need help with this please

cmae17August 2, 2008

I'm retireing in a couple of months and moving back to my home state. A friend has called and offered me a job careing for his 91 yr. old dad. I would live with him and have no expenses. He is very active still driving, mowing his grass etc. He lives in a state with hard winters (I live in Texas) and they don't want him living alone anymore.

They want me to give them a $$ amount and I really don't know. Money is no problem with them and it would keep him out of a nursing home which cost plenty I suppose.

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Call the local Area Agency on Aging - every state and most counties have them - and ask what the average cost of full-time live-in help would be. I'll bet someone there would be able to give you some figures that you could use.

Don't underestimate what your time and reliability is worth. To know that a friend one can trust is looking after an elderly parent is worth a LOT when it comes to peace of mind for children who live out of state!

Good luck to you no matter what your decision is.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 11:34PM
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Not sure what to say as far as a dollar amount, guess it depends on what part of the country and what you feel you are worth. Check online what in home caregivers are getting in that area. Here in PA the average cost to have someone come in is around $22/hr. but they don't work weekends and usually don't work more than 8 hours.

You are going to be "on call" 24/7, plus you will be keeping house, cooking, shopping and so on. Are you prepared to drive in the winter?LOL! Seriously though, will you have to use your car? If so then don't forget the cost of insurance, upkeep and so on.

One nice thing is you will be able to sock away a tidy little amount!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 10:52AM
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modern life interiors

The whole $22. an hour wage does not go to the caregiver. Most of it goes to the agency and the worker gets about minimum wage to maybe $9. an hour.

Keep in mind the $22 an hour is being paid for by medicaid or medicaid or some other health plan.

Try to check with the department of aging in the state where the 91 year old individual lives and find out if they have "self-directing" homecare programs.

i found one in nyc called "concepts of independence" and my friend enrolled.

He didn't understand the paperwork, but I did.

Self directed care usually gets paid from insurance like medicaid, etc.

They paid me to take care of him because I was not a relative.

I also received great benefits as well, health plan covered eyes and dental, vacation pay and training pay.

When my friend passed away I was able to collect unemployment. It was $350 a week for 52 weeks. I signed in for my checks thru a voice mail system.

The person I was helping had a disability and they gave him several hours a week because he lived alone and was using a wheelchair.

$350 a week inunemployment checks is nothing to laugh at even in nyc where life is expensive.

I was happy to do the program with him. At least he knew me for many years and I was not a stranger.

Now about the car insurance. The person who owns the vehicle pays for the insurance not you.

If the gentleman can receive medicad go that route because self directed care will give him his hours and pay you.
The balance of the money can be paid in cash from the family.

just don't tell anybody because he might only get a few hours a day assigned to him. The family wants live in so they might give you the rest of the money in cash.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 12:20PM
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$22/hour is what was paid out of pocket by me when I hired homecare for my dad for several months. It was not covered by Medicare/Medicaied as his retirement income was too high. Each state regulates Medicaid so income amounts vary from state to state.
And yes. the actual person coming to the home did not make 22/hr, they were making around 10-12/hr.(I asked!)

As for the car insurance, you are right, I asked if she would be using her car. In which case she would have to pay insurance, upkeep and gas, but should consider that when asking for her wage. If the gentleman's car could be used for most errands then that should be considered as part of the salary.

Plus I am sure there will be other personal expenses one would want to consider.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 2:03PM
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FWIW....I'm 24/7 with mom and have been for years. Once a week I hire help for a single overnight -- typically a 20-hr. shift. Skilled care not needed. Just trustworthy attendant and companion to take care of meals and housekeeping and know what to do if anything happens. I'm only an hour away with my cell phone on. That help costs $15.00 per hour including attendant's sleeping time and extra for food if they need to buy any. These are non-agency people so there's no overhead. If they were skilled people from an agency, I expect the rate would be 25-30% more.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 2:35PM
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modern life interiors

Asolo, you are doing things the right way including taking a day off from a stressful week and hiring someone privately to help out that you trust.

Not everyone sent from a home care agency is skilled.
The only people skilled are registered nurses or licensed practical nurse.
Anything below those titles...forget about it.

Everyone chews your ears of from the agency how skilled home attendents are. They are not.

Some of them have poor basic reading skills. Some of them are tempermental, Poor people skills, Poor language skills, etc.

Another biggie is no background check from the agency. They all say they do it but they don't! It might not be a legal requirement for them to operate.

It is always better for a person to be around people who are kind, helpful and attentive who know them. friends, students, people in the community. etc.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 3:25PM
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The big problem in taking care of someone that age is that the time is getting closer and closer to a point where something will happen. It could happen the day after you move in. He falls breaks a hip or arm. Flu turns into pneumonia. Eats something that doesn't agree with him. Or he could have an automobile accident. Many, many things could go wrong. What would you do if he has to go to the hospital for a while? Would they still pay you to stay in an empty house with no one to care for? Would they blame you (and maybe even sue) for not taking proper care of him? It could get ugly.

Also remember that at some point, he will require more care that you are physically able to give. Then what? You won't have a patient or a home if you have to leave.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 3:43PM
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asolo, lucky you to be able to find someone you trust and is willing to stay the hours you want! That would be like heaven to me right now to have a night away. My big thing is finding someone I could trust to not go through every drawer, closet and file cabinet in the house.
I am happy for you that you have someone to count on for your once a week away time!

Good points Aileen, there are so many vairbles in an arrangement like that, one must be very careful.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Appreciate all your thoughts..I've emailed the Area Agency on Aging in his home state and waiting for a response, if none I'll call. I've the proceeds from a real estate deal to buy another house when needed. My thinking is since I'm two yrs. from medicare I'll need do something to pay my health insurance which I figure will be at least $350 monthly.The Mr. has genetic longevity on his side. I'll keep watching here.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:45PM
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As a caregiver, I would not even consider the offer. Have you given thought to what you will NOT have. As being there 24/7 to care for his needs, what about time for you to do things you want?
He may be in good health but your responsibility is still a companion and caregiver. You may want to do wash as it needs done, he wants to go to the store. You want to take a shower or bath but he needs help fixing something. You may just want some alone time but he wants to talk.
Every aspect of your life will change. You are giving up everything - home, belongings, cherished items, and even the good ol' southern weather. I imagine the house has all the furniture where all you'll be able to take are your clothes and personal items, nothing else.
You have been given amounts for salary. I think they are not realistic. You will be living there and eating there free of cost. I believe if you get any salary, it will be minimal. People around here advertise for a livein in exchange for the room and board.
Give it some serious thought and make sure you understand everything they will expect you to do AND what all you will be giving up.
I hope it works out for you. God Bless

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:23AM
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Should have said one more thing on the personal side. I am content to do this for my own mother....with whom I've always had an excellent relationship. The existing relationship is what makes it work. I have this for her. I know I would not have it for a stranger regardless of the pay. I know some others have that capacity -- like the two people I use for my weekends off. I've known each of them for years, one for decades. However, starting again screening a stranger for the task I would not care for. In the neighborhood in which I live (many older people) the bad stories you all know about happen over and over again. Trust is all. Problem is, trust takes time.

Back to the topic sure you know what you're capable of. And be sure he has the money to handle it. 3-400 per day is a burden many people can't manage...but you'll be earning it. Many older people have lost track of what things cost and try to delay or reduce payment for what's owed.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 7:12PM
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Lots to think about here. I have known this family since I was about 14. When his health changes they will move him into a nearby nursing home and I can stay in the house if I want too. They don't want to sell the farm and it's a nice house. Friend says if left empty it will be vandalized. He says I can store my entire household on the property. Plenty of family money and I think I should ask for $1200-$1500 a month. I know the nursing home is $3000 plus. He said it can be temporary for me or permanent. I was planning on living about 30 mile from him anyway. I'm just thinking I should do it and save the money for what will probably be a couple of yrs. I'll also have my SS and other invested monies. The man's entire family lived to be around 100. Keep it coming..I'm listening.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 10:59PM
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One more thing..I am being told by both sons who live in other states that they just want him to be in a safe enviroment and with someone they trust. They say his main focus is mowing the grass and they think he should no longer be alone in case something happens.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 11:08PM
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I do think you need to check things further. It's a 24/7 job and sounds as if you are expected to be there all the time - any time off, holidays, vacation? Will you have Medicare and do they offer to pay for the supplement?
What specific health problems does he have? What medicine is he required to take? Any limitations? Any other responsibilities besides he and the house? Any pets? You allergic to any of them?
If a farm, do they still have livestock where you will have some responsiilities there?
I'd just make sure I was going into this with eyes wide open so no surprises.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 12:31AM
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After reading that you were planning on moving about 30 miles from there anyway you just might want to give it a go.......but do look in to all aspects first. I would ask for more, and I would contact an attorney and have a caregiver agreement drawn up. I have one with my parents, it spells out the duties and states a dollar amount for a monthly income. Now, with my parents I am not taking that income but it gives me the legal right to pay my bills with their money as that is part of my "salary".

My thoughts are if you feel comfortable doing this then go for it, you can always quit if it is too much for you.

Linda J

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 6:45AM
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