How much do I pay my brother to care for my dad?

by francy Dickinson    

Dear Francy;  My family has been paying one of my brothers to care for our aging father.  The money is coming from my father’s account, so he
is actually paying it, but he has one of my siblings in charge of his money. As my father ages and needs more assistance -my brother is giving it more time and energy. We all agree he needs a raise in pay. Do you have any information concerning how folks typically compensate family members as care givers?

First there are a couple of things I want to share. Family, money and caregivers are hard to mix. So, when your family is talking about this, talk about it as a caregiver. That way it is a position instead of thinking about your actual brother. Because after all he might not want to continue to give care as things heat up in the future. That thought aside.

The caregivers that are in-home range in price from what a private person will pay to what a service will charge. Most services charge from $18- $30 per hour. That depends on the amount of skill that is required and such. The actual caregiver receives about $12 an hour from the service provider. The service comes into the house and does an assessment and then gives you a price and a health care plan.

The private person will pay from an average of $10-$12- up to $22 per hour. Once again this depends on what amount of skill is required. So, my example for your dad is that he has to have his house tended and food prepared and light assisting to walk and medication reminders and such. That is basic and light and can be from 2-6 hours a day without skill involved. I would say that would range from $10-$14 dollars per hour.

(Ballpark – light care would be $1,000-$1500 flat rate per month with 6 hours a day. With it going up from there as you add time and the medical and personal care to that listing.)

Example: Assisted Living Caregiver (neighbor) did three meals a day, prepared medication, and did some personal appointment calls for a gentleman (no housekeeping, yard work or medical required) /Two visits per day = 4 hours-6 days a wk. She would also take him back and forth to doctor & grocery visits. She received $275 a week with extra gas money & fee for driving

Now, when things start to get more extended in time and your brother is working 8-12 hours, or living-in the home with your dad….that is a higher amount and would be a flat fee basis that would include food and lodging for your brother and it would be around $350-$500 a week. Now, you are getting into the range that a care center would begin to charge. They run around $1800 to $3,000 for basic care for each month and your dad would live there full time. Additional charges would be added as needed if you are talking a lot of care with health issues and/or Alzheimer’s care. 

As care is needed, I would always suggest an outside person to do your father’s baths, once or twice a week. It gives the son the release from the private bathing time. As well as the bath person reports to the person in the family that writes the checks and they are legally required to report any bruise or hot spot on the body so it can be cared for- immediately. That way you always have a back up to the care. This is not to be thought of as a negative, just a fair reality of life. Bed sores are not a pretty picture and are hard to treat, so this keeps everything in view to the whole family.

Now next you want your brother to know if he is going to give care, he needs to take a care-giving class. He may think this is stupid. But I assure you these classes are really important. I review everything on this subject in my Care-givers Workbook 101(ebook or printed)- I really spent a lot of time putting together all the tips for care givers that are not professional nurses – so the families could learn how-to tips. You can find the book on my website under Products

Next comes the thought pattern. Your brother is the caregiver and he needs to follow a care plan. You will find out how to build one in the workbook. This plan is so nice because then he has a daily outline of what the family expects him to do when caring for your dad. Makes it all very seamless and no hurt feelings – keeping this on a business type of relationship, so down the road if things get difficult you have the family in tact and another caregiver can just walk in the door and take it from there.

When your dad needs more care than your brother can give him, it’s time for a care facility or for advanced in-home care. That’s when I come in and talk to you about what is needed and then help you find a facility that works for your dad and the family. I also have the instructions of how to do this in the Care-givers Workbook 101.

The problem with care-giving is it starts out with time, energy and love and then it will start to move into difficult decisions and hard work. So, just be aware that if you keep your brother thinking that this is a floating situation that has to updated every few months. You will find he will take it all on a less personal basis. It is very kind of him to give his time and love to his dad…he could be doing other jobs that are less stressful. But on the other hand, your father is your primary focus and his well being has to be on top.

Thanks for sending your question, it was one that lots of folks wonder about. I do want to stress that many families go through really sad arguments about caring for their parents. This care giving is more than you think. There is nothing so sad as a family that separates because of hurt feelings on one side or the other – we have long lives and need our siblings to be there with us as we go down our life path. So, good luck on this and please do visit my website and get a copy of the workbook, I know it will help your brother.

Thank you, francy


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