It's been a few days since I have posted and I am sorry for the delay. I have been caught up in my caregiving duties as well as enjoying time with my precious 16 month old grand daughter, she is such a delight and a welcome refreshment to help make it through the tough times!
Do you visit and post in the online forums such as caring.com or agingcare.com? I have also been doing a lot of reading and posting on these forums lately and find there are so many wonderful people out there doing what we do, caring for a loved one with all that entails and just trying to put one foot in front of the other on the journey we travel.
One subject that has been coming up quite a bit in the forums lately is the debate on whether or not it is proper to ask your parents to pay you to act as their caregiver, provide housing and the like. And the opinions run the gamut. So I thought I would share some of my thoughts as well as how the government feels about the subject.
Consider: What type of care are you providing? What have you had to give up to provide this care? And how do your parents feel about the services you provide?
Many of you have given up so much to care for your parents and do so willingly, out of love. When your parents need intense care or supervision as my mom now needs, you may have moved them into your home in order to provide that care. Many of you have also had to give up outside employment to stay home 24/7.
Some feel that no matter what you have to give up, you should never charge your parents for care, after all they raised you and provided for you for many years. If that is your opinion and you have the financial resources to do so that is fine and I applaud you for your devotion and love. Some however do not have the financial resources to not work. So when their parents need care they have a few options. They can hire a caregiver, put their parent in an assisted living or nursing home or they can work for their parents and provide the needed care. If given the options most parents would likely prefer to have their own family caring for them for as long as that is possible.
Consider what it would cost to put a parent in an assisted living facility. If they need anything other than basic assistance such as meals and general supervision the costs can be $5 to $6 thousand dollars a month. If they need to go to a nursing home the costs can skyrocket to $8 thousand and above. If you were to hire an in home caregiver the cost would be anywhere from $20 to $30 dollars an hour depending on how much care is need and what area of the country you live in. These costs can eat up even a healthy retirement account in no time.
If you are the one providing the care, you may as many people feel, it is only reasonable that you get paid. How much is something you and your parent can work out, which in my experience is very reasonable and so much less than what they would have to pay for outside care. No one should take advantage of their parents and charge them outrageous amounts of money just because they feel they can, this is a form of elder abuse. However no one should question a reasonable amount.
Caring for a parent who is aging is a very tough sometimes full time job. If you have siblings who do not participate in the care they may question you getting paid. In that case you need to make them understand just how much you have given up and how much you do for mom or dad or both. If they are worried about their inheritance, remind them of how fast that will disappear if mom goes to a nursing home.
And the government too feels it reasonable for a family member to be paid for services. Many do not know that Veterans Benefits can be used to pay family members. In most states a medicaid waiver can be uses to pay family caregivers. The government is beginning to realize something that has been obvious for years, and that is, that keeping the elderly at home with family is much more cost effective. They are finally starting to get it.
So if you are caring for mom or dad, grandma or grandpa and you need to be paid, in this person's opinion that is fine. You are working hard, maybe harder than you ever have before. You are also making a better life for your family member, because they are being cared for by someone they know and love. You are doing a good thing. Don't feel guilty!
One important note for paid family caregivers - please have a caregiver contract in place. This is especially important if you are using government benefits to pay your wages. Also this will protect you if in the future your loved one has to go on medicaid and the money to pay you was used during the 5 year look back period. (The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 expanded the look back period from 3 years to 5 years. Almost every state has adopted this or is in the process of adopting this rule). If you do not have a contract the government may look at those payments as gifts and require them to be paid back. The contract will save you in that case. Another good reason to have a care contract in place is if there are any disputes between family members regarding inheritance, we all know how nasty greedy relatives can be. For information on how to structure a care agreement you may want to check out this link click here .
|Dear Ruth Anne, Here's what I think...|
I hope this information helps those of you who are wrestling with this subject. And I would love your feedback. How do you feel about it? What side do you come down on? Please share your thoughts.
Until Next Time