An AARP study has released interesting statistics that highlight the prevalence of family caregivers for the elderly. The results of this study were discussed in a Wall Street Journal titled, “Getting Paid to Take Care of Man or Dad”. The study found that on average, family caregivers devote 20 hours a week to caregiving and will spend about 4.3 years caregiving. Also, 60% of caregivers try to juggle a job while providing this care.
While this statistics are quite shocking, there are elder care strategies that can make the burden of providing care easier to manage. Setting up a personal care contract can help avoid many problems involving caregiving. First, a care contract allows the caregiver to be compensated which can help avoid family disputes as they require the itemization of the services and how much and how often the caregiver is to be paid. Finally, caregiver contracts are a powerful spend-down tool for Medicaid. Under the Medicaid rules, giving money to a caregiver can result in a Medicaid penalty if your loved one were to apply for benefits. Having a contract in place allows for compensation without violating any Medicaid rules.
It is not wise to enter into a caregiver contract without meeting with an elder law attorney. Failing to write the contract properly could undermine all these benefits and create significant problems for your loved one.