Fact: It is possible to gain compensation as a paid caregiver for a spouse or family member, such as elderly parents.
Reality: Compensation is not much if you are currently working at a job that pays livable wages, especially if your employer provides your medical and retirement benefits.
Research Carefully Before Becoming A Caregiver for A Parent
Making the decision to become the primary caregiver for aging parents is a loving, generous act but keep in mind that it is a demanding position.
It’s critical to carefully research all caregiving options before making any decisions that have the potential to impact your loved one’s wellbeing, as well as your own.
Ask the following questions
These questions will help you hone in on the right caregiving plan for your loved one:
- Is home care the best option for your parents?
- Does home care make more financial sense than assisted living in the long-term?
- If you are taking care of elderly parents, is there money available to pay for regular respite care (it is absolutely impossible for anyone to be a caregiver 24/7 without help and a break)?
- Do I have the physical ability, capacity, and know-how required to become a caregiver for a parent, or will we still need to pay for home care aides to help?
- If I quit my job, do we have enough income to pay for insurance benefits, bills, and to continue putting the same amount away each month for retirement and savings?
- Will this decision put me into debt, or contribute to existing debt in any way?
- Am I healthy, able-bodied and confident about setting and maintaining personal boundaries?
- Does my state pay family caregivers?
No matter how much you love your parents, there is no situation where taking a mental, physical, or emotion toll is worth the act of stepping into taking care of elderly parents.
How Can I Get Paid to be My Parents’ Caregiver?
The following are a list of programs and organizations that provide some level of modest compensation to spouses, children or immediate family members who take on the role of becoming a caregiver for a parent.
In all cases, we recommend applying for prospective services as soon as possible because the required paperwork is involved and waiting lists can be long.
Company-paid caregiver/family leave
If the situation is temporary, bridging the gap until more permanent arrangements can be made, ask your employer if they offer any type of paid family/caregiver leave.
Many employers offer anywhere from four to 12 weeks, and they don’t always have to be used consecutively.
Your parents & siblings
While finances may be an uncomfortable topic for families to discuss, now’s the time to explore that very topic.
Many seniors put money away for “a rainy day,” money you and your siblings may be unaware of. Now, that rainy day has come – in the form of much-needed funds to ensure your parents are safe, well-nourished and cared for so they can continue to enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Also, if you are planning to quit your job or take a notable hit in terms of financial, time, and energetic resources, it is fair that any siblings contribute money or their own time and energy as well.
If family members are able to pay you for taking care of elderly parents, draw up a signed contract, keep professional records of your time and expenses, and always report your income. Read alz.org’s tips on How to Compensate a Family Member for Providing Care.
Medicaid waiver programs
Find out if you’re eligible for Medicaid financial assistance. Medicaid offers a range of waiver programs that vary from state to state.
In Virginia, the program is called the Commonwealth Coordinated Care Waiver (CCC Waiver). This program is designed to help offset the costs of various elder care services by paying qualifying family members to do the work, preventing individuals from having to move to facility-based care.
Click here to view a list of services the program covers. You’ll need to schedule an appointment with your local Department of Social Services or the Department of Health to begin the application process.
However, it’s important to note that each state’s Medicaid-sponsored compensation program rarely pays more than the state’s minimum, hourly wage. Currently, the minimum wage in Virginia is $11.00 per hour. Maryland has a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.
Are either of your parents veterans? If so, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has programs under the Veterans Directed Care umbrella, which provide compensation for qualifying veterans who prefer to receive care at home.
Those who already have insurance coverage through the VA are eligible for an additional stipend – which can be used to pay you to be a caregiver for parents and allows for a monthly budget of around $2,500.
If your parents aren’t currently using a VA plan, they may still qualify for other veterans benefits.
Stipends consider the type of care required and the number of care hours needed. This program pays an hourly wage that is more or less comparable with the standard hourly wage paid to home caregiving professionals.
One of the great things about this program is that veteran care recipients get to choose who their caregiver(s) are, including family members or friends.
Click Here to connect with a VA Regional Office near you.
Getting Paid To Take Care Of Your Elderly Parents
The decision to take care of your parents at home is commendable and the above resources can ensure you’re compensated for your efforts to provide assistance with activities of daily living.
Learn more about taking care of elderly parents in this resource: