How much can I charge my parent living with me?

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My mother moved in last month and is having medical problems. She is 86. I am her POA and power of health decisions. My wife and I are taking care of her. There is not that much left in her savings (40K or so) and no other assets, but she won't have any expenses living here with us - she also receives social security of approx $1,500 a month. I am filling out a 'family caregiver' form. Has anyone ever done this personally, and how much did you 'charge' your parent? Since I would receive her money after she passes, I do not feel guilty 'charging' her, but want to make sure it's not too much. I went online to check out prices for a live-in caregiver who would do exactly what we do for her, and the cost is outrageous! Do people actually pay upwards of $15 an hour for 24/7 care? My calculator result shocked me! Really, the only question I want answered is if $1,200.00 a month is too much if Medicaid was ever needed later on. Since we aren't using her savings, she would use that for the first few months of a nursing home care, anyway, but when that ran out, I don't want to be accused of 'gouging' my Mom. Anyone with REAL answers, and not speculation would be so helpful. Also, I will not be rec'g any cash from her. This caregiver form (which will be notarized) is only to be used if Medicaid questions why she used her credit card to pay for Costco or groceries, which is what she wants to pay for each month. It is her money and we are letting her pay for it. Thank you.

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The amount is relative based on the cost of living in your area and how much care your mother actually needs. I would start with what her basic costs for housing/food etc were when she was independent, and also consider what costs are in your area if she didn't have you and had to rely on an assisted living facility. Leave yourself the option to increase her "rent" as her needs increase, there is a huge difference between splitting room and board and providing 24/7 supervision and help with multiple ADLs. Personally I charge my mother for caregiving - which I claim as income and she can deduct as a medical expense - and beyond that she pays for groceries and all the extras she needs like drugs, nutritional supplements and incontinence supplies.
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One way to figure out how much to charge rent is to figure out 1/3 of the mortgage, the gas & electric, the water bill, the cable, the groceries. Of course that doesn't cover your wife and your time helping your Mother with her needs.

You could also figure in how much time is used for Mom's immediate care. You wouldn't be able to add time used for cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping as your household needs to do that with or without Mom there.

Yes, professional caregivers are expensive. In my area the cost is closer to $30/hour. My Dad used caregivers, 3 shifts, and it worked out great. The 3rd shift caregiver had to stay awake during her shift. Eventually my Dad moved to senior living and sold his house. The cost of care then was half.
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