A Full-Time Job: How to Take Care of Elderly Parents at Home and Get Paid

January 17, 2024
Giselle Bardwell
As our parents age, ensuring their well-being becomes crucial. While nursing homes are an option, aging at home is often preferred. Caring for aging parents at home is challenging yet rewarding. However, it can also be a financial burden, leading caregivers to reduce work hours or quit jobs. Despite the challenges, there are ways for family caregivers to receive compensation for their dedicated efforts.

First, let’s review the “job description” for at-home caregivers.

Daily Tasks When Caring for an Elderly Parent

Creating a Safe Environment

As our parents age, they may become more susceptible to accidents and injuries. Therefore, creating a safe environment is one of the most important steps in caring for them at home. This can include removing tripping hazards, such as throw rugs, and installing grab bars in the bathroom. You may also want to consider adding a stair lift if they have trouble with stairs. See our Fall Prevention for Seniors article for more ideas.

Daily Task: A routine sweep of the house is necessary to prevent accidents. In the winter, snow should be removed from outdoor steps and sidewalks.

Ensure Proper Nutrition

As we age, our nutritional needs change, and it's important to ensure that our aging parents are getting the nutrients they need. This can include preparing meals that are high in protein and fiber and low in fat and sugar. You may also want to consider hiring a nutritionist or dietician through the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals to help plan meals and ensure they are getting the proper nutrients.

Daily Task: Prepare nutrient rich meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Going to the grocery store for your parents may also be necessary.

Plan for Social Interaction

Social isolation can become a problem for those who find it hard to be self-sufficient. It's important to plan for social interaction for your aging parents. This can include scheduling regular visits from friends and family, or finding social activities for them to participate in. Hiring a caregiver to provide companionship may also be a way for you to balance personal life and give yourself a break from caregiving.

Daily Task: Schedule activities, maintain communications and potentially transport your parents to a visit or activity.

Assist with Personal Care

It may be difficult for your parents to get around the house, squat, bend or twist depending on their range of mobility. They may need assistance with personal care, such as bathing and dressing. Providing this assistance can be a challenging and demanding task, but it's important to ensure that they are well-cared for and keep their dignity. If you feel uncomfortable performing these intimate care tasks or have limited physical strength yourself,  hiring a caregiver to provide personal care may be a better option for everyone involved.

Daily Task: Be constantly available for bathroom trips, daily baths and any other personal care routines such as hair brushing, nail trimmings or shaving.

Manage Medications

Your parents may be taking multiple medications, and it can be challenging to keep track of them. Managing their medications is an important part of caring for them at home. This can include setting up a medication schedule, and ensuring that they are taking the correct dosages at the correct times. You may also want to consider hiring a nurse or caregiver to assist with medication management, especially if your parents are dealing with treatments such as injections, home infusion therapy or catheter maintenance.

Daily Task: Monitor and administer daily medications. Stay on top of refills and dosages.

Provide Transportation 

Much like when our parents used to drive us to the mall or the movies, it’s our turn to shuttle our parents. They will need transportation to appointments and social activities. For caregivers, driving means waiting (loss of time) and wear, tear and gas for the car (an additional financial obligation). You may want to consider hiring a caregiver to provide transportation, or finding a volunteer driving program around Northeast Ohio. The Ohio Department of Aging also has a list of transportation options.

Daily Task: Drive your aging parent to appointments, visits, the store and wait for them or assist them throughout their time away from home.

Again, caring for an elderly parent can be a rewarding experience, however, it can also be extremely time consuming. When you consider balancing personal life on top of caring for elderly parents, the thought of having a full-time job as well becomes overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways that family caregivers can get paid for the work they do.


How to Get Paid for Caring for Elderly Parent

Ohio Department of Medicaid Ohio Home Care Waiver

One of the most common ways to get paid for caring for an elderly parent is through the Ohio Department of Medicaid Ohio Home Care Waiver. This program allows Medicaid recipients to hire their own caregivers, including family members, and receive payment for their services. 

To qualify for the Home Care Waiver, the elderly parent must be eligible for Medicaid and require a certain level of care. The amount of payment that the caregiver can receive varies depending on the state, but it is typically an hourly rate that is comparable to what a professional caregiver would receive.

Department of Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit

Another option for getting paid to care for an elderly parent is through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA offers a program called the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit, which provides financial assistance to veterans and their surviving spouses who require assistance with activities of daily living. This program can provide up to $1,794 per month to veterans and their spouses, and some of that money can be used to pay family caregivers.

Private Insurance Policies

In some cases, private insurance policies may cover the cost of in-home care provided by family caregivers. Long-term care insurance policies may include provisions for paying family members who provide care to the policyholder. However, the specific provisions of the policy must be carefully reviewed to ensure that family members are eligible to receive payment.

Personal Care Agreements

In addition to these programs, there are other ways that family caregivers can get paid for their work. One option is to create a personal care agreement between the caregiver and the elderly parent. A personal care agreement is a legal contract that outlines the specific services that the caregiver will provide and the amount of payment that they will receive. This agreement can help ensure that the caregiver is compensated fairly for their work and that the parent's finances are managed appropriately.

Other Caregiver Support Programs

In addition to getting paid for caregiving services, family caregivers may also be eligible for other types of financial assistance. For example, there are programs that provide respite care to family caregivers, which allows them to take a break from their caregiving responsibilities and recharge. The City of Cleveland Department of Aging offers free resources and incentive programs. You can find more information here.

Expert Advice for Caregivers

It is important to note that in some cases, paying family members for care can have tax implications. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific rules regarding the taxation of payments made to family caregivers. It is important to work with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of receiving payment for caregiving services.

It is also helpful to work with a social worker or case manager who can help identify the programs that are available and determine eligibility. Community organizations and nonprofits may offer financial assistance to family caregivers. In some cases, it may also be more financially responsible to hire a compassionate private care service such as BrightStar Care Cleveland. 

In conclusion, caring for aging parents at home is both a challenging and rewarding task. Balancing daily tasks, from ensuring a safe environment to managing medications, requires dedication and time. 

However, the financial burden can be alleviated through various avenues while caregiver support programs offer respite care and financial assistance for home modifications. It's crucial to seek expert advice to navigate potential tax implications and collaborate with social workers or case managers to access available programs, ensuring both the well-being of elderly parents and fair compensation for family caregivers.

If you have questions or are looking for options to balance your career and caring for your aging parents, please reach out to our expert care staff. We’re available 24/7 at 440.613.1500 to help devise a care plan to fit everyone’s needs.