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  1. TopTop #1
    Stargazer's Avatar
    Stargazer
    Supporting member

    Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    For anyone using the services of IHSS (In Home Support Services) Sonoma county's most vulnerable population please consider these words of caution. This involves screening workers more in depth who help the elderly, the disabled, the mentally challenged, accident victims, etc in their homes. Disabled people depend on support services so they can struggle less and remain in their homes comfortably. Yes, many IHSS workers are dedicated and willing to work for a bit under $12 per hour that is taxed as income. Some people may do this for the work experience while they are in school. Certain individuals do this for heart reasons because they are kind and care greatly about others. They may being doing this type of work for a family member or friend that is disabled and in need of services.

    Then there can be the few that do this to enter one's home and take advantage of the situation in a multitude of ways. Please realize that there are front people who check out fine on background checks and present well in person. At the same time, they could be criminals or criminal fronts for other criminals who have ulterior motives that include stealing or more. This could involve gang members, drugs, fencing stolen goods, etc. A background check on your IHSS worker is not enough these days if you do not know them personally or are highly recommended. You must go to the IHSS worker home and check them out more thoroughly than ever if you do not know them well.

    Criminal and drug activity is on the rise in Sonoma county. There are many desperate people who steal or do whatever they do as their lifestyle. Please be smart and extra cautious.

    It only takes a one mal intentioned worker with gang or dishonest connections to cause lots of pain and grief in someone's life or many lives. These kinds of criminals many times prey on the most needy and vulnerable. Please take my message to heart. A little extra effort in the screening process is worth more than I can say about how critical this process is for anyone depending on IHSS.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-21-2015 at 02:19 PM.
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  3. TopTop #2
    Stargazer's Avatar
    Stargazer
    Supporting member

    Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Please realize that most of our systems are broken. Chaos happens each time CAPITALISM raises its ugly head!!

    Also when I have more time, I will attempt to raise awareness about the importance of checking out everything yourself. Or find someone who is qualified to do so if your judgement is not reliable and your track record has proved it to yourself.

    This includes IHSS (In Home Support Services) when one does not know the worker well and where they live. This refers to all nonprofits that one donates to and volunteers with. www.guidestar.org

    Ever hear of organized crime? Ever hear of desperate people and certain actions that do occur? Ever hear of identity theft? Ever hear of people who worship the dollar as their GOD?" Ever hear of "Use Common Sense" "If it is too good to be true, it is not."
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  5. TopTop #3
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    I've become very suspicious of organizations and individuals that market themselves as doing good for other beings, both human and animal. And, if they're "vetted", who's doing it? This includes secular and spiritual arenas. I've experienced the hypnotic manipulation that many people give up personal control to. Fortunately I'm a researcher, and can get information much quicker than many. And I trust myself more than anyone.

    I admit that I didn't consider IHSS as a place where criminals can find a way to enter our home, and steal from us. But, of course, even with fingerprinting and background checks, it's not a perfect system, and someone may discover a new opportunity with IHSS. I'm wondering if the victims report this, and how we might access this information/database. Like, the database of sex offenders, it could help us all be more aware.

    I've been fortunate in hiring IHSS providers, with the exception of one who wasn't aware of the difference between garbage and recycling. Not horrible, but there were other reasons I had to let her go.

    Thank you for sharing what you know, and I hope to see more.
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  7. TopTop #4
    Stargazer's Avatar
    Stargazer
    Supporting member

    Re: Red Cross wants MONEY, even though there is still need for items. PLEASE READ!

    Victims of identity theft or other crimes from a criminal or an imposter (a front for a criminal which can include gangs) are most of the time too ill, mentally challenged in some way, or the victim dies and never knew what has occurred. If and when their relatives or friends find out, if ever, it becomes and is, an entangled mess. There is not much effective enforcement, accountability or oversight. Remember "Many of our systems do not work." Do not be fooled. Usually the damage is already done and is not reversible. Ever hear of squatters? Ever hear of internet fraud? Please realize" These are modern times and issues. The past is the past. This is the "NOW REALITY" Very sad Unfortunately, very true.

    Another story for another thread. Stay safe!! Be extra cautious. In these times of online access to everything about everyone and everything, one must understand it is best to try to accept what I am suggesting. We all make our own choices. I put this out to the community with complete conviction and dedication. It is not necessary for me to prove what I am stating. These facts I am stating can be proven and is reality. With so much being over priced or very expensive with many who live above their means or have expensive habits - BEWARE. BE SAFE & NOT SORRY.
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  9. TopTop #5
    creekfeet's Avatar
    creekfeet
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Excellent note of caution, thanks. I think theft may not be the biggest fear, but other sorts of offenses certainly do occur.

    Anyone looking at IHSS work as a way to break into houses is risking possible arrest and imprisonment for very little potential return. IHSS patient-clients are poor people. We have to be impoverished to qualify for IHSS assistance. Somebody scamming to use in home assistant jobs as an entry for theft, would do far better to apply for hire via one of the more expensive, private, in-home care services.

    So what's left as IHSS workers? I've had great workers who were college students needing part-time income, and semi-retired but still-energetic people. And yes, people who just wanted to do good for others, sincerely.

    And then there are people intent on abuse, it's true. I have known IHSS workers who were abusive or just a little unstable. Not necessarily people you want to invite into your house and trust with your vulnerable family members.

    A background check may or may not help screen those people out. In the long run, no matter whom you hire, from where, and to do what sort of work, you'll be trusting your instincts, to some extent, and, to some extent, learning the hard way. As with anything in life, we have to be as open as we can while remaining as cautious as possible.

    Another balancing act for the Equinox!
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  11. TopTop #6
    phooph's Avatar
    phooph
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Abuses can go both ways when it comes to the caregiving profession.

    I worked for a disabled woman under IHSS. For 18 months I was a live in and also got pay for hours worked, which was a good deal at first. However, one of the woman's disabilities was a brain disorder which caused her to have paranoid delusions, and she eventually began to imagine I was plotting against her. I had to move quite suddenly when her delusions reached a peak. Three weeks later she was begging me to move back in, but I didn't want to go through that again.

    I did work for her off and on for a few more years when she had need of extra help and her current workers had no more time available. Eventually I quit when I discovered that she and one of her other workers had cooked up a scam in which they would over report hours worked and split the money paid for the unworked hours. I got shorted pay for work I did for a month.

    IHSS then instituted a requirement that all workers be fingerprinted at their own expense, which I used as an excuse to bow out. My fingerprints are already on file due to a previous job I had and I told her I couldn't afford to pay for it again.
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  13. TopTop #7
    creekfeet's Avatar
    creekfeet
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    In any employment situation, abuses can go either way. The thing that makes abuse by employees especially sensitive with IHSS, is that the employer is a vulnerable, disabled person.

    An employee can do what you did (and, it sounds like, with good reason) and just walk away. A disabled IHSS employer may have a far more difficult time than the average employer does, in removing and replacing an abusive employee.

    But the worst part of working with IHSS is the bureaucracy, which should be serving both the employers and the employees, and seeing that the employers receive good work and the employees receive fair wages. But the bureaucracy is slow, and full of errors and outright abuses, itself.

    Ideally, our society would support both the disabled people and the caregivers more fully. As it is, we all just have to look after - and/or watch out for - one another.
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  15. TopTop #8
    AJL's Avatar
    AJL
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Does anyone know of a good background checking service or system to use?
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  16. TopTop #9
    Stargazer's Avatar
    Stargazer
    Supporting member

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Quote AJL wrote: View Post
    Does anyone know of a good background checking service or system to use?
    Personal referrals. Going to one's home. Ask yourself some pertinent questions. What are your expectations? Use your best possible intuition. Have a few others you know and trust help evaluate the entire situation to make sure the fit is compatible both ways. Be Fair and Realistic. Treat others with respect and kindness, no matter who they are. Realize and understand that most people cannot live on $12 an hour less deductions and expenses. I.E .Owning a car and paying for their own gas.

    Either the IHSS worker is a friend or family member doing this from the goodness of their heart. Or for whatever reason, the IHSS worker does not care about how much they are paid. Or other reasons? Try giving the IHSS worker some extra money, food or something additionally if their services bring great value to a difficult situation. Or consider hiring a qualified health care worker through a private agency that will be responsible for their employees when someone has serious medical issues requiring quality care and attention. If possible, try to not depend on county services to solve one's life with extreme difficulties, unless there are no other alternatives.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-28-2015 at 04:47 PM.
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  18. TopTop #10
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Quote Stargazer wrote: View Post
    Personal referrals....
    Perhaps I/we should ask/require that IHSS workers get a free listing in our Business Directory? That way we can collect referrals/reviews from other Waccos. It also begs the questions if the IHSS employers should also have a listing with reviews. Could get messy/ugly... Whadya think??

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  20. TopTop #11
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    You could "offer" it, and see if you have any takers. From what I've seen, there's a shortage of IHSS workers, so employers put up with those who are less than desirable. The other part is that it could be problematic to post negative comments, and Wacco could get into trouble for providing the venue.

    Reviews need to come from both sides. There are some awful situations out there for IHSS workers, but they stick it out because they're desperate. So, we have desperation on both sides.

    I always give my providers perks, like if they cut up a watermelon for me, they get half of it. I've also given other things, like chocolate bars that I know they like. I try to make their time with me pleasant, though cleaning is still a chore. They are never rushed, and can rest when they need to. Most of my workers have become friends. I've only had to fire one person in all the years I've had help.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-29-2015 at 01:21 PM.
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  22. TopTop #12
    DreadTori's Avatar
    DreadTori
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    As a care-giver with over 30 years experience and an IHSS worker for the last 5 years, I agree with most of what everyone is saying. What most folks don't realize is that over 60% of IHSS workers are family or friends of the disabled poor person, who may not have been "poor" before their disability, lost their jobs because of it, and then were forced into getting rid of all their savings so that they could qualify for help. There is something terribly wrong with a system that does this to people.

    The other 40% come from the registry, where people are hired with almost no effective and thorough training on how to behave in a care-giver situation. Yes, they get some minimal training in nurse's aid type classes, but personal characteristics are NOT vetted at all- they don't care if the person is patient, kind, empathetic, compassionate or mean, abusive, and manipulative. I have met quite a few registry workers and have found that a disturbing number of them are very young, very entitled and self-absorbed, with no life or work experience plus their work ethic is almost non-existent. They show up late, leave early, spend way too much time on their phones and most importantly, do not pay attention to the client's needs and tend to ignore requests and boundaries.

    The other thing I've noticed is that there are people who suffer from environmental sensitivities- to scents, noise, EMFs (from cell phones & laptops), and just general energy from people and there is no acknowledgement of this or any training in how to deal with these folks. These people are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine and this population is growing. There is also no training in how to deal with traumatic brain injuries, aphasia, stroke, mental illness. Like doctors and nurses, they get no training on nutrition and its importance in a person's health.

    This is why it is so important to have someone supervise the worker and basically have them be on probation for the first few months. I would even recommend hidden cameras for the first couple of times the worker is there alone with the client and I'm not usually paranoid like that. I've just seen that a small number of workers are very good at presenting what looks like a professional, knowledgeable front during the interview and then do a 180 after being hired. Granted, it's a minority, but who wants their loved one to experience someone like that? Better safe than sorry.

    There are many wonderful IHSS care-givers here; fortunately, they are in the majority. But they are not paid well, nor are they respected as professionals in their field. Many, like me, have had many years of supplemental training and education in disease processes and treatment modalities, plus tons of experience, but we're treated like unskilled laborers. It takes a very special person to be a care-giver; and I'm not tooting my own horn. I have met some incredibly patient and empathetic care-givers who deeply love their work and feel called to it. They are folks who practice their faith or convictions about being of service to humanity by taking care of people who no one else will.

    Around the issue of pay for IHSS workers; it's not $12 an hour in Sonoma County; it's $11.65 and taxes are taken out, so for most workers, the real pay is often less than $10 an hour. There is no sick pay, no vacation pay, no overtime; health insurance is offered to those who work more than 75 hours a month, but you don't really get it; you get put on a waiting list, which is usually a 2-3 year wait. So, the reality is that our tax dollars are subsidizing health insurance for these low income workers. Interesting, huh? I'm a low income worker and my taxes help subsidize others' health insurance........ only in America, where classism is rampant!

    Home care workers have been advocating for better pay for years and years. Every time we see a light at the end of the tunnel and we're told that we're finally going to get overtime and vacation and sick pay, it gets snatched away from us at the last minute. The most recent fiasco was that we were going to get all those benefits that other workers have enjoyed (and taken for granted) for decades, but Jerry Brown vetoed it.

    Even though I don't agree with stealing from a client, have never done it and never will, I can totally understand the desperation some may feel when paid crap wages, with no benefits, and they are faced with taking care of someone who has more than they do, even if it's just a little more. For some of them, their desperation outweighs their morality and they steal. Imagine what it's like to not be able to afford the rent because your landlord just decided to raise it by 30-50%, which is exactly what is happening all over the county.

    Not a pretty picture; more like a set-up to fail.
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  24. TopTop #13
    creekfeet's Avatar
    creekfeet
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    I wish I could afford to pay extra, to hire and retain good workers, but as DreadTori pointed out, we have to be poor to qualify for help.

    There was a short time this summer when I felt well enough to maybe be one of those family members working as IHSS care provider for my daughter, but after a short burst of pushing myself to pick up the slack when a worker left, a huge resurgence of my own illness taught me that I could not be my daughter's caregiver and still needed care myself.

    So much more I could add...if I weren't too sick. Much gratitude for caring about this issue!

    I hope events like the one publicized by this flyer, may help. (It's not my event, just passing it along.)

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  26. TopTop #14
    DreadTori's Avatar
    DreadTori
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    I wanted to add a little more to my posting from awhile ago.

    IHSS not only does not screen people for compassion, patience, helpfulness, etc. They do NOT manage their workers after they are hired. The only time I have seen IHSS go after one of their workers is when that worker was caught stealing or physically abusing the client and it got reported.

    More often than not, it's not the worker that gets investigated in cases where the client complains about inappropriate behavior; it's the client who gets investigated! I know of several cases where IHSS sent out someone to grill the client and "inspect" their premises. This is not something that they are supposed to do, but it's been done too many times. I knew one person who had had a stroke, had expressive aphasia (inability to speak) and the IHSS case manager interrogated this person until they were incoherent. When the client stopped the 'interview" before the case manager felt it was complete, the case manager became irate, called the client a liar, then proceeded to phone the client everyday for a week, badgering them to "tell the truth." The client had been stolen from, verbally and emotionally abused, and taken advantage of by the worker.

    If one can afford an agency care-giver, some of them do screen more thoroughly, but you'll pay $28-35 an hour; the worker will get the max of $14 an hour.

    To me, this is just wrong.
    Last edited by Barry; 10-11-2015 at 02:34 PM.
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  28. TopTop #15
    jayritt
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Greetings!

    Maybe someone can please steer me in the right direction-as I am ready to rip my hair out.

    Both my Mother and I are IHSS clients. My Mother passed in 2016, so I decided to switch to my Mothers worker, as Mom never really had major problems with her, other then she was late all the time. What a nightmare. To make a long story short...I fired her for taking my car for three days, when she was just going to the store and would "be right back"-it came back trashed. Had to file a claim with my insurance. She also overdrew my account to the tune of 800+ dollars,maxed my credit cards...and did all this the first week I moved into my new house. She left me in the middle of the living room with approx. 40 moving boxes opened and rifled thru, I was at a hotel while the new Landlord and his crew moved me in. I was at the hotel for 3 days while she went thru almost all my belongings.

    Yes, I have to take some of the blame. I trusted her- she had worked for my Mom for nearly 2 years. I did give her presigned checks-3 of them, not realizing she would go into safeway buy a pack of gum and write the check for 200+over. Credit cards? yes she had access, never permission to use them, but Mom used to let her order stuff if Mom needed it. Car? She borrowed to go to store, never in a million years did I see that coming.

    Anyway, did report it to the police, and was given an "incident report number" and also a police report number. Police already knew who she was, knew her name, everything. They told me that she has been working the system and doing this for a long time, even family members.

    REPORT THIS IMMEDIATELY TO IHSS-help us Jill get her fired from the system, our hands r tied..

    This became my mission, I called IHSS, I called Elder Abused-as well as many people that saw and helped me thru this emotionally and physically. To be left in a house with empty boxes, one chair that was accessible, oxygen cords all over the place, had to use all my portables until we found my oxygen concentrator, and I had to ask my new landlord to send someone to help me. Plus rent was due, but stolen, so I had to beg family members to help-for her to leave anyone in that position is just cruel.

    IHSS didn't do a thing. I gave them reports and they even told me she had just rec'd another complaint from her boyfriends mother who she takes care of. BUT THEY DID NOTHING. Elder Abuse hotline became a joke because we never once rec'd a return phone call. We finally have up after about a month of just calling, along with all those that helped calling.

    IHSS said ok, we did log this under her name and profile. I said what is that going to do? She said "I will be honest with you Jill, nothing will get done. She will continue to work and do this to people and no one will do a thing." Her name can even get put back on the whatever Authority. Worse? IHSS is not liable or responsible for anything their workers do. I am appalled.

    Now someone please explain this to me. IHSS runs the background check, they do the orientation, they put them on the list. They teach them how to fill out their timecards, and walk them thru the IHSS HANDBOOK/MANUAL PROVIDED BY IHSS. I later used an online background check that was only a couple dollars to run the report, and found out she has a history of drug use and theft and spent time in jail. IHSS REVIEWS AND PROCESSES THEIR TIME SHEETS, AND EXCUSE ME PAYS THEM BY CHECK OR DIRECT DEPOSIT. They are receiving other perks as well from none other IHSS.

    But, I am responsible for hiring and firing and notifying IHSS upon their termination. I am not allowed to receive copies of timecards I SIGNED, I am not allowed to receive any documentation that might help in a fraud case.

    I WANT TO KNOW WHO GOVERNS IHSS? Is it Federal or is it State run? I would like to review the codes and the laws regarding their employment and IHSS responsibility for these girls.

    And finally, if any of you get time? check of the Lake County Ca Sheriff recent arrests. Review the women on nearly every date on the site, you will be shocked how many of the women list their occupation as IHSS. Bravo on the background searches.
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  30. TopTop #16
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

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  32. TopTop #17
    barfly's Avatar
    barfly
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Try Sonoma County Adult Protective Services. There are really good people there.

    https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Se...ging-Division/

    APS hotline +1-800-667-0404

    Quote jayritt wrote: View Post
    Maybe someone can please steer me in the right direction-as I am ready to rip my hair out.

    Both my Mother and I are IHSS clients. ...
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  34. TopTop #18
    sedna
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    It is a minefield. IHSS has not had providers for me for years: they tell me to find my own! I have been blessed to have had several really fine helpers, but you must be very careful. I do not trust care providers until I have personally known them for years. The background checks are a joke. So you must take care of yourself, and these are some of my guidelines:

    • Ask for references, get a story, and check, See if the story matches.
    • They never use my car unless I am in it. If they have no car. they can get a bike. No car or bike is a red flag!
    • I never give them more cash than items are expected to cost.If it is a small amount, I ask to just reimburse them.
    • Never give anyone a blank check unless you expect them to empty your account.
    • Ditto with giving a credit card.
    • Never leave cash, checks, credit cards, or valuable possessions in a room where you are not present or have a camera that records (I had someone steal jewelry while I thought they were vacuuming my bedroom).!
    • Do not loan any money or items if you ever want to see them again.
    • Never allow them to be in your home when you are not present.
    • We want to think that caregivers have hearts of gold...and many do.
    But this is an easy-to-get position with vulnerable people, which makes it ideal for scammers. And because IHSS does not pay well, some people decide that you owe them more than what they get: watch out for that attitude!

    Best of luck.

    Quote jayrit wrote: View Post
    Maybe someone can please steer me in the right direction-as I am ready to rip my hair out.

    Both my Mother and I are IHSS clients. My Mother passed in 2016, so I decided to switch to my Mothers worker, as Mom never really had major problems with her, other then she was late all the time. What a nightmare. To make a long story short......
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  36. TopTop #19

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    This awful stuff shouldn't be happening to people who need care. And I know there are many, many IHSS workers who never do any of this rip off stuff but the ones that do shouldn't just be out there still doing it. People go to jail for stealing ice cream at the grocery store, right? Why are these thieves allowed to keep doing this? Lilith

    Quote sedna wrote: View Post
    It is a minefield. IHSS has not had providers for me for years: they tell me to find my own! ...
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  38. TopTop #20
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Who goes to jail for stealing ice cream? I imagine only minorities might.

    IHSS workers get away with stealing, because many times it's small things that go unnoticed, or it doesn't get reported; they just get fired. No reason is necessary for firing someone. I did it when the person I hired didn't know the difference between garbage and recycling.

    I did catch someone take something who said she thought I told her she could have it.

    Quote Lilith Rogers wrote: View Post
    This awful stuff shouldn't be happening to people who need care. And I know there are many, many IHSS workers who never do any of this rip off stuff but the ones that do shouldn't just be out there still doing it. People go to jail for stealing ice cream at the grocery store, right? Why are these thieves allowed to keep doing this? Lilith
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  39. TopTop #21

    Re: Be careful when hiring IHSS workers

    Please everyone----stop picking on IHSS caregivers---it is wise to be careful whenever you let people you don't know well into your home, especially unsupervisored. Repair people, housecleaners, painters, whoever!

    The things that have been written are of course true, and I have written long posts elsewhere to be cautious when hiring caregivers, particularly when the person needing care has memory/alzheimers etc. issues.

    I have worked as a caregiver for many years, for IHSS as well as other agencies and privately.
    IHSS pays much less, and frequently the clients expect much more, than other situations.


    I could tell you terrible stories about some clients and/or their families, including discovering family members stealing or overdosing the person needing care, about people who've never paid what they owe me, etc.etc.etc.

    People are people!

    When I work for IHSS it is because I have a big heart for everyone, especially those who are low income enough to qualify for IHSS.

    Please please please, stop picking on those of us who are kind enough to do IHSS work---caregiving is usually a very hard job, and many of us care deeply about those we are helping.

    i've told my adult kids, that if I'm ever "out of it" and require a caregiver, and have someone who truly cares and goes the "extra mile" for me---treat them better than gold!

    Usually the better you treat your caregiver, the better and more loyal they will be to you.

    Just like everyone---usually the better you treat someone, the better they'll treat you.

    Don't want to debate, just giving info, and it hurts to see so much of these posts...

    With Kindness,
    d
    PS: I was without a working car for a long time. Please let's be careful and kind to each other. United we stand, divided we fall!
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