Care Agreement

How to Prepare an Agreement to Care for a Family Member
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The purposes of a written personal care agreement and what it should contain

Some older adults are able to pay their family caregiver from private funds, long-term care insurance benefits, or a state-sponsored assistance program.

If you regularly provide paid care to a family member, such as a parent, it's a good idea to prepare a simple, written agreement setting out the terms of your arrangement.

A simple, written personal care agreement (sometimes called a personal services agreement) can help both you and your family member be clear about what you're supposed to be doing and when.

  • It can also help avoid misunderstandings with other family members about who's providing care and how much money is changing hands. If the agreement doesn't solve a particular disagreement with family members, you may be able to add something to the document, or change its terms, to address the problem.
  • If the person you're caring for is receiving state assistance for in-home care, the agreement can prove to the state exactly where some of the money is going, which the state program might require.
  • If the person ever needs to enter a nursing home and wants Medicaid to pay for it, the agreement can show that these payments to you were legitimate, not just an attempt to "hide" funds in order to qualify for Medicaid's services.

What to include in a personal care agreement

A personal care agreement should include the following basic information:

  • When the care will begin.
  • What tasks you'll perform. Be specific and thorough, but also include the term "or similar tasks to be mutually agreed upon by the parties." This gives you both some flexibility, so that you won't feel like you need to rewrite the agreement every time you change the tasks you perform.
  • How often, and for how many hours, you'll provide this care.
  • How much you'll be paid, and when the payment will be made.
  • How long the agreement will stay in effect. This can be a set time, like six months or a year, after which you can both decide whether you want to make any changes. It may be simpler, though, to make the contract open-ended, described with a phrase such as, "This agreement shall remain in force until terminated in writing by either party." In that case, either of you can end the arrangement at any time simply by writing a signed, dated note saying that the agreement is over, and giving the note to the other person.
  • A statement that the terms of the agreement can be changed only by mutual agreement, in writing, by both parties.

Drawing up a personal care agreement yourself or using a lawyer

You can probably draw up the agreement yourself, without paying for a lawyer. A good model, along with clear, easy-to-follow explanations, is the Elder Care Agreement (Form 85) in the book 101 Law Forms for Personal Use by Ralph Warner and Robin Leonard (Nolo), which is available in both hard copy and electronic versions. Once you have a version of the agreement that both of you are comfortable with, make several copies. You and your family member should both sign and date two copies, each of you keeping one.

If you feel more comfortable having a lawyer draw up the agreement rather than doing it yourself, discuss the terms of the agreement with your family member before seeing the lawyer. That will make the process quicker and therefore less expensive. If you do use a lawyer, it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours of the lawyer's time.

A personal care agreement can change to fit new circumstances

You can change a personal care agreement at any time. To make a change, both of you have to agree. If you both want to make a change, simply write a note explaining the change -- more or less pay, more or fewer hours, different tasks -- with both of you signing and dating the note, and attach it to the original contract. Or if you find that you both want a number of things to be different, you can draw up an entirely new agreement. If you do draft a new contract, include the phrase "This agreement supersedes all previous agreements between the parties having to do with personal care."


Joseph L. Matthews

Joseph Matthews is an attorney and the author of numerous books, including Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions, Long-Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It; How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim; and The Lawyer Who Blew up His Desk. See full bio


about 4 hours, said...

How can I apply for cash and counselling program? who do I contact? I have been taking care of my 83 yr old mother for 15 years who has vascular dementia and a year ago, I had to quit my job to assist her every day. I am in financial difficulty I like to get some help!


17 days, said...

Answer for Renee Glascoe Consult your Social Security office,;I believe that if your daughter is declared disabled by her doctor, and depending on her age she can get a SS pension, medicaid and also an additional assistance, SSI. I would take her to a senior center for her to spend there at least half a day while you do some kind of part time job. Or if she is of age to get a SS pension perhaps you can get a medicaid paid care giver to come and take care of her while you go to work full and/or part-time. And you can also try to find some kind of job that she can do at home, it will be healthy for her to keep busy, this will make her mind work, maker her feel useful and will earn some income to help you..


about 1 month, said...

When receiving monies paid by a family member for caregiving, I understand income tax needs paid, would FICA taxes need to be paid on this income? If yes, how does one go about doing that?


3 months, said...

I've had to quit my job to take on full time care for my grandparents due to my grandfather having cancer and I need to know who I need to contact to get paid taking care of my grandparents at home in the state of Texas please and thank you.


5 months, said...

I live in California and I moved my grandmother in with me. I lost my job because she needs care all day. She falls and won't eat without me there. Is there a program that will pay me to care for her?


8 months, said...

I have a sister who has been disabled for over 10 years, she just recently fell and broke her hip. In addition to the aforementioned she is now living independently on a walker and is unable to care for herself. I would like to assist her more regularly at least 3 to 4 days a week to prepare meals and assist with hygiene and house keeping. How can I apply to this program in order to get paid?


8 months, said...

I've been taking care of my daughter with mental illness bipolar disorder & skissfrania . please guide me how I can get paid as a caregiver. My daughter Who lives with me I'm not able to go to work because I have to be with her 24/7 bad behavior . and flip flops


9 months, said...

I lost my job and I been taken care of my parents. my mom went on dialysis and has memory lost. I have to be with her 24/7 she takes a lot of meds. bags changes. she stop cooking and shopping and give her meals when asked. my dad cant see with one eye and the other eye is ticking. I been home 3 years now. I would like to get paid for this I also stay up 3 nights all night all. there doctor is on board. also my mom cant stand a long time. cant walk far. I'm in greenfield, Wisconsin .


12 months, said...

Please guide me how I can be paid as caregiver for my mother,who lives with me and have last stage Alzheimer, Dementia and social anxiety disorder.I'm not able to go to work because I have to be with her 24/7. Social worker from Medicaid keep pushing to send her to nursing home,but she is understand mostly everything and feel comfortable at home only.Her husband passed away 2 years ago.She bound with me only.Any facility will get her much and fast worse.She is US citizen,has Medicare and Medicaid, DOB 12/19/1944.


over 1 year, said...

My dad has Cancer and I need help


over 1 year, said...

I need to know who I can contact I take care of 96 year old g ma. I need paperwork to apply for assistance and get paid because I lost my job and am her main provider.


over 1 year, said...

I take care of my aunt who needs around the clock care. I just had to quit my job to make sure she receives the proper care. Can I get paid to take care of her and how?


over 1 year, said...

Hello yes my mom is a diabetic and also has a pacemaker and her heart I have to take care of her & also my brother he had a manager operation on his head permanent disability a little slow now he can speak ride bike but he can get really angry and loud!


almost 2 years, said...

Do I claim income from funds received from any source to take care of my disabled adult


almost 2 years, said...

If I have a job do I need to fill out a Supplementary Employment Request Form?


about 2 years, said...

What if mother in law cannot understand and we have POA


about 2 years, said...

How doesa family caregiverpay taxes and pay into social security?


over 2 years, said...

My mom have bad bad back pain and she have seizures and I am the one she would won't to take care of her sometimes she can't walk she is 42 yard old. I need help what can I do how can I get payed. Now to help her


over 2 years, said...

My mother owns her own home. Has a disabled son she has left the home to in her will. No one disputes this. My mom was in a nursing home for over 2 years and hated it. I took her out. She lives with my husband and I full time. My daughter comes over 5 hours a day to tend to her grandmothers needs. My mom pays her weekly. She does not want to go into the Nursing home again. Is this legal? If mom had to go back into a nursing home would they try to take the home away from my disabled brother?


almost 3 years, said...

If the person I'm power of attorney for needs to go to a home will Medicaid take her house it? She has left her home to me and is in need of repairs. she has no savings or anything like it. How will she be able to pay for the nursing home?