My husband passed away 12 years ago. His brother agreed to pay me $600 per month. I clean MIL's house along with accidents bowel/bladder. I give her meds, feed her at least 1 meal a day prepared at my home. I take her to all dr appts, deal with getting home health and communicate with them. Check on her at least 3 times daily, do grocery shopping (she is also diabetic). Basically I take care of all needs. This consumes my life. I have 2 grandchildren I seldom get to see as they live 3 hours away round trip. Due to worrying about her falling, which has happened multiple time, I can’t spend the night with my only daughter. Her sons live 15 hours away. They are paying me $600 per month. She can afford to pay me $1000 as she is putting more than that in savings every month. Is it fair to ask for that amount? What do others get paid? I am her only caregiver.

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To earn $600 per month, at $10/hour (the local rate at McDonald's and many retail jobs) you'd need to work approximately 15 hours a week. You are working a bit more than that now, aren't you? And the work is way more demanding than flipping burgers or ringing up sales.

I firmly believe that ANYONE caring for elders should get paid. That many family members do not is very unfortunate and poor decision-making, in my opinion. Depending on circumstances family may not get the going open-market rate, but they definitely should be paid.

This is your mother-in-law, not your mother. I'm not sure of the family dynamics here, but I think that can make a difference.

She is putting $1,000 in savings each month. That is terrific and may go toward more care in her future. But it is otherwise going to increase the amount heir may inherit. Are you an heir in her will? You working for such a small amount is subsidizing other family members' inheritance. While you may be willing to work for less for your MIL's sake, are you willing to do it for her heirs? It is definitely fair to ask for $1,000/month, and more if she can afford it. $1,000 would be a "family discount."

Also, you need some scheduled off-time. You don't work on Wednesdays. Or you take every-other weekend off. And you take a week off every 4 months. Or whatever allows you to see the rest of your family. For BIL to see how much it will cost to provide this respite will be an eye-opener!

This is a business arrangement and should be treated as such.

How many times a month do you clean her house? How large is her house? According to one website, "Typically, cleaning service charges are either by the hour or square footage. Per hour costs are between $50 and $90 and often include multiple cleaners. Square footage charges depend on the size of your house. For example, an area less than 1,000 square feet averages $90 while 3,000 square feet or more could cost $250." (These are per-cleaning costs.) The numbers seem pretty much in line with our costs locally.

One company that does meal prep locally costs $44 per hour, plus the cost of groceries. How many hours do you spend shopping and cooking for MIL? What would it cost to use this service instead? (When you grocery shop for MIL, do you use her money?)
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"What could you do to make $600 otherwise?"

I like this way of looking at the situation. Perhaps you could look into part-time jobs in your area, and see just how many hours you would need to work to earn the same amount. And of course you could continue to be in your MIL's life as a friend and visitor, and still have time for your grandkids and your own life.
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There is a third issue, which is " is she getting the care she needs and deserves?"

Seems like this is the jumping off point. What care does she need exactly and how
many hours? I called around to a number of agencies and the range was $16 to $24
the lower range for the overnight shift. The better agencies were $22 to $24. I would
say for day time work (ie when you're up and hopping) the minimum should be $15
with clear break time and lunch.

The total cost will likely be much more than what you are being paid now. It is such
an unrealistic idea to ask one person to provide all of the care. In a facility there
are nurses to do meds, check wounds, etc, care givers to do dressing, toiletting, etc,
laundry folks to take care of clothes, linens, cleaning people to keep apt or room in shape, dining room staff to take food orders or bring to dining room, transportation
people to take folks to appts, front desk takes care of stamps, mailing, packages, maintenance takes care of broken faucets, furnace, etc, counselors take care of crisis,
daily activity planner takes care of entertainment, Well you get the picture. Plus
there are a bunch of other people their own age to socialize with.

I just don't know how one person can do all this without being driven bananas. They
should really pay you $30/hr!!!
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Minnie59, kudos to you for helping your mother-in-law. Without knowing all the history of your situation, it sounds like your brothers-in-law are taking advantage of you. The care you provide as a self-employed person should be worth in the range of $12 to $15 per hour (including 15.3% SS/Medicare tax). I suggest reading the information in the websites below and create a Personal Care Agreement (PCA) to present to the brothers-in-law. Having that PCA in black-and-white might be a real eye-opener for them as well as for yourself. If based on the hours you provide care, the PCA results in a monthly charge that exceeds what your in-laws (mother and sons) can pay, then you can certainly negotiate downward from the PCA amount if you want to do so for family/friendship reasons. But also, be sure to include some vacation/respite time in your PCA. Having a PCA in place will also be good for mother-in-law because, as freqflyer mentioned, if she needs Medicaid assistance in the future due to you no longer being able to provide the level of care she requires, then not having a PCA in place would probably result in a Medicaid look-back penalty, i.e. she would not be eligible for Medicaid assistance for xx months or years.'s PCA websites are:
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Minnie59, the vast majority of grown children do not get paid for taking care of a parent or an in-law, so you are one of the few who is getting paid.

When my Dad had signed up caregivers from an Agency, the Agency was charging Dad $30/hour of which the caregiver would get probably half depending on their experience. But the Agency was licensed, bonded, insured, and had workman's comp in case the caregiver got hurt on the job. Hurt such as straining their back trying to transfer a client by lifting.

Since you are getting paid, I bet Mom-in-law doesn't have a workman's comp insurance policy, as you are an employee.

I hope you have an employment contract in place for doing this caregiving. Otherwise if Mom-in-law runs out of money and needs to go into Medicaid paid facility, whatever the family is paying you wouldn't be considered "gifting".

Mom-in-law will get to a point where she need around the clock care, and believe me you will not want to be doing the work of 3 full-time caregivers each and every day, with no time off. It will ruin your health big time do to all the work and lack of sleep.

Why not have your Mom-in-law family pay for a cleaning crew to come to the house every other week to clean, or once a week if the home really needs it. That would lessen that one very physical job that is on your list.
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12 years is a long time. I assume when you started MIL was not as needy as now. Have you cared for her all this time?
What could you do to make $600 otherwise?
You say your MIL banks $1000 per month. Are you considering her expenses? Taxes, insurance etc. Home repairs. Are these expenses paid by BIL out of her account or do you pay them for her?
No way am I saying your sacrifice is worth $600.
Even at a professional wage I couldn’t do it at this point in my life. I still care for a 91 yr old but with lots of help.
I am wondering about your relationship with your MIL. She is your grandchildren’s great grandmother. Do they visit you and her?
Whether MIL can afford more or not, it does sound like it’s time to evaluate what you want to do with your life going forward. Perhaps you would consider managing her care for x number of hours a month. If you want to stay in her life as a caretaker and keep some extra money coming in you might ask your BIL to meet with you to discuss.
If she isn’t going to have enough money to remain in her home with extra care then you need to consider that. There is a breakeven point where it’s not sustainable to continue with private pay.
Also look into HH to see if she would qualify. Even though it’s only one nurse visit a week and a bathing aide, it’s a layer of help that is covered by Medicare. Look at how many hours you work vs how many on call.
Perhaps you have looked into all of this already. My feeling is that this is more than what do care takers make per hour. You have a unique circumstance. Come back and let us know what you decide.
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I will be blunt, you are being completely taken advantage of. And she has the funds to pay more, as does her family I am sure. You are being pooped on in a major way. You need to put the guilt aside, give them a weeks notice as you would a job, and say, I need $1200.00 or $1500.00 a month for my services. If they refuse to pay, they can call around and find out how much HIRED help is, I am sure they will coming running back to you. This doesn't mean you cannot visit with her if you care for her. But you need to just point blank stop all the DOING after that weeks notice if they refuse to pay more. If she messes up her meds or has an accident, call the brother, then call 911. Call adult protective services if they will not up your payment or provide outside care. ITS A JOB. IT IS A HARD JOB. Do NOT be THAT person who can be USED. I have had to learn this on my own, by setting boundaries and saying, if not paid, I cannot do this anymore. It sounds cruel, but no its not, its called saving our sanity and health. When paid FAIRLY, it makes the caregiving process easier, its a way to know you are VALUED even when the person you are caring for you cannot tell you anymore.
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That doesn't even sound close to enough. Sounds like you are being taken advantage of. It's not even just about the pay. That is a lot of responsibility for anyone regardless of the pay. Make sure you take time for yourself. You shouldn't feel obligated to do everything. You are only one person. Best of luck.
Helpful Answer (4)

There are two separate issues here.

1. Are you getting paid enough to do this job?

2. When do you get respite?

There is a third issue, which is " is she getting the care she needs and deserves?" but you're not asking that.

You're getting paid $20. a day for what you do. At minimum wage, that's 1.25 hours. At 25. per hour ( what Home Health charges, it's less than an hour.

You want more time off. A week to visit with grand 4 times a year? Let her sons know your requirements so they can arrange for increased home health while you're gone.
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How much would in cost in your area to pay someone for the care you're providing?
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Hi Minnie,
I read on here a woman paid an addition $975.00 a month, to LTC, just for her dad to have oxygen monitoring.

You do EVERYTHING! Plus you're preserving the families inheritance. Go for $1200.00.
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