When I read the newspapers on the Internet, I often come across an article about someone being a victim of theft, assault, or robbery. After all, it’s New York City. As a Secular Franciscan, I wonder to myself, “How many of these people think they are actually getting away with it in the eyes of God?” Sure, in their minds, they are thinking very little about God. Maybe because God will forgive. Whatever the reason, I also know that the person doing the attacking can be anybody. Who does such a thing? One might think at first thought, that the perpetrator might be a poor or violent criminal with a history. But we all have been witnessing an outpouring of victims of assaults by bosses in the work place, such as executives in the media industry and other big companies. Therefore, it’s fair to presume that the problem must also exist everywhere else. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, nurses, bankers and other professional or licensed persons. The bottom line is that the person probably thinks that he/she can get away with committing these crimes. At least for now. Well, then…what makes the government and the institution think that a certified home health aide will be any safer than a private duty companion? They use convenient statistics to defend their rationale. As we all spend more and more money to take care of our parents, it seems as if we’re getting little help from the government for long term care. We are seeing an influx of service providers come up with other ways to assure their safety with various home safety solutions, like a Lifeline, Amazon Alexa, webcams, Alarm systems and other audio-visual surveillance systems. But wait! If the certified home health aide is fingerprinted and trained, then why is all this needed?!
We are creatures of instinct and we know that there are people with little or no conscience walking among us. It’s easier to trust and outsource care and look the other way if you get a lot of “We’re insured, we’re bonded, etc. etc.” pushed into our weary brains. The reality is, for some reason, when it comes to ourselves, we tend to go that extra mile too. For example, we think hard about having surgery for ourselves, or search high and low to even hire a good contractor for a home improvement job? Or a reliable mechanic to fix our cars? Is it the low-cost aspect? Or is it the trust? To me, it’s always a search for someone who has a good conscience to which you can identify.
Dr. Martha Stout quoted Doug Horton in her book The Sociopath Next Door, “Conscience is the window of our spirit, evil is the curtain.” For good home care, this is pretty accurate. This is why I stay small on purpose. My people need to know who we are placing. We need to see what’s going on based on all the possible bits of information we can obtain from everyone. Regulation can hamper or help this, but it is my opinion that there’s no single way to do this correctly. Technology and the rule of law can only do so much. Good home care takes a sociologist with high moral standards because everyone, including the caregiver, client, and their family members are all vulnerable.