Many families choose to have a family member care for an aging parent. It seems like the "natural" thing to do. But all too often, unspoken assumptions lead to family conflict. For instance, when is caring done "for love"? At what point should a family member get paid for their time? What if they have to cut back on income-earning activities in order to help?
A good solution is to prepare a written "caregiver agreement" before the first dollar is paid.
- Assess the need. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager. He or she can assess how much help your loved one needs. Having an impartial professional's evaluation can temper disagreement.
- Define the job. Write a job description that identifies the family caregiver's duties. What are the hours? The wages? Build time off into the plan. No one should be on "24/7." Identify tasks that the family caregiver is not willing or able to perform, such as bed baths or toilet care.