If I hire an aide for my father should I be responsible for payments?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 05, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

If I hire an aide for my father should I be responsible for payments?  My step-mom works 5 hours a day, therefore my time is required for his safety. We have been told he can't be left alone anymore because of the risk of him falling. I love my Dad very much which leaves me where I would do anything for him. I want to get someone that could take my place on a day or two. I'm treading on thin ice as for my own health.

Expert Answers

You ask a question that I'm sure many people face. In-home care is expensive, and many families struggle to afford it, and there isn't one clear "right" way of deciding who should pay the cost among relatives, or, for that matter, on how to divide up the caregiving time. It's usually worked out individually, family by family. And yes, it can be a source of great tension. It sounds like you're giving all you can and more. You do need to take care of yourself.

Have you talked the situation over with your stepmother or dad? I would start with an honest family conference, where you lay out your limitations. Are there other family members or friends who can join the discussion, and possibly help shoulder some of the care needs? Here's a "family meeting" agenda that might give you ideas for such a talk.

It might help you to see if your dad qualifies for any finanical help for in-home care. Check with his medical insurance or health plan provider. If he's on Medicaid or Medicare, the government programs, he may qualify for in-home care under some circumstances. Does your dad have any kind of l ong term care insurance? You should also be aware that Medicaid programs in some states have programs to pay family members for caring for sick or disabled relatives. You or your step-mom could get paid for caring for your dad. If there aren't any outside sources of financial help (as is often the case, unfortunately), can you talk to your step-mom or dad about pooling resources to hire someone? Are there other family members who could chip in? Are there friends, neighbors, or church members who might enjoy volunteering a little time helping your dad, to give you a break? It never hurts to ask, though this can be hard to do.

You're absolutely doing the right thing by being honest about your abilities. It doesn't help your dad if your health and well-being suffer. Your love for him is heartfelt. I wish you the best of luck in working out extra care.