She is well able to pay this amount and would be paying over $5000 a month for assisted living if our home was not available. My wife and I are both retired and live on fixed income, and it helps out tremendously. She thinks we are taking advantage. Would appreciate other opinions.

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The top response to your question by MaggieMarshall is very important. Without a Caregiver Contract, and records to verify the work that you are doing, your mother's payments to you will be questioned if your mother needs Medicaid in the future, and those transfers could disqualify her.

Ask an elder law attorney to explain all of the options. Was your father a war-time veteran? Aid & Attendance pension can reimburse the veteran's surviving spouse for care expenses, even payments to family members.

Medicaid home care programs in your state may also be available, if your mother's income and assets can be coordinated with the application process.
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First, I'll say that, should mom have to go to a nursing home or assisted living, and runs out of funds, Medicaid will look back five years at how she's spent her money. Without a contract and your meeting certain other requirements, all the money she's given you will be considered a gift. Medicaid will exclude covering mom using a specific formula -- and come to you to get that money back.

Having said that, $2000 a month for 24-hour care is very reasonable. Anyone would say that.

You need to see an eldercare attorney to line up your ducks with a care contract. You will be required to claim it on your income tax and you AND mom will both pay Social Security on the money paid to you as wages. That is one of the ways Medicaid will use to determine whether or not the money was a gift.

Get busy. That care contract is very important.
Helpful Answer (38)

Jojochocho, it's nice you can work full-time. Do you pay someone to care for your Mom all the time you're working? If so, you know how expensive it is. If not, you're mother is not in the same situation as most of these people on this site and does not need 24/7 care and attention. Greedy is not a word that describes anyone who gives up their life to care for an elderly, infirmed, helpless patent.
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We have done exactly that with my mother in law. $2000 is half her retirement income. She has Alzheimer's. I stay with her 6 days a week all day from wake up till her bedtime, 12-13 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. I take her to all her appointments, she pays no bills, no co pays, if she needs anything it comes out of our pockets. We take her on our family vacation with us and out to eat with us. She never pays for anything. We cover it all based on what we take from her monthly. Her ADLs are ok right now as far as bathing, mobility and toilet issues but we know what is coming. We will be giving up our master bedroom when it is necessary. I have absolutely no qualms at all about banking half her income. It does a lot to mitigate resentment knowing there is a nest egg growing in case of an emergency for my family and also knowing that for the same type of care she would be robbed of every dime by a facility. When she was of sounder mind she was absolutely in favor. If anyone of my husband's siblings want to complain, I will help pack her up when they come to take over this heartbreaking job of mine.
Helpful Answer (31)

I think it is fair for every adult that lives in a house to contribute to the household.
I see nothing wrong in the concept, I think she is not feeling comfortable with the amount.

Is $2000 / mo just for room and board or does it include errands, chauffeuring, preparing meals? Does it also include bathing, dressing, toileting? Does she require 24 hour attendance?
Is she moving into a room or a MIL suite? I would expect to pay more based on accommodations (just like rent).

I think you get the idea, the devil is in the details. I will say that if all parties are not comfortable with the arrangement I would not proceed. Assuming she is capable, she can live elsewhere.

When people begrudgingly accept a deal, they only get more bitter with time.
If you decide to proceed, do see a lawyer and get a written agreement, to ensure if she ever needs Medicaid, that this is not viewed as a "gift" triggering a penalty. The attorney can also opine on whether the amount would be viewed as excessive by Medicaid.
Helpful Answer (25)

She would not be taken advantage of. It's called the cost of living and $2000/month is far less than assisted living and a fraction of a nursing home. Your bills are going up, you are going to loose alot of privacy. I would charge more $2k is not worth the life change you will experience.
Helpful Answer (24)

Sheenaz - you're right in one respect : you are lucky that you genuinely like your mother. I can't say the same, and it makes caregiving more onerous for sure. As for being able to choose your own path and not be dependent on "begrudging kindness" - people with children have that exact same ability. If they choose not to provide for their own old age and by default become a burden for their children, it's nobody's fault but their own that their children's kindness is "somewhat begrudging."

As for the assumption that kindness is granted only in proportion to the parent's monetary contribution, that is so not true. Oregongirl said it very succinctly in another thread " There is not enough money in the world to pay a Caregiver that is a family member." Often there is no money at all (and that's why a family member is needed to take on the task) but even if there is, there's no way the money could compensate for the stress, the exhaustion, the years of keeping one's own plans and goals on ice while tending to the needs of another. Try walking in someone else's shoes before presuming to judge their intentions.
Helpful Answer (24)

If you break the amount down to an hourly rate, it comes to $2.78 a hour. Where else could Mom live and have 24 hour care at that amount.
Helpful Answer (23)

Does your Mom need the help? Did she want to make the move? Does she have dementia? If the answers to all of thes questions is yes, then the amount you are asking to be paid is quite fair. However, do you have a lease agreement or care agreement in place? If not, you need to have these prepared. And you will be required to pay income taxes whether it is rent or care. See an elder law attorney asap to help with these documents, and the attorney should be paid by mom. Without the agreement all money paid to you by mom will be considered a gift and as such subject to penalty if Mom ever needs to go on Medicaid.

Your situation of living on a fixed income has no place in this discussion as it is immaterial to your mother's care needs or her financial situation.
Helpful Answer (21)

If she would be in assists living, then that means she needs assistance with her daily activities. It is more than just setting another plate at the table and changing bed linens once a week. MUCH MORE. I speak from experience. With my mother there was a huge spike in every utility bill. Lights everywhere turned on & left on by her 24 hours a day. TV on all the time. Heat turned up in her area of the house (3 rooms) to 75 because she was freezing all the time. At least one extra load of laundry a day because of accidents....sometimes 2 of them a day. She ate more food than my son with the bottomless pit of a stomach. The "rent" the POA agreed to pay was $100/wk which didn't even cover the food. Now who is taking advantage of who? "Oh, but this is our Mom" said my siblings who went on with their lives, taking vacations & expecting me to be hostess when they "visited" Mom for 2 hours.

Can't forget her wanting to be with someone, anyone, 24 hours a day. Needing care for 22 of those hours but POA (not me) only agreeing to pay "qualified" people for 12 of those hours. I wasn't "qualified" so the other 12 hours though it was me or my husband & we did more than the CNAs, we got pennies.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. It was costing me money out of my pocket, yet I was accused of being greedy.

CARE AGREEMENT prepared by a lawyer is a must. We didn't do it, and it was a disaster. Ended up moving Mom to Assisted Living, with an aide 5 hours a day, 3 times a week. Which is cheaper in the end than staying at my place. Mom is safe and well taken care of. We all visit with her 1-2 times a week for a few hours. My family have our lives back and I don't have to deal with my selfish, self-centers siblings.

It is life changing for you all. If you have siblings, protect yourself. If your MIL thinks it is too much, the advice given by someone else asking her what she thinks is fair is great advice. Elder care lawyer will tell you what is a fair amount in your area.
Helpful Answer (19)

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