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Loved Ones Concerned about Caretakers Due to Recent Events

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WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Families with loved ones who rely on a caretaker may feel nervous after hearing about the recent caretaker arrests made after they took advantage of their clients.

As parents and grandparents continue to age, family members may start to consider hiring a caretaker either privately or through an agency. Either way, multiple precautions are becoming more and more necessary to avoid tragedy.

In some cases, it may be safer to hire through an agency.

“We get references, we contact the references, we do criminal background checks,” said Mary Jenkins, the director of in-home services at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging. “It’s a luck of the draw. Someone can appear to be an excellent candidate for the program, and then they go in and do something stupid.”

When things go wrong, your loved one could suffer. Authorities arrested two southern West Virginia caretakers earlier this year due to their actions on the job.

Jessica Lunceford was accused of murdering 76-year-old Sylvia Washington and Susan Harrah was caught on camera stealing her clients’ credit cards.

“It’s very saddening and disheartening when you see that people are taking advantage of a very frail group of people,” said Jenkins.

The Raleigh County Commission on Aging said they are fully confident in the caretakers they send to clients. Hours go into training each and every one of them.

To be sure you or your loved one’s caretaker is not taking advantage, keep an eye on valuables around the house. If you have a concern, contact the agency and the authorities to make a report,



Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.


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