summary: I am not a caregiver by trade, I am an adult who traded room & board to sleep over at night to meet legal requirements set by the state of Illinois. Just so you know, I am not familiar with State of Illinois elderly law. I am only assuming that this was why they asked me to sleep over or have this as my residence from doing my own research as best as I could. The family has kept me in the dark about all this and vague when I ask for specifics.

Here are the details:

A family friend asked if I could stay at their home for free in exchange that I am home every evening by 9pm. That is it. However what I am observing is the day care worker only comes at 10am and leaves at 4pm-6pm...and the kids of this dementia patient do not come till 7 or 8pm at night.

I have requested the agreement I have with the family to be put in writing several times because I am observing many times when their mother is left alone. I am straight forward with the family telling them that I feel that since I am the only adult home, even though I am not hired to watch their mom, if anything happens to her, I am the one the courts will go after and not the kids or the caregiver.

I have brought this up to the Russian caregiver, who speaks bad english and cannot really understand what I am saying it seems, and she says that no, I am not liable if anything happens to their mom. I am not comforted by her at all since she is the one leaving of errands without any notice to kids or her state-run company. She just tells me she will be gone for a bit. To me, at that moment, she just made me liable for her patient's well being, am I right?

And with regards to the family, for example, on Saturday's, the brother only comes for 4 hours...1:30pm to one is there in the morning or night. Since I am home in the morning I will give her breakfast but I told them I am not watching her just because I am home. I am hard of hearing and if she falls, goes outside, answers the door and lets strangers in, etc I will not know. I also work Saturday nights and do not get home till 8 to 10pm. I have no idea if she ate nothing. This just does not seem right to me. I asked so many times for things to be put in writing, a bullentin board be placed in the house where everyone can check off things they have done, like feed her or give her her pills, and that they get a survellience system, like RING where her mom can be observed by all of us on our phone and if anyone rings the doorbell we are all alerted. Or if the door opens we can see if her mom is leaving the house. But they all brush me off. Again, am I being paranoid?

I am accutely aware how I am the one that will be thrown under the bus if say, their mom falls down the stairs, breaks a hip, and I am home and am up in my room working on my computer and not hear it...and she dies or something. I feel like the family is purposely not putting anything in writing as to our agreement so they can throw me under the bus, so to speak, if APS goes after them and same with the caregiver.

My gut is telling me that something is just not right here.

Am I being paranoid? I really do not understand what I would be liable for if anything happens to their mom and I am the only one home. Can or with APS go after me? Has anyone in this forum have experienced this before.

I would like to relax and just mind my own business, because that is what the caregiver tells me to do.

And on a side note, I care for their mom and want to make sure she is getting the proper help she needs too. It is not all about me.

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It's good you care but I think you should follow your gut. I agree with Sendhelp and Golden Artist, you're being used. Don't get anything in writing that will bind you to any of this! You are not family. If you can, try to find another place to stay and get out of this situation NOW. Feeding her, giving medications, watching out for her security and well being. You are doing Caregiving and in my opinion can be held responsible. Dementia is a horrible disease and her condition is only going to get worse. That means more demands will but put on you and your time. You will be pulled further down the rabbit hole. If her care is sub-par, once you're out maybe you can make an anonymous call to APS from a throw away phone, don't give them info about you. They are not there to protect you. They are there to protect the vulnerable elder. It's good you care but you are wrong. It sounds like you are trying to stay on a good path. Get out of there if you can NOW. It is all about YOU. Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (1)

The important goal is to have the mother with dementia watched. That is her adult children's responsibility. Not yours. Are any of them living there? How is that working? If not, caregiving coverage is lacking overall. Especially if she should not be left alone.

You may have friends who are irresponsible, living a casual, carefree life, who exploit others just by their defaulted responsibilities.

A person like you, who wants to follow rules, and be sure the patient is not vulnerable, who considers all the ramifications, as you have, is doomed to suffer: "No good deed goes unpunished". You are smarter than the average bear.

You are correct, when her caregiver leaves, and reports to you she is leaving, that makes you (the only adult home) responsible for the mother, at any hour. It also ties you up, "as if" you are employed, and "as if" you can be given responsibility by the caregiver. You need to speak up. Say, "I was just leaving, it is not my job to watch her." You are not family. You are not employed. You fulfilled your verbal agreement by spending overnights. Start by not allowing the caregiver to exploit you.

You won't be able to turn the family to doing things your way. Confiding in the caregiver, well, that was just very poor judgment, imo. She should not be telling you what to do at all, and not be leaving her post with you in charge.

The family may be just trying to skirt the law with their plan, and that is not how one cares for the dementia patient. What stage is she in, and does she require 24/7 supervision?

In the absence of family or caregivers present, looks like (appears) you are it! And to add to the insult, you are like on-call whenever no one is there. I get that this is not how you understood the arrangement to be. If you were to spend overnights, you have the right to leave in the mornings, all day, until 9 p.m. They have breached a verbal contract with you, that cannot be repaired by putting it in writing. What they tried to achieve by not saying (exploitation) and what you expected are miles apart.

What do you want or need to do about it? How can we help you make a better decision? For you. For the patient. ???
Helpful Answer (1)

This sounds like an exploitive arrangement, for the benefit of those who asked you to stay, but not for your benefit.

There are too many open issues, which apparently aren't addressed despite your having raised them.   I personally think you're wide open and vulnerable to the fears you have of being "thrown under the bus". 

As suggested, you should have a contract; assuming you're not in a position to have one drawn up by an attorney, search online and create your own.   Or if you can get pro bono help through a Senior Center, try for that.  Many Centers have free limited legal advice, although given the forthcoming restrictions due to flareups of the Corona Virus, I'm not sure how many Senior Centers would be continuing the practice of free legal advice.   The volunteer attorneys may not want to participate given the pandemic status.

If the family won't sign a contract, that to me is a serious indication  that it's time for you to get out before something happens and you're blamed.

You're not only not being paranoid, you're being used.  

If overnight stays are an issue, perhaps you could contact the county offices for assistance in finding a place to stay at night, at a woman's shelter, for example.

Good luck and best wishes for working out this situation.
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Room and board without pay is illegal. Without a written contract you are at risk.
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Yes and ny agreement without pay is illegal and non-binding.
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You are primarily responsible for being the only adult in the home after 9 p.m.,
you say.

If you are also supposed to be the caregiver over night, maybe you are not qualified?

You say: "I also work Saturday nights and do not get home till 8 to 10pm."
Helpful Answer (0)

You are essentially a paid employee and I hope W-2 forms being done and you will report to IRS what amounts to earnings any kind; you should see a lawyer for an hour of time. You should have a documented care plan and hours you are responsible. You should not step outside those hours other than in an emergency due to your taking on other duties can add to the responsibility issue.
So keep it clean. Care plan, salary (say room, board during hours of work estimated value), reporting. Keeping it clean keeps you safe.
You should also continue to report to the family your observations and should be keeping a diary that you did so, and their response. Diaries are accepted in court as evidence.
I myself would be uncomfortable with this "job" and would not take it on.
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