Follow
Share

I moved my elderly mother into my home and have been taking care of her for over 6 years since the death of my father. She has constantly insisted that I pay myself for her care because my other siblings do nothing and very seldom visit and she knows that they are going to have their hands out if something happens to her. She has shared her request with my former husband and others. What should I do in a case like this?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
If you actually need the money take it, otherwise just say you are and don't explain otherwise to her because she can no longer understand anything "too complicated."
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I could not have taken care of my Mom 24/7 without compensation. I have bills. Fortunately, my state offers pay for caregivers as Home Health Aide. I had to take state mandated training and continuing education courses to stay certified.

If you can afford to not get paid... good for you. As it was, I was working poor the entire time I took care of my Mom. But I'd do it again. No regrets.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

capnhardass, if one of your sons neglects you in your dottering old age and the other takes good care of you, you'd better compensate the caregiver in the here-and-now. Chances are very good that they'll wind up splitting the change jar as an inheritance, if you develop any expensive chronic conditions.

Putting off compensation until after your death can wind up being no compensation at all.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I don't understand that mindset, my parents took care of me for free, so I should do the same for them . . .?? I hardly think we are comparing apples here, when your parents chose to bring you into this world and raise you from newborn to young adult, even if they didn't plan to have a baby, gee, let's face it, they engaged in behavior that resulted in a child being born. I never wanted to be a caregiver, I worked since childhood at being a free spirit, self-supporting, spontaneous, a "gypsy," so to speak. Through my being a caring person, I have been caring for my mother for 24 years now, that was after my brother setting things up for her to move in with him and his girlfriend and totally neglecting her afterward, as he decided to be with somebody else and was out motelling it while his then girlfriend was doing some jail time. I left my job because I could not work then care for my mother in my spare time, she needed around the clock supervision then--and now. After going through all of my savings, retirement and losing my homeowner status, my father passed away and my mother got a whopping raise by getting his social security, doubling her monthly income. I was living like a pauper, and her the queen now, and she didn't see why she should pay me anything! I already signed the quitclaim deed so she could reverse mortgage the home we purchased together in 2007 and put our life savings down on, couldn't even get a home equity loan on the $250,000 we put down due to the real estate crisis at the time; it was just $$ down the toilet, I had no savings and only a small pension from retiring at a young age, that wasn't enough to live on. My flake of a brother was dead-set against Mother paying me anything to care for her--some gratitude, eh? And he still is, but I finally convinced her that my dad would have wanted her to share with me, just as I had with her for the 15 years previous to that. I think she still thinks the $600/mo she pays me is too much and resents me for it, and my brother talks crap about me, that is, inbetween cruises with yet another girlfriend. The last one was 2 or 3 weeks I believe, they come over here and invited my sister to to go Vegas with them for New Year's, and said nothing to me about it. Of course not, they lknow I cannot go anywhere when I am responsible for caring for my mother! I have requested that bro come the 60 miles once a month to take mom to lunch, but he never replied nor ever considered doing it. He was always her favorite growing up, and so the family dynamics continue. I don't know how my own family can be so uncaring and mean, apparently out of guilt and denial. It really sickens me how this family has deteriorated since my daddy's death or, probably before that. My father remarried after my mother divorced him, choosing to smoke cigarettes over staying married to him, and daddy lived out of state for several years which I do not blame him a bit! I understand you who so proudly say that you don't want to be paid for caring for your loving parents, and do it out of love. If your role as caregiver lasts 10, 15, 20 or more years, let me hear back from you, k?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

i have two sons. if one helps me in my latter years the other can count on inheriting the change jar. its just nickels and pennies and a few metric bolts. they are british metric bolts and dont actually fit anything anymore.. if neither helps me the parrot is going to have a nice home in the country with at least 2 monkey butlers..
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mariea, something else you can do is something I wanted my parents to do when I first moved in. I talked to my mother about paying me $2000 a month, and I would put the money in a savings account. My thought is that it would be a good way to honestly stash some money for later if they needed it -- IOW, an honest way to keep some money if they should have to go on Medicaid. If they ran out of money for some reason, I would have the money in the account. My mother was not interested in doing this, but it may be something you want to consider for yourself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mariea, take your Mom to an attorney and draw up a caregivers contract. Keep exact records of all she gives you and pay taxes on it. Please remember this is not your "moms money," its your help-less siblings inheritence that they don't deserve if they are not helping. They will come with their hands out if anything happens to your Mom so you have to cover yourself and do it the right way. I did it this way, recomended to me by a lawyer and its approximately $15 an hour for 8 hours a day, or can be anything your mom agrees with. I took my Mother into my home also and she has outlived her money so now I am basically paying it back in her care of what SS and the VA doesnt cover, which is fine. I never wanted it to begin with but when my helpless siblings started asking her for money and accused me of taking it, I got a lawyer and did it right. Good Luck, you do deserve it!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I agree, Mishka. I am going to borrow Jeanne's words from here on out.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I like that, jeannegibbs , - "the dignity of paying her own way" . :0) nicely stated, IMO.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Do the right thing. Allow your mother the dignity of paying her own way. Allow her this means of compensating the daughter who is helping her without taking the drastic step of making unequal distributions in her will.

By all means, allow Mother to pay you! And use the money for whatever you want. Don't set it aside for her ... that defeats the whole concept.

BUT ... have a personal care and/or room and board agreement drawn up that spells out exactly what she is getting and what she is paying. This will keep Medicaid (should that ever be necessary) from treating it as gifts (even the government understands that people pay their own way if they can) and also keep siblings or other relatives from claiming that you've already received your "inheritance." Nope. This is not a gift and it is not an advance on your inheritance, if any. Just do the paperwork to make that clear.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

mariea, your mom sounds like a sweet lady. If she wants to lessen your load and show you respect by paying you, then why not? As others have advised, make sure it's done on the up and up and it's a positive financial move for all. She would have to pay to live somewhere if she were alone. Maybe it makes her feel like she is paying her way in life. I'm very impressed by her attitude.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Oops-I didn't see all the other posts to ferris until after I posted. I see I am not the only one with thoughts on the subject. I posted before I read "page 2" of the responses. Cold medicine is making me wonky, I think. Sorry folks.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi, I am not sure I agree with you, ferris1, about it being the adult child's job to take care of their parents.-as a full time care taker. A parent takes care of their child because they chose to bring a new life into the world -their decision. I say this as a parent who does not expect her daughter to take care of her and as a daughter who has chosen to take care of her mother ( part time now-possibly/ probably full time later) . I think that it is a wonderful sacrifice to take in an ailing/ and or elderly parent and a very noble choice but I do not think that it should be considered a mandatory prerequisite for adult children. Of course, I do not think that an adult child should sit by and watch their parents suffer - ( there are other options than becoming the caretaker) but taking in an ailing parent for full care is not always an option or even the best option for the parent OR the adult child.

I fear that if it is thought that it is the adult child's 'duty" to take in their elderly parent that elderly parent might actually get bad care. Rather, let it be a choice for adult children that are capable and equipped for such an awesome responsibility so that the elder is getting the best care. I mean, to put it bluntly, if my brother was the only child of my parents( my brother, who my sister and I nicknamed The Golden Child as he was soooo adored by my Mom) my Mom would be screwed! He is mentally and physically able but he just does not have it in him to take care of an elderly woman. Egads!!! Poor Mom!
Sorry I went off a bit here. Just my thoughts. A for getting paid. I say icota4kids, is spot on and a dear as well!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

ferris1 - I don't believe it's every childs job to personally be a caretaker to their parent. You would have to quit your job (no insurance, no more getting social security quarters for your own later retirement), and most people start this somewhere in their 50's. That's not smart. This can go on for a long, long time.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

ferris1, I feel responsibility passes down the line from parents to children. It is not like the people who become caregivers were twiddling their thumbs somewhere, waiting for their parents to become old enough to care for. If you feel it is your responsibility to pay back your parents, that is fine. However, it is not a sweeping generalization that all humans should do it. If all did, it would be great, but only a few will shoulder the responsibility.

The facts of caregiving is that it is often done by women of modest means who cut down on working or stop altogether to take care of the parents. Often the woman is within 10 years of retirement age, so this has a terrible effect on her financial future, because SS and pension are substantially reduced. Often the caregiver faces a future of poverty. A caring parent would realize this and try to keep it from happening to the one child who took time for him/her.

It is refreshing to me to read of a mother who wants to take care of her daughter still. It will give the mother a sense of pride for what she contributes and the daughter a little pay for the time she spent. The other alternative would be to wait until the mother needed Medicaid, then spend-down any money or wait until the mother passed to divide assets evenly among all children.

Gifting for elders is not a good idea. Contractual caregiving agreements are so much better. A gift can harm a person applying for benefits, e.g. Medicaid, and may be the target of dissatisfied siblings in legal disputes. Contracts for services are understandable and generally can't be contested. Plus they won't be penalized if a person needs to apply for Medicaid. Self-employment taxes are easy to do, so shouldn't defer anyone from going the contract route.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

if she is competent and does not suffer from demenia, alzheimer's or other mental disorder she can authorize this...however, get a legal document drawn up..you will have to keep good documentation.....you might have to pay yourself whatever medicare or medicaid would pay by law maybe. lots to investigate but its all online somewhere...once you educate yourself, which should not take long, get the legal binding document because those siblings are going to want it...additionally, when you prepare your taxes you will need all the correct documentation and so will your mom (care expenses)...do it correctly or you will be in a mess.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The amount that can be gifted has risen over the years and it can be "times 2" if you are married. I think that your Mother is right.

24 hour care, would cost her $10,000 a month, if she was living at home. I think my MIL just paid 2500/month at Ass't living.

But, I imagine that you are talking about a reasonable amount. I pay my Mother's POA $400 per month and any other care taker $15.00 an hour. It is Mother's money and her care. No one has asked, but even gas is pricey, for everyone.

I do not like relatives, that don't help or visit, but then expect an inheritance. Too bad for them, but they are owed nothing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I would say yes, take the money if it she has it to give. I get paid for caring for my mom because it is full time & I am unable to work. The alternative would be to hire someone or put her in a home which would make no sense. It would cost more money & the quality of care might not be that same as what she gets with me. Caregiving is a tough job & you should be compensated if possible.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Personally, I don't think that whether you're compensated or not has anything to do with the love one feels for their parents. It often makes sense, just make sure you're abiding by the many laws (tax and otherwise) that govern that situation and that the payment is made in a way that leaves a good paper trail in case you're mom ever needs to apply for Medicaid.
It would be a good idea to have an open discussion about it with your mom and siblings. I'm sure the last thing your mom would want would be for her children to have a falling out over it. It must be very painful for a mother to be at the end of her life with her children not getting along and having very little time or ability to mend things.
Note to "ferris1" – My though on the matter is that everyone should do what's best for them and their parent. That often doesn't include physically caring for them yourself. It's not "pay back time." I could counter with the age-old argument given by children – "I didn't ask to be born!" Childish, but true. Your parents had their entire adult lifetimes to prepare for their old age. Some did, some didn't, some did and then life got in the way. Whatever. Every situation is different. If you received the loving care of your parent as a child and feel that you are paying them back by caring for them as they age (and you are financially secure enough to have that luxury), then good for you. It's not a choice that is feasible for everyone and it's certainly not a child's "job."
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Since you asking total strangers what to do you must feel wrong about taking money from your mother. No one knows your finances and if it is a hardship for you having mom there, find out what the local rates for home health care are and use that as a guide. Just be sure you declare it as income or the IRS will be at your doorstep, unless your mom signs an affidavit saying she is "gifting" you certain funds (not to exceed $10,000 per yr.). Adult children's job is paying back parents who took care of them when they were a child for free, after all your parents took care of you - my thought on the matter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Very true about Medicaid. When they do their "look back", the money can be considered "gifting", which is why I was advised to keep immaculate records. I can justify that every penny that has been given to me for her care has been used directly for her care, but also the Attendant Affidavit can cover that, however I've already done the preliminary work for Medicaid and they've already questioned the monies paid to me. They will question the amount and try to say that it's too high for a caregiver, however I can prove that I make that amount in 15 hours of wages, so I've got it covered from every angle. It's crazy that so many people are able to abuse the system when those of us who are honest have trouble negotiating it!!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You should be paid. Since you don't have siblings that help the pay you should be receiving is a gift to them. I assume that the will is a share and share alike. If you decide to accept pay, make sure you have a care agreement in place that has been prepared by an elder law attorney. The agreement will protect you if your mother ever needs to go into facility care. When her funds are exhausted, Medicaid kicks in and they will look at all money spent in the previous 5 years. Any funds paid to you, without an agreement in place, will be considered a gift that will require a Medicaid penalty phase until paid back.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Do the right thing. Also what mom doesn't understand or know in terms of finances is alright. Her fear is that she will be forced to leave her home - the details she doesn't need to be burden with.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

In order to receive a VA pension, there has to be limited income. I believe that the adjusted gross income (calculated differently than by the Federal Government) has to be under 2000.00 per month. That's where my getting paid comes in ... to lower her income. I was assisted through the entire process by an Agency called Veterans Home Care. I don't know if they operate in every state. I'm in NJ. I'm sure there is an organization similar to it wherever you live, as the VA relies heavily on these agencies. They won't pay you however, they pay for the veteran's direct care and expenses. They pay for my aunt to go to Day Care two days per week. Perhaps something like that could give you a respite. Actually, outside of NJ it would probably pay for 3 or 4 days of Day Care! =:0
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I take care of my dad with alzheimers and my mom who is handicapped. I don't take money from mom or dad because they dont offer it, but I in turn dont have any money of my own. My dad was in the Korean war and I was just wondering can I get paid through the VA for taking care of my dad, 24 hours a day? I of course am doing it out of love, and dont expect mom or dad to pay me, I am their daughter, but is there something I can do to receive any help from the VA....
God Bless
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It is a good idea for several reasons, but you do need to declare this as income on your taxes (or are supposed to). I was told this by an attorney. To me, that's the only key drawback.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You are right on target. Just keep doing what you are doing and no one can say anything but THANKS!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

A social worker actually told me to do this. I, like you, didn't want to but she had me sign an "attendant's affidavit" (this is through the VA) and she determined how much I was to receive. The advantage to my Aunt is that it lowers her adjusted income and helps her to qualify for a Veteran's pension. I put the check that I write myself from her account each month into a separate account that I opened for this purpose. I use that account for only her expenses ... I have her phone and cable bill paid directly from the account and use it for her groceries, day care transportation expenses, etc. I save every single receipt just in case it is ever questioned. The social worker told me that it was *my* money and I could spend it however I wanted, however I don't agree. That is clearly a matter of conscience. Yes, I care for her but it is not a paid position, it is done out of love.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

For keeping your Mother happy I would take the money and just put it off to the side and tell no one. Use the money for her interests and needs. You just don't know what the future will be for your Mother or your self as her care taker. Does any family member have power of attorney? This would be a good thing to acquire in case your Mother ever gets to point she can not make important decisions for her self.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter