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I've been living with mom since dad passed in October 2016. She's 80 years old, I'm 60. I have 2 brothers but as we well know when you are the only daughter, with grown children and you're divorced it's assumed you'll step in. When I moved in it was because she was lonely, as time progressed (3 months) I realized she was starting the slow decline into dementia. I could see the signs since dad suffered from Alzheimer's . Fast forward to 6 months ago, I knew we were on borrowed time with her needing 24/7 supervision and made my brothers aware that I was willing to leave my job to care for her.


I was a paid caregiver (second job) for an agency when my girls were in middle/high school, did it for 6-7 years so I knew what I was getting into. The job I just left was as a substitute teacher, I worked 175 of 180 school days, in a high paying school district. From the get go I made them aware that I would be paid, I've been on this site long enough to know all there is to this ride: loss of retirement, not paying into Medicare, lack of personal time and spontaneity, frustrations of a broken brain, etc. As of last Friday I became mom's full time caregiver. Let me add that at this time her care needs include everything except toileting and feeding, with my help she can still dress/bath herself but needs reminders to do everything else. Memory is gone but she is happy and agreeable. I believe mom is in the moderate stage of this horrible disease and am aware that her overall health is good and she could easily live another 6 years if not 10. That being said, her financials put her at around a million dollars. She would pay me my previous pretax income of $750 a week. Am I expecting too much to be compensated for the income I gave up to keep her at home and happy? The questioning brother says, "What about room and board and that you didn't work in the summer." The other brothers says pay yourself whatever it takes to keep her home plus overtime for the weekends, says he couldn't live with her! I am the financial and medical POA and executor when she passes. I'm aware of the parent/child gifting limit and medicaid look back. My calculations show her having more than enough should she need to put in a facility (brother's reasonable concern). She has income of $35,000 a year and house could be rented for $2,000 a month.

Got it, thanks MACinCT.
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MACinCT, would you mind telling me a little more regarding the financial side of things? It would help me explain to questioning brother. Are you saying you see my mom's numbers put her in good shape? When you say $100,000 in 3 years is that what your mom spends after tax deductions? You can PM me if you like.
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MACinCT Apr 15, 2019
Because the stock market goes up more than down and with recovery improved since this year her interest keeps her bottom line from rapid decline. So she only decreased her bottom line by 100k over the past 3 years.. You just have to tolerate the ups and down of the market. I only sell off enough to cover her expenses every 4 to 5 months
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Your brother who has a problem with what you are getting paid really has no business unless he is paying for her care. AS others have said he can come and take care of Mom while you go back to work. Since your mother can afford it, you should be paid what you are giving up in income. That is only fair. As far as the months you did not work teaching, you are helpingor looking out for your mother 24/7, and it will get worse as far as how much more you will have to take on with personal care down the road. So you are essentially putting in 168 hours a week and getting paid for 40. He should be happy to get such a bargain for his mother!
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kimberlitas Apr 14, 2019
Thank you to all that have given me your thoughts and advice. This site and all of you amazing caregivers have helped me so much in the last 2 years. Prior to this money issue I've used this site for emotional support, no one understands the toll it takes on our psyche except a fellow caregiver.

After reading the DPOA I've determined that I can be paid and can gift (myself and other family members) up to the $15,000 that is free of federal tax. Thanks tacy022 and worriedinCali for prompting me to reread it!

Lymie61 we think alike! Much of what you said is the way I see the situation. My brothers and I get along, it's just the one questioning things is a numbers guy and has also been burned by an ex-wife financially. Also, I think it rankles him to think I'd be making money(tax free) and able to save most of it because I live with mom.

Debbie2019 I agree with you that most of this is not his business as he only comes around for holidays and when I ask him to help me out (which is rarely). But as I mentioned above he does love our mom and I do want to have a relationship with him when she's gone.

I think I will make an appointment with an elder care attorney just to have confirmation on the DPOA document and possibly draw up an employment/caregivers letter or contract.
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Funny you mention that lynnm12, I did extend the offer for him to stay 3-4 days if he thought it was so easy. His excuse, "I have young kids to help with (second marriage/younger wife). Also, I told him what an agency charges as I worked for one a few years ago. In all fairness he will be staying with her next week for 2 days while I visit a friend but I have arranged for my adult daughter to do the overnights. He did mention her running out of money in 10 years and not wanting to have to contribute financially to her care. He has already told me that he will not do "hands on" care for mom. When I run the numbers I don't see her running out of money even if she does pay me a fair wage.
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MACinCT Apr 14, 2019
My mother has a similar net worth. With minimal SS her monthly bills in a good Memory AL is $7000. With good investments in the markets, I withdraw for her about 65 K/ yr. You may be pleasantly surprised that within 3 years she only uses up about 100k. She is in good shape.

Taxes are 0 because she has a good accountant. There is still a rule on the books that if she is in memory care the medical deductible is 43 to 47 %. I don't have the rule with me since I have been away from home for a few weeks
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I would check about deducting for SS and taxes. This way, you still are contributing to SS.
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
JoAnn29 I've been contributing to a teacher retirement plan for the past 16 years, we don't pay into SS. Thus the reason I want mom to pay me.
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Figure out the legal, logistics of things. Maybe with an attorney? Then...take care of her if that's what you want and are able to do. And if the 'questioning' brother has a problem with it? Invite him to step in to your world. Not being mean, but, yep, sounds like he has NO idea what you deal with day to day. And maybe suggest he looks into what an agency charges, for people that are strangers to her. That may be an eye-opener for him.
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Agree with Grandma here, get prices from 2-3 services in the area and even independent if you choose for being the 7am - 6pm (really what you need to have a full time job out of the house) or whatever shifts they find are the norm, full time caregiver. Average your findings and see where you are, dollars to doughnuts it's more than $750 a week and your skeptical brother will be sorry he pursed this. His skepticism probably has nothing to do with you and not meant to be aimed at you, even though you are bound to feel that way. However he has really done you all a favor because now things are really transparent and there can't be resentment and hard feelings based on ignorance about the real facts. You can also then decide what you really should be paid and do take into account all of the things mentioned, taxes, SS, health and workers comp insurance, vacation and time off. It also gives you info to plan for time off and vacation coverage. Now, we all know you aren't going to take as much break or off duty time as an unrelated paid caregiver or charge for all of your time and as her daughter the care and piece of mind you provide is worth far more than money can buy and once it's all laid out for consideration your brothers will see it too so as suggested you can all make the decision as to whether it makes more sense to pay you a fair wage or hire an outsider to work 7am-6pm. Remember you are already donating 6pm-7am in this scenario...

As POA and Executor as well as live in caregiver doing this research and setting up an employment situation is going to be best for everyone in the long run including should there come a need for a "look back" or some other fiduciary review. Even with the differing approaches it does sound like both brothers are actively involved and around and the 3 of you have a good communicative relationship, they love you and mom and aren't just concerned about inheritance. While their eyes may not be as open when it comes to the care Mom needs and what that entails it does sound like they are supportive and aim to work together so everything you can do to keep them included and to be transparent just out of respect the lighter the load is likely to be. This way you aren't being asked and feeling challenged or not trusted and they aren't feeling like they are in the dark or shut out of the opportunity to contribute and be a part of the family care "team". This whole thing is going to be so much easier if you can try to work as a team and my guess is that's what will make mom happiest too.

Good Luck, you are doing a wonderful thing!
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
Well said Lymie61, you are very insightful. We do have a good relationship and as I've mentioned to them, I'd like to continue that relationship when mom passes. I really appreciate you saying that "I'm doing a wonderful thing", my mom was a fantastic mother and we all love her and want what's best. That being said, I was hoping to avoid any legal caregiving contracts but it may be inevitable.
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On top of what she pays you, you should not do 24/7. She can afford adult day care which can leave time to take care of the house or you can actually find a job. You need to accumulate actual income that contributes to Social Security for at least 10 years for you to qualify for retirement income which will still be very little. You are cheating yourself. If your brother still thinks it is too much, remind him not only of that but of the cost of memory care or nursing home. You can still get in over your head and have to place her when she gets worse.
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
Hi MACinCT, I started looking into adult day care this week. My father went the last couple of years of his life and I'm all for it. Didn't care so much for the one he attended but fortunately there are a couple of others I plan to visit with the hope of her attending sooner rather than later. Let me just add that I'm no martyr, I have every intention of looking out for myself and her. When the going gets really tough (and it will) she will be well looked after in a facility.
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What state are you in? Is the POA in effect? Has she been declared incompetent?
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
We are in California and yes she has been declared and DPOA is in effect.
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Oh! If you don’t already have home cams set up get them now. Under $100 for your whole home and both brothers can view or review any time/date on their phones or iPads.
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
I do have cameras, life saver! Mine are Wyze cams, I have 2 of them and am considering a third, watch her through an app. on my phone. She wanders the house and yard all day.
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I’d contact your attorney - an elder law attorney is needed! - to ensure you’re not prohibited from “self-dealing” as you’re acting as her agent (POA). I’m in Florida and I’ve no idea where you’re at so your state may allow you to pay yourself from her account.

Has your mother been diagnosed or is she still legally competent? The diagnosing documents (showing 24/7 supervision required) might help your questioning brother to understand what’s needed 🙂
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
Thanks star97 for the thoughts on "self-dealing", I'll definitely look into it. She has been diagnosed,(15 months ago) also my DPOA went into effect the day signed it 2 years ago.
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Is Cheapskate Bro usually a fount of good judgement and shrewd yet kind advice? If not, I think you can safely dismiss his opinion that you need to basically financially martyr yourself to save mom's money for his inheritance,

Annoying!
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
Love your reply SnoopyLove! He's actually a good guy just doesn't understand the demands of caregiving, says "she's easy". He ran a multimillion dollar company and knows how to pinch a penny. I'm just trying to be fair with all concerned.
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Thanks for the quick response and advice Tryingmybest. It gets tricky when money and emotions are combined.
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The "going rate" here would be the least of it.
If you want check with an agency to determine what a "live in" caregiver would be paid.
Keep in mind that a live in would also get time off as no one can, will or should work 27/7/365. And it is not legal.
You can not "give room and board" in lieu of payment either although it may figure in to the income.
Are you deducting taxes, SSI and all the rest of the normal stuff that needs to be deducted?
Does your Moms insurance cover compensation if you were to be injured on the job? If not that should be changed so it will cover you as well as any other caregiver that may be hired.

If the brother that says you are paying yourself to much were to be told that you are going to get a job and that the family needs to hire someone to work from 8am until 5pm then you can be paid from 5pm until 8am would he be happier with that arrangement? If so figure out how much that would cost and see if it is more, less or the same as what the current costs are. If the cost is the same or less that might be a good arrangement for you as it will take some of the burden of care giving off you and give you a "normal" life at this point. But also make sure that the caregiver duties also include light housework, meal prep and all the other day to day things. And the duties of taking Mom to doctor appointments, hair and all the other places she needs to get to can be divided between the brothers and you.
I think with all this he will realize that paying you is the easiest and probably less expensive way to go. But you are giving up a lot as this may be a long journey and it does not get easier.
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kimberlitas Apr 13, 2019
Many ideas to consider Grandma1954, thank you. And you're right, it can be a very long journey and never gets easier.
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It sounds like your Mom can afford to pay you so you should be paid. From my viewpoint it's a given to expect to be paid your previous income which is more than reasonable. You will be working three shifts a day, 7 days a week. For that, $750 a week is peanuts really.

I think it's important to draw up an employment contract outlining duties and pay along with any benefits including paid respite time. I would find out how to do that legally since you are POA. I would talk to an elder attorney.

You will want to talk about tax witholdings, workmans comp...those kinds of things.
Good luck.
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