Need some guidance from those who have done 24/7/365 care contracts. I apologize but this is LONG!
Mom is 84 yrs old with moderate dementia. She has lived with me for the past 5 years. Over the past year her safety & self-care abilities have declined to the point that she is no longer safe alone while I work. She refuses an AL or any providers to come into my home.
I consulted an attorney who *claimed* he was versed in elder law. After the first consult, it was clear that he didn't have a clue because I knew more about Medicare/Medicaid law from my online research than he did! Elder lawyer #2 turned out to be a nightmare. I kid you not, his "solution" was, "You pay me $12,000 & I can get my contact at C*****t Nursing Home to arrange admission for her. You do whatever it takes to get her there, even if it means lying, and they'll SNOW HER INTO SUBMISSION with medications." Yeah, pretty unbelievable, huh?
I recently consulted lawyer #3 in early June. She was late for our consultation, saying she was delayed in another meeting, but she took lots of notes as we talked & seemed like she was very knowledgeable & had her ducks in a row. She suggested we file for VA benefits but couldn't find the doctor's testament papers in her files that would need to be completed. On her way out the door, she said she'd get to work right away on the care contract & they'd send me the paperwork but she couldn't stay because she had a court case to rush off to. Still, I left feeling like we were on our way now & had found a good elder attorney.
A month & a half went by without any word or paperwork. I called & inquired. The lawyer wasn't in so the secretary had me leave a voicemail. I left a detailed message saying I was having difficulties getting some of the documentation needed for the VA benefits so could we please just go ahead with Mom paying for the care from private funds. (I had already been off work for 3 months without income & needed to expedite things) It took them a week & a half to get back to me....and it was not the lawyer, but the secretary. Despite the detailed message I had left, the secretary had everything backwards. I went through it with her TWO more times....I'm hemorrhaging money without an income, I'm having trouble getting my Dad's DD-214 (long, convoluted 63 yr old government screw-up story) & Mom & I just wanted to skip the VA application & go straight to having a care contract drawn up that would have Mom paying me the same flat-rate fee each month for 24/7/365 companionship & AL-type care. She claimed to understand. I never did get a chance to take with the lawyer, herself.
I get a packet from the lawyer in today's mail. Finally! Now we're getting somewhere. NOT!! We wanted the contract to reflect 24/7/365 lodging & food, food prep, companionship, housekeeping/yard care, laundry service, supervision & ADL assistance as needed, medication assistance, transportation, entertainment/outings, shopping, financial management & medical management for a flat monthly salary of $2K....which is less than my state average AL costs. My mother would be paying me out of her private funds that include her SSI, pension from work & income from personal investments.
Instead, the contract I got never mentions 24/7/365 lodging in my home. In fact, she wrote that I "must visit at least once per day". She also didn't mention the yard care, 24/7/365 companionship/supervision or financial management. She wrote up the food as not being provided from my salary but that Mom would provide money separately for HER food to be bought separate & kept separate from mine. Secondly, instead of the flat monthly rate that we WANT, she wrote it out that Mom would pay me $15/hr. I have to give Mom an invoice each week of time spent providing assistance & that my total number of hours, and therefore my pay, will vary each week dependent on the amount of assistance needed during any particular week.
First, I'm ticked that the contract isn't ANYTHING like what we wanted. I suspect the lawyer is angry because we backed out on the VA thing & she could have charged a LOT more and, subsequently, just pulled a generic contract from her files, ie. less money *for*, less effort *from* her. Secondly, in order for this to work, I HAVE to make enough to feasibly stay home with her. The flat rate accomplishes that; the hourly rate very well may not since she still dresses, feeds & toilets herself at this point. Also, it's possible I'll be putting in MORE than 40 hrs/wk as she worsens & she just can't afford that at $15/hr!! Not to mention that it's going to be a NIGHTMARE for me trying to keep her food/my food separate, what she's paying for, what I pay for, and budget for my own expenses when my income's gonna vary so much!
Has anyone encountered these problems? Do I call to demand they "fix" the contract to what we want? Do I look for yet ANOTHER lawyer? I can't keep wasting her $ on useless lawyers, I can't afford to stay home for free & she's not capable alone!