Dad says "Put it in writing" trying to convince him to pay for his caregiving.

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Dad is 84 and in poor health. He's currently living with my brother and sis-in-law (SIL) and has been there nearly 6 months now. Needless to say, he's changed their lifestyle. He's often unsteady on his feet, has "accidents" often, and needs to be watched/looked after whenever he's awake. My SIL, fortunately, doesn't work outside the home and is available to keep an eye on him all the time and she's doing a wonderful job. However, his care is taking it's toll... my brother says my SIL falls into bed each night totally drained of energy. Neither he nor her are getting a full night's sleep, as he's often up during the night to "fix" himself something to eat and one of them needs to get up and watch to make sure he's safe. Half the time, at these times, he's confused and doesn't even know where he is or what's he's doing. He cooks food in the microwave for 5.00 minutes rather then 50 seconds, turns on the water and leaves it running, etc.. I think you all know the situation I'm describing.

I've been talking to him over the last few weeks about his need to compensate my brother and SIL beyond just paying his living expenses (share of the groceries and utilities). I've proposed he pay 1,500.00 to them, above and beyond those costs.

He's got the money to do it and he's agreed with me that they are going far above and beyond as far as their care of him is concerned...but it's been three weeks and he's not paid a thing yet. My last conversation with him ended with his saying that he wants me to "put it in writing" what I want him to pay and why he should pay it.

So I need some help...I've researched the cost of in-home care in his state, but I need to write more then just that...it's the why he should pay them question that I'm not sure how to put in writing. I don't want dad thinking that my bro and sil are caring for him only for the money... I'm the one who brought up the whole thing in the first place. Both my older brother and I (who live in a different state from caregiving brother and SIL) are on board with this... I'm POA for dad though, and that's why I'm the one ram rodding this.....he does tend to listen to me on matters of finance, although he is his own Trustee with me as co trustee.

Anyone have any suggestions as to what I can say that would convince Dad that paying them is the right thing to do?

Thanks for any helps in advance and happy caregiving everyeone!

37 Comments

What your dad said makes sense. Put it in writing. Draw up a caregiving contract that specifies what your father will pay and what services he will receive for the pay. Then sign it in front of witnesses. After that, you as POA can pay your brother and SIL. The amount you mentioned sounds quite reasonable. It would be nice to have more brothers like you who care for the caregivers. :)
Thanks Jessie... Oh, I agree, once it's all agreed upon, we'll draw up something in writing he can sign. But right now It's not a contract we need. First we need the commitment from dad. It's not a contract dad's asking for. He wants a letter from me telling him what I want him to do and why I want him to do it. He keeps saying that he's paying for his care (his groceries and utilities is what he's paying) and doesn't understand why he should pay more.

I wonder if he doesn't just think we kids are after his money before he dies and this is one way we are "tricking" him into getting it. I need some good ideas as to what to write to him in the letter, convincing him of his need to pay my brother and sis in law. The last thing we want him to do is resent my brother and sil because he's having to "pay" them to take care of him, care which he, of course, doesn't think he needs...he says they go overboard when they don't need to.

And, by the way, I'm a sister...not brother. ;-)
Dustien, I take it this is a follow-up to your earlier question dealing with your father's gambling but reluctance to pay his caregivers, and that he's moved a little bit forward in his thinking but still needs some assistance to get to the commitment point?

1. Someone could call in-home care providers in your county (closer in rates than a state level comparison) with a list of what SIL does to get comparison rates.

2. That will establish a baseline for comparable services in the immediate area, and what he'd have to pay to hire the help. If SIL didn't do it, that would be his option.

3. I would also address the toll it takes on your SIL, not just in time but physically. As a last resort to convince himn, her declining health could be the motivator for suggesting that she and your brother alternately hire someone, because if she becomes ill, that's what likely would happen unless your brother takes FMLA.

She's the DIL, not the daughter, and she has a right to expectation of a reasonably healthy life of her own, as well as a marriage and the family life that brings. It's not fair to expect her to sacrifice that and care for him for free. She wasn't the beneficiary of his care when she was a child and while growing up.

And what about her own parents? Do they need care yet as well? She won't be able to care for two elder families.

4. If she does become ill, it might not just be for the short term. So you could also get costs of AL facilities in the area, in the event that became an option. But I wouldn't use it as a threat, just a suggestion of what full time institutional care would cost, likely a multiple(s) of $1500 per month.

5. She should be paid because beyond the actual work, she's facilitating an arrangement whereby he can live with family, have some level of freedom, and not have to be in a facility. That means a lot to an elder.

It sounds as if he's gradually moving toward acceptance but needs a little bit more encouragement in the form of rationalization. That's progress!

But do you think there's more to the "why should I pay them" if I can get it for free issue, such as that he feels it's a filial duty to care for one's parent? If there are these issues, then the rationalizations above aren't going to hold much weight.

I skimmed over the gambling post to refresh my memory on this situation and began to wonder if he's just waffling while pretending to agree, but holding off on making the commitment. Stalling tactics can be interpreted as consideration or just refusal to agree.

I wouldn't normally suggest pushing the situation, but you could suggest a time at which payments would begin, forcing the issue. If that doesn't happen, perhaps SIL might have to begin decreasing her care for him, as it seems as though it's accelerated in complexity since your last post.

Or maybe she could consider taking a vacation by herself; this might put some motivation on him to seal the deal.

As to the contract, assuming he signs, make sure the witnesses aren't family members, and that the witnesses witness both signatures. I would also add an acknowledgement, standard in contracts, that each party entered the agreement of his/her own free will and deed. I can find samples if you need them.

Acknowledgments typically are notarized. Some banks (Chase) provide this service for free to customers.
Sorry, I see you posted while I was typing away, and narrowed down the issues.

Perhaps your brother could visit a few AL facilities and get a breakdown of all they provide and the item by item cost. That's the kind of fees he'd pay if SIL wasn't doing it for free now. And it would easily work into the thousands of dollars.

I don't want to be critical, but it does sound as if he just expects this to be done for him as a matter of course.
He's probably confused about what he's being asked to pay for, and why. Although he appeared to understand what the money was for when it was first bought up to him, he may have forgotten by now. Asking for it to be put in writing may be his way of saving face, so he doesn't have to admit that he forgot.
If you write him a letter, make it simple and respectful. You might find out how much AL facilities in his area charge per month and add that information, to prove that he'll be paying less for getting what amounts to 24-hour care at home with family. Even though your SIL isn't employed outside the home, her time is still valuable, and she deserves to be paid for taking care of your father. Maybe he's from the generation that thinks taking care of elderly family members falls under the category of "women's work" that doesn't require reimbursement.
Some older people get obsessed with having enough money to last them until the end of their lives, and they become resistant to paying for things as a result. My MIL is one of those, plus I think she has trouble remembering how to write checks. When she owed us $900 for airfare and lodging when we took a trip together, I had to remind her several times to pay up. She has plenty of money, BTW, but she's forgetful. Later on, she offered to pay for her share of the trip, although she'd already done so.
Well Assisted Living is $100 a day and Nursing Homes are $200 a day and up.
You can't get a chief cook and bottle washer for less than that. So do put it in writing, and show him the numbers for ALF/NH. He can sign on the line or go live at the Casino. His choice.
"Maybe he's from the generation that thinks taking care of elderly family members falls under the category of "women's work" that doesn't require reimbursement."

I was thinking after I posted that this may be at the crux of the issue. Men of that era are sometimes till adjusting to the fact that we may have a woman as our next president.

My father once told me that he expected care in his senior years because that's what he provided when I was a child.

I reminded him that I wasn't the only one in the family, and that I would contact my sibling on the West Coast and tell him we needed an arrangement whereby he spent equal time back here helping out since we both were raised by the same parent and our obligations should be equal.

I never heard that argument again.
Find out what in-home caregivers (24/7) cost in your area. And what AL costs.
When you finally get him to sign the agreement make sure it's retroactive!
Garden Artist, thank you for some really good thoughts on this issue, as well as the rest of you. Yes, this is regarding my dad who gambles as much away as he should be paying my brother and SIL. I thought we had an understanding, but nothing's been done on his part yet so I called him and that's when he hit me up with the put what I'm asking of him in writing as well as the reasons as to why. I tried writing a letter this morning, but wasn't getting anywhere so came here to ask to see if maybe some of your idea will help me in putting it down in writing, and that's exactly what it did! I'll be referring to this thread as I write that letter. I'll be writing it tomorrow, when I'm fresh. Thanks all for your great advice!

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