nationwide and at the same time we have more and more members of our community finding themselves in the role of a caregiver with no training. Studies show that 1.5 to 1.84 million Americans fall victim to elder abuse annually, and Arizona Adult Protective Services handles approximately 10,000 cases a year in Maricopa County alone. The number is expected to rise, as 1 in 4 people living in Arizona by 2020 will be 60 or older. Cypress HomeCare Solutions a local home care agency that just celebrated 20 years in business is doing everything possible to make our community a safer place. “Aging in place” is what we are focused on because for many of us this will be the only option. Bob Roth, Managing Partner at Cypress HomeCare Solutions says, “It is our duty to make it safe for all aging adults in our community, we owe it to this generation that made our community the vibrant wonderful place that we are all so fortunate to call home. “ Cypress is a results-driven local agency that provides safe, professional care for elders by only employing highly qualified, competent, honest people with a “heart.”
Cypress runs a 50 State background check on every one of their employees, pre-employment drug screen; finger print clearance card must be in good standing, CPR, First Aid, and Caregiver training are all required. If the Caregiver does not have caregiver training, Cypress can provide this for the Caregiver. Being a Family Caregiver comes with a lot of challenges for people. The physical challenges can be limiting but the emotional challenges are even more difficult. Many people find themselves lacking the necessary patience and skills and are simply not prepared to give aid to their loved one, and many experience an increase in stress, which can lead to an abusive situation.
Ironically, 60-90% of elder abuse is inflicted by the senior’s very own family. Dependency, external stress, and social isolation are some of the leading causes of elder abuse. When the need to engage an individual from outside of the family circle, often people look to a home care agency to provide them with the resources to select from in order to be able to care of their loved one. A logical choice but something consumers need to be aware of, there is no regulatory oversight in this trade – no governing body requiring even minimum standards to follow. Cypress HomeCare Solutions and Bob Roth and several other agencies are working feverishly in an attempt to get some kind of regulation in place, there have been 3 attempts in the last 8 years. Clarence Carter, the Department of Economic Service’s Division of Aging and Adult Services Director, explains, “The abuse of vulnerable adults happens in our society more than we’d like to think and often times, because of their circumstances, it’s hard for victims to report what is happening to them.”
Bob Roth sums it up by saying, “When a care recipient opens the door to their home to a Caregiver, they open up their life. Before hiring a home care agency, it is more important than ever to do your research on the company and be sure they are qualified and trustworthy enough to provide care and companionship for the aging adults in your family.”