My mom is 87 yrs.old and has fallen 3 times. She is fine didn't break any thing, but she is thinking of going to a nursing home. We (her children) do not want that for her. Her mind is pretty sharp and physically she just uses a walker. She just gets very tired easily now and we are not comfortable leaving her alone. She said she does not want to be a burden on her kids. My sisters and I have been alternating staying with her for weeks at a time. We were thinking? I'm out of work and have been for 11/2 yrs. and live the closet to her 30 min. I have been looking for employment (with no luck) it just occured to us that maybe I should be her paid caregiver. I feel real bad about considering getting paid to take care of my mom, because I LOVE her very much, but realistly it would be a big help for the both/all of us. I/we would also feel more comfortable with a family member taking care of her. What should I do? Confused, Martha

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If her mind is pretty sharp and you want to do this, it should be Mom's decision.

Can she afford to pay you? Perhaps knowing that she is hiring you, just as she would hire someone else, might remove the fear of being a "burden" to her children.

There are other options in addition to a nursing home or hiring you. As Pam says, an assisted living facility might be a good option. And, no offense, being among other adults who need some assistance but are generally pretty sharp might appeal to her more than staying a home with a daughter all day.

Another option that would provide some monitoring of Mom and also have her in contact with other adults in an Adult Day Health Program. They have activities, sometimes field trips, hot meals, and lots of comfortable recliners for those who need a little quiet time. She could go everyday or just once or a few times a week.

Another option is to hire some in-home help, such as house cleaning, laundry, maybe cooking, etc. And perhaps an aide or companion for a few hours a day.

Considering all the alternatives, if you and Mom decide to give paid caregiving a try, have a personal care agreement drawn up by an attorney who specializes in Elder Law, spelling out what you are providing and what she is paying. This lawyer can also advice you on other documents that should be in place.

You already have a big gap in your employment history. Being a paid caregiver for a few years probably won't make things any worse. But be sure that you do the employment arrangement correctly, so that you are still paying into Social Security and paying self-employment taxes or that you mother is acting as you employer.

Caregiving an elderly person is a VERY demanding job. Of course you are doing it out of love -- I can't imagine doing it without love in the picture. Do not feel guilty if you are also being compensated. That seems fair and reasonable and realistic to me.

My sister brought my mother into her home and cared for her for 15 months, before it became necessary for Mom to have more care. It was the best possible arrangement for mother. All of us are grateful to that sister. Several of us helped by giving her some respite. Sister was also compensated for caregiving and charged room and board. Believe me, we all know she did this out of love. And none of us resented her compensation for a moment.

Caregiving is not easy. It really is a job. Do not rush into this without considering, and discussing with your mother the other options for keeping her safe. If you decide to do it, do it in a legally correct way. That is best for all concerned.

Do post again and let us know how this is playing out for you. We care! And other people in your situation can learn from your experiences.
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We moved mom to Assisted Living at 86. It is not a nursing home. She has her own private room, TV, big walk-in shower, nurses and aides available 24/7, activities, bus trips and lots of friends there. She is having a good time.
The problem with giving up your job hunt and moving in, even if you get paid, is that you will burn out very quickly and she will still be bored stiff. Later when you go back to looking for work, there's a blank spot in your resume. Nobody wants to hire someone who spent the last 5 years caring for mom. Let her tour some AL facilities and let her decide what she wants. No offense, but she will be happier with contemporaries.
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