I am asking $200 a week for 24 hr caregiver & my siblings who live 1200 miles away are FURIOUS.  The siblings have visited twice in 7 yrs. once because my dad passed.

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It's hard to understand family members who are furious about quality care being provided to an elder, but it is not unusual. People who can't help out may express many emotions that don't help in a difficult situation.

A Caregiver Contract can save a loved one from a nursing home admission, and save the Caregiver from much grief.  Without a written agreement, family members may be setting themselves up for problems.  Here's why:

Without a written agreement, the family member(s) providing the care are vulnerable. A Caregiver Contract recognizes and rewards the time and effort that you give to care, and it helps to prevent arguments and misunderstandings among other family members who can't or won't help.

Another reason: the elder (and others people involved in care such as physicians and health care providers) aren't sure about who is responsible to maintain the needed level of care. Are you the person who is designated as Health Care Agent? Is there a Power of Attorney document that designates you are the person responsible for managing assets? A Caregiver Contract can list the organization of care and other services that are being paid for.

Finally, without a written agreement, the elder who pays you for care could be disqualified from Medicaid coverage if they need nursing home care in the future. Medicaid could consider payments to family members as being "disqualifying transfers."

If you talk with an Elder Law Attorney in your state, the Attorney can prepare a Caregiver Contract that is compliant with Medicaid regulations in your state, to document the compensation and services in a format that Medicaid can understand and accept. 

If the elder is competent to sign the Contract, or if there is an agent designated in a Power of Attorney document who can sign the Contract, the Contract can be an effective way to manage details, so you can focus your energy on the needs of the person you are caring for.
Helpful Answer (4)

Kitty, OP means "original poster".   When I first came on the forums I was wondering what some of the initials were.   When someone posted NH, I was thinking New Hampshire instead of Nursing Home.   Same with IL, I thought it was Illinois instead of Independent Living.   I was wondering why so many elders were moving to New Hampshire and Illinois :P
Helpful Answer (28)

I think $200/week is way too LITTLE to be "asking" for 24/7 caregiving!

Tell us more about your situation. Did you give up a job to live with your mother? How old are you? Do you have money for retirement? (What's going to happen when YOU are old?)

What do you have to do for your mother? How capable/independent is she?

Does she have a significant estate/trust that will be left when she passes? Are you and your sibs equal heirs to the estate/trust?
Helpful Answer (14)

Edited to add: I am making the assumption that the caregiver is you, and that you are living in and caring for your mom, since you mentioned your dad has passsed - and also that your mom is the one having to pay for the services you're providing.

If the siblings are furious, it's because they feel any inheritance they may receive upon your mother's death is being diminished by your being paid as a caregiver. It sounds like your mother has some money put away or has the ability to pay for a caregiver without too much financial stress - correct?

I would recommend explaining to your siblings that if you were not able to care for Mom, she would have to hire an agency caregiver, which would be at least $20 per hour or more, depending on the care needed. In-home nursing care is far higher. General care involving toileting, bathing and household help is usually around $20 per hour, depending on where you live (could be higher).

Would the siblings rather have you receive $200 per week for a 24/7 job that they obviously can't (or don't want to) do, or would they like Mom to have to pay $20/hour for someone to be there 24/7, which would be far more than $200 per week?

If the opposite is true, and Mom doesn't have anything other than SS income, than that may be why the siblings are upset, thinking that Mom can't afford to pay you.  If that's the case, then you'll need to have a serious discussion with your siblings about it and come to a compromise. If you *do* end up being paid for caregiving your mother, make sure there is a contract drawn up and signed (if your Mom is able) to avoid any issues later. It's important to prove that Mom agreed to pay you this rate for caregiving. 
Helpful Answer (13)

Dear Kittysue,

I don't think you are being greedy. It is hard being the sole caregiver when your siblings are so far away. I feel like you are asking for help from your siblings. Also validation and acknowledgement for what you are doing for your mom. You are the one devoting all your time, energy and love to your parents. It can be a lonely road when our siblings cannot even spare us "how are you?" once in a while.

I was so angry at my siblings. There was so much resentment about how much I was doing compared to them. I wanted "something" to show they cared about me and our parents too. So $200 is not a lot, but I think its more than that. I wish I had counseling when I was taking care of my dad. I was always so use to be the oldest and the responsible one. But as my dad's care escalated, I failed to understand I needed help too. And also acknowledgement and validation from my siblings. I know no one held a gun to my head to help my parents, but I still needed my siblings to offer something to me.
Helpful Answer (13)

I've seen the answers above which are all good information. Let me ask you if you will also be managing the house maintenance, such as mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, arranging for gutter clean-outs, oil deliveries, calling the plumber, electrician, appliance repair person, etc, and also all the financial arrangements: Paying bills, depositing checks, reconciling accounts, applying for benefits, selecting medical supplement insurance, submitting forms for payment, reviewing the monthly statements, and filing tax returns.  I don't know any caregivers who also manage the house or the finances. These tasks are in addition to caregiving and would have to be managed by somebody else if caregivers were hired.
Helpful Answer (9)

No, you are not being greedy. You are being practical. If you do not get anything for caring for mom, you could find yourself in financial trouble later down the road having not earned anything to help support yourself while caring for mom. This could cause hardship for you and hard feelings too...never a good thing. Siblings are wanting something for nothing. They may be saying something like...well, you're living there for free, getting fed. If that be the case, fine...that's probably worth about 800.00/mo... add to that 200.00/wk salary and you'll be making around 1600.00/mo. Very fair price for 24/7 care of your mom I'd say. Or she could go into a nursing home for average 6000.00/mo, or have 24/7 in home care for around 7,500.00/mo. The 1600.00/mo for care from a loved one is actually quite a bargain!

Yes, right up a contract and have mom sign it if you can. That way if she ever does have to go into a nursing home and qualify for Medicaid they won't come after the money you've been paid. In fact, charge 250.00/wk since you'll be wanting to claim it as income on taxes to keep it all above board! That way it will count toward your SS when the time comes for you to retire.
Helpful Answer (7)

I am so glad to be reading these responses. My sisters all live nearby and don't call or visit. Have never thanked me for the 24/7 care I give our Mother. Say I should have put her in a home. I have lived with Mom for past 6 years. House was in disrepair and looked like hoarder hell do to sister and niece living here and never cleaning. They moved out because I was too demanding. No one worked but me. Mom had bad fall. I retired early (65) did not plan to for financial reasons. Mom made me POA and gave me the house. Sisters freaked out! Mom and I both on SS only. Sister who had joint account with Mom (why?) for last 20-30 years. Only mom used account for SS deposits to pay bills. Sister on account confiscated account and claimed fraud on debit card charges I used for medical supplies and mom's health insurance etc. Claims I used Mom's money! I did with Mom's permission while I had about 6 months of no income till my SS kicked in. I have used all my 401k to care for the 2 of us. No washer or dryer in house due to hoarder basement! $1200 I paid to empty it! Meanwhile Mom had bowel obstruction. Now has feeding tube and colostomy. Hospital bed in living room for last 2 years where I sleep on sofa next to her. My mother had no money and neither did I. My sisters allcame out of the woodwork when Mom was in hospice at hospital due to meds evaluation! They thought she was dieing----that is when they grabbed bank account and pissed off I have POA & house. Feeling a little better yet? Threatened me with fraud, police report etc etc. I was devastated. I take excellent care of my mother. Every nurse or aide or anyone can see that! I sit and hold her hand through the rough times! I should be still working but can not. I am the oldest of 5 girls. I promised Mom she would never be in a home. She is comfy and well cared for. My sisters put no value on what I do daily. I pay nursing care if I need to go out. Minimum is 4 hours to get a nurse in. $20-25 per hour. I pay for this out of my pocket. Never see a dime from any of them. No visit for Christmas. Asking your siblings or Mom for a lousy $200 a week????? It should be $1000. They, "the Ungratefuls" should be ashamed of themselves! Let them do what we do, out of love and care, for a week!!! They won't. See a good lawyer and get somethings in writing and to hell with them if they don't like it!!!! Let me tell you what I don't like.....emptying a colostomy bag and a Foley bag & not having freedom to leave the house. Screw what they "don't like"!!!! Sorry. I am venting my anger! You should too!
Helpful Answer (7)

I agree with Dustein. I started out exactly the same as you except my siblings were okay with the little amount of money. As the years went by Mom's expenses became so much more, just on groceries and medication alone. My husband was the only one working and because I was her daughter we took care of all of the overflow. There is a reason why the independent living centers cost so much. They provide the care you are providing, nursing, meals, therapy, a place to live, etc. It all costs... even if you are family. As I said, my siblings were okay with the minimal cost that I needed to help with her until she passed. Then suddenly I should have been caring for her for free. My husband and I actually spent thousands each month caring for her. I loved that she was in a home environment, as did she, but it costs to maintain that. Meds are expensive, as are groceries, and to devote your time 24 hours a day. I wish we would have done a contract every year. That way as Mom needs grew, we could have revised the contract. I also wish we would have visited a lawyer so they could have advised Mom as to what she needed to do to that we hadn't thought of. As it stands now I never speak to the siblings. Because of this we are fractured and will never speak again. I am hurt they stand in judgment and yet know nothing of what it took, or the time that was spent. I loved that Mom was with us and that she was happy. That, in the end, made me far richer than my siblings will ever be. Even though it is uncomfortable, get things in writing with Mom if she is able. Leave room every year to go back over contracts and things that she wanted as her needs will change. Have the lawyer make a trip to your home and spend an hour to chat with her. Regardless of whether the siblings agree or not, let them know the alternatives...$6000+ for independent living centers, or $480 a day for a service to come in. We tried the service to keep Mom in her home and independent for longer. We decided after about a year that it was too costly, and having family care for her 24/7 was better. Family Care meaning me...I saw the siblings maybe three times in close to 5 years. Don't let your siblings goad you into thinking what you are doing isn't valuable, or that because you are a daughter/son you can do it for free. It costs...boy, does it cost. Also, the things we caregivers don't talk about is the cost to self. I cared for Mom for almost 5 years. I worked before I cared for her and found after her death I couldn't find a job in the same field. Companies thought I had been gone too long and my skill sets had become "rusty." Not having the routine that I had with Mom for so long when she passed left me anxious and lost. That required grief therapy. Being on "call" 24/7 left me with a 4 hour sleep pattern. Yep, sleep therapy has tried to fix luck yet. My husband and I hadn't been alone for 5 years, and we had run out of savings taking care of what it really cost to have Mom in the house. Those are the "things" the siblings will never realize. While I loved having Mom here, and she was happy until she passed, I will always have a different experience of her last years than my siblings will. We will never see eye to eye about anything concerning her and that is okay. They however, are also something I lost. We now have no relationship. In hindsight I wish I would have had more in writing because siblings do change their tune regardless of whether you think they will or won't. In the end her care was really between her and I, as long as she was able to make a decision she did until the end, and that was her right. It superseded anything my siblings wanted or could do. Good luck to you. Take the time to put what you are doing in writing and re-evaluate what you are doing as time moves forward that way you will be covered and up to date. Find out what a "reasonable" rate is for your time, and the expense of having her there. That isn't being mean, or not being a good daughter/son, it is just being factual. I found out in the end that the cost for Mom was really closer to the $6000 a month. Siblings won't know that because they are uninvolved and have their own lives. They don't know how much it takes because she isn't in their home.
Helpful Answer (6)

Tell your siblings, that if they are so upset, you can deliver your Mom to them, and they can have the $200 a week to care for her. Seriously though, ignore them. You are doing the best you can, and they are inconsiderate. I am not in the US, but I presume that amount would only cover expenses. Its not like you're taking overseas trips on your mothers money.
Helpful Answer (5)

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