What should the pay rate be for live-in family caregivers?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My parents (91 and 92) will be moving in with my husband and I in the next few months. We have a small apartment in our home for them. They are still fairly independent but are very frail and failing. I will prepare most meals, provide transportation, and general day-to-day care. I handle their finances and am their POA and estate representative. They are financially able to pay us for their care. We need to come up with a monthly amount that will cover costs and care. Is there any 'formula' for figuring out the right amount? Thanks.

Expert Answer

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

I am glad you have asked about a pay rate for live-in family caregivers. Many elders have to go into institutional settings because the family is too shy to ask for pay for themselves. I wish there were a way, to help all family caregivers with this delicate question. Family helpers are saving our country billions of dollars. This needs more acknowledgment and support

I don't know of a formula. Why don't you find out what the standard pay for a live-in is in your part of the country? For years, the most usual rate of pay for a live-in caregiver has been $500.00 a week with one or two days off. However, the range is somewhere between $300 a month to $2500 a week. That kind of range should give you permissionn to work out what a salary would be that works for your parents and for you.

You should feel good about the pay. You could figure how much the room and board is worth. Then figure how many hours you are working. I spoke with a nice assisted living the other day. They charge $4000 a month for room and board, which also includes transportation to appointments, housecleaning, cable t.v.and parking. There is an extra charge for two people. Residents who need help with personal care and other tasks pay for the extra care at the rate of $25 an hour.

You should ask around. Even though it is family,or especially because it is family, you should write down the care plan, your salary, and what it is based on. Communicate this to your parents and any siblings or others such as your lawyer or accountant. Also consider whether you can take care 7 days a week. Do you need to get a professional for a day or two a week or month? Also, as the care needs increase, make sure there is enough money to cover extra help. Who will help when you are on vacation?

Please feel good about entering into this challenging and fascinating world of care. The work you are doing is important!