As a live in caregiver, am I being paid enough?

22 answers | Last updated: Oct 06, 2016
Donnamills47 asked...

Presently I am working as a live-in caregiver for a man who has had parkinsons disease for 28 years. My daily duties start at 6am with breakfast and medications and I finish my daily duties around 6pm and then here for him if he needs any help. I work five or six days a week available 24 hours a day. He pays me $850 a month and tells me that I'm getting a "good deal" because he provides the groceries and room and board. I want to know what the going rate is for an experienced unlicensed live-in caregiver in Sylva North Carolina. Thank you.


Expert Answers

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.

Your pay should be $500 a week. Many people make more than $500. But, $500.00 sounds reasonable if it inclucdes room and board. One way to look at it is this. Find out how much it costs for assisted livng or adult foster care or even nursing home care. Then figure how many hours you work or are available to work. If you work 12 hours a day and are on call the other 12 for 20 days a month.I would figure that at $3880.(I am figuring $12.00 and hour plus $1000 for on call) Then subtract $700 for you room and board.So your salary should be $3100. See how that compares to institutional living for him. You might want a raise to $2000. Then in another year work toward $3000 and so on. When you negotiate be senstive to his illness. Be kind. Be firm and trust that you can care for him.Be sure to dress well,and be meticulous in your care and compassion.In the future when you look for another job, you will be priceless.


Community Answers

Pj2u answered...

I am new to the "caring" site and would like to extend a heartfelt thank you Ann Cason for your thoughtful replie[s] here and elsewhere on this site. I have learned allot from your responses and gained the clarity of focus I was seeking. I feel better equipped to avoid any pitfalls that might lay ahead for me.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I think this is way out of line. Most elderly folks who only get social security could never pay those costs. How can you possibly compare in-home care to the care one would receive in a licensed nursing home? Many times these care givers are illegal aliens who are lucky to be in this country and lucky to have a job. Just because they are "on duty" for 12 hours doesn't mean they are doing non-stop work during those 12 hours. There is a lot of down time and plenty of time for them to take care of their own wants and needs. Just what do you think the elderly people who are only receiving social security are supposed to do? Many of them don't receive $2000 a month! I guess it is better to die before you get that old because there won't be any way to pay for care. Unbelievable.


Micol answered...

I have a live in personal valet, he is my adopted son/wife, his 6 children, I provide housing for all. He is somewhat on duty 24/7/365, he attends to all of my personal needs, serves my meals and cleans my quarters. I pay $65.00 a day, the same be it him or some outsider. His total time with me totals maybe 5 hours out of the 24.


Marly26 answered...

As a Healthcare Aide (Licensed) living in Ontario, I'm not sure where you are. You cant' possibly go by an hourly rate because of your time spent in this persons' home. However, your living in his home for some exchange for care. So lets say if you had to rent somewhere you would probably be looking at lets say $600.00 per mth. On an hourly basis and this means tending to him, not just sitting around, your hourly rate would be roughly $12.00 per hr. Does he have a vehicle? Is this vehicle for you to use as well as taking him out to say Dr. groceries etc. If you had to rent a vehicle again would be around 250.00 per mth. So already he has paid you $850.00 plus groceries. If you had to buy your own at your own place you would likely spend lets just say $75.00 per wk. So thats $300.00 a mth. Already you have received $1,150.00 You have to look at what you would work at elsewhere, would you have a vehicle, would you have to pay utilities etc. I'm not trying to say that you dont' need a raise however when asking, and be civil about it I'm sure that he would agree. Keep in mind that you are not licensed. Private care working for an Agency you would receive $11.00 pr.hr. Regular car is roughly 12.50 pr.hr. You would have to weigh the pros' and cons', as well as think of what you yourself would have to pay for if on your own. Hope this helps.


Kzar answered...

This is one of the most common source of conflict between a private caregiver and their patients or employers. Many of these caregivers start working without knowing how much will they get, and do not know if they are going to get a salary increase or not. I suspect that you might be a foreign worker that is why you bite to the price you have now. Anyway next time be sure that you follow the advises they gave here. Do not listen to some people who does not understand the challenge of real caregiving who will say caregivers are not doing enough to deserve a high pay - especially if you are a foreign worker(Their reason, you only get about $200 dlrs/mo from where you came from)


Leosmom answered...

Well, as you said, you aren't licensed, so regardless of experience, that unfortunately counts against you. In my area (Florida), most people HAVE to be a CNA, at the very least. We have a glut of CNAs so the salary is not great. You also mentioned you were in Sylva, which is not exactly L.A. I am also in a rural area, and people make from $8.00 to 10.00 an hour. A hospital pays about the same to a licensed CNA, and the nursing homes are much worse. You are also getting room, board AND groceries? Use of a car? That's worth over a grand, anywhere. Quite frankly, after I pay my bills, YOU have a lot more money at the end of the month than I do. He isn't total care, so you're not changing a bedridden person twelve times a day, either. How many times a night does he actually call you for help? HOWEVER, realistically (sorry to Ann Cason), since you probably can't do much salary negotiation in your area, I do feel you need to set some ground rules about your personal time. You're in a beautiful recreational area, and need some rejuvenation time to save your sanity. I would suggest standing your ground about some free time. You won't last in that job too long if you don't. Good luck to you.


Sammaspd answered...

Here in Houston Texas, i work as a care giver be it , 12, 14, 16 r 24 hour shifts, I have my own place 2 live in, I have my own vehicle, if i stay away from home, which means giving up my life 2 care for someone else love one while they get 2 live their lives, yes i want 2 be paid for it, I bring hm 2500.00 per week when i work 24/7, when i work 12 r 14 hours a day i'm paid 1500.00 a week, it's not easy putting yr life on hold 2 care for other people family memebers when u feed them, bath them, cloth them, lift them, change their diapers as if u r caring for a disable child, who has Nn memory etc:, i work thru a law firm which handle ( estate cases ) wealthie people who can Nn longer live on their own, and their children do want want them living in their homes so they can continue with their lives.


2kind answered...

Wow sammaspd I am in Austin, I don't have my own place, so I live with my patient... Out on lake Austin. I am not a RN or A LVN I am just someone who cares about the elderly and want them treated right. She is 93 w/mild/moderate Alzheimer's she is not difficult, she wears depends all the time.. Her family did her so wrong, as I recently found out. They got POA of her and did a reverse mortgage on her home, there are two surviving children left. They each got 300,000.00 and neither kid has put any money in this house. The carpet goes back to the 60"s. I am working on a contract for 2014. asking for a weekend off a month, help every Tuesday and Thursday. I have a girl that is here on MWF for about six hours she is a LVN and she is so ugly to me. Will not help with housework, says she is not a glorified merry maid. The family comes over on Saturday and Sunday, but not until 1 or 2. I have been here since March. I put her to bed, and I get her up... I am very burnt out... I thought about getting a CNA but to me (and please no one take offense) they work under the LVN's and in a rehab facility/nursing home they would change sheets, clean up etc... I have a great relationship with Ms. Louise.


Kewe72 answered...

Sammas I totally agree with you. It's not easy for us as caregivers, we give up our lives to care for people and we should be rewarded generously. I live in NYC ,and I have learnt that thse agencies are paid $25 -$30 an hour by the govt. for HHA care n they turn around and pay us $8-$9 an hour. I don't understand y people ask for live - in service then turn around n say room and board is a part of the salary...that makes no sense, I'll understand if they charge for food, internet etc. As those are optional. Some of these employers have such a long list of requirements and yet want to pay us little or nothing. Time is money..whether we are active or inactive, as long as we are with the patient/ client we are responsible for them. It's time we value our skills and services as caregivers because we play a vital role in the lives of the people we care for. In NYC private caregivers earn $17 - $25 an hour and agencies $8-$12 an hour...Good luck y'all.


Kay99 answered...

Hello, I'm located in Southern California and I have worked as a live-in care and have 15 years exp. My last job paid $825. per week. 24 hour live in for 5 days. I was there for 5 1/2 years until the lady passed away from Alzheimer's. Her financial situation was somewhat secure and the family decided on a home loan to continue her care. Currently my job pays $800. per week. Same schedule and dealing with a 90 yr old who also has Alzheimer's. His wife also lives in the house but she takes care of herself. Their financial situation is very secure as he was a Doctor. Jobs have their different perks. My previous job was great. I could take my lady to my house and she could sleep over. My little dogs stayed with me at her house and she enjoyed them very much. We went to a movie every week and I got to take her out to parks/malls/beach. My husband and daughter were welcome to come over anytime. We took her to church/BBQ's/holidays together. She became fully integrated into my family and her family completely trusted me and my family. My current job; no pets/I can't leave to go home/not many fun outing's. But I do need this job for now. We care givers give a lot of our time and it is valuable and we don't have to be on the go the whole time we are on the job. Care giving is a very demanding job and we can be made to feel under appreciated. My requirements are what ever I want to eat (not lobster or anything high priced), a daily walk if possible and Thanksgiving and Christmas off. This current job is nice in many ways but there is outside influence as to my taking Holiday time. It was frowned upon to say the least. Well I feel I'm working and giving most of my time to these people so when it comes to my family I feel I deserve Thanksgiving/Christmas time with my family they are very important to me. And remember you can't get back lost time with your loved ones. Take Care!


Pamelat answered...

My comment is more of a response to "anonymous" who thinks it is way out of line to ask for 2k a month. No, it is not. In this line of work, a caregiver needs to have (pay for out of pocket) liability insurance, as well as healthcare insurance and auto insurance, on top of other necessary personal needs. People on SSI/SS alone can qualify for gov assistance that will pay 50% for home healthcare to qualified seniors. I won't accept a live-in position for less than 750 a week. I am a CNA, which helps me qualify for a higher salary, but a license not hard to attain. The American Red Cross offers a CNA course that is affordable, and takes 17 days or so to complete. I believe that those who enter this profession, should do volunteer work at least a couple of days a month, whether in a nursing home or privately to give time to those who cannot afford to pay a caregiver. You're giving back to your community by doing so. That being said, quit hiding behind "anonymous" and berating people that deserve to be paid for what they do. You are the one out of line here...


Yohonna20 answered...

I am a CHHA in NJ. I have been in the healhcare field for 15 yrs. I've worked for agencies and privately, Live-in work & hourly work. I have also traveled with clients taking vacations. I agree some cases you have to put your life on hold and yes we can become emotionally attached caring for people. Who wouldn't? It's not always the elderly that need care. Most people that seek in home care already have the financial means to do so, thats why they opt for it. In NJ working with an agency live-in work pays $200 a day with housing & food included. Privately I have made up to 20hr depending on my clients needs. Which have included working with patients on vents and with trachs. Considering the agencies are previding the exact same services I have found that a large number of clients would rather pay someone privately and still be able to save money since agencies can charge up to $35-45 an hour. We are not in it to get rich bt we should be paid fair. Some people will never understand that mentally & physically we have to be strong but over time our bodies take a hit. Also, most people don't know that in NJ most careg, HHA, CNA are not offered health insurance and have to get coverage themselves.


A fellow caregiver answered...

The Sad part is families don't or won't take care of theur own but have a problem paying the person whoo is putting in the time thats crazy! IF YOU TRULY WANT TO MAKE IT ABOUT THE MONEY DO IT YOURSELF! AS FAR AS ROOM AND BOARD WHAT RIGHT DO PEOPLE HAVE TO ASSUME YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE , BILLS SO IF YOU ARE ON AN ASSIGNMENT AS A LIVE IN CARE GIVER THE PREMISES COME WITH IT!


Dave! answered...

As of January 2015, the caregiver exemption to the minimum wage law is out (if you work for an agency). It is out if you work for individual subject to revised "duties test" (Companionship exempt, can negotiate .. personal care is NOT exempt, and CG must be paid minimum wage).

But even if not exempt b/c working directly for family, "fairness" is reflected by the new rule for agencies in my opinion.

This means a caregiver will be entitled to minimum wage for every hour worked or required to be at the home ready to work, with the exception of 8 hours per day of uninterrupted sleep. If permitted to leave on own business, then no pay; if required to be on call, on premises, CG gets paid. So at Federal minimum wage of $7.25 (some states are higher) if required to be on call all day, that's 16 hours x 7.25 is $116.00 per day. If only working 8 hours per day and can come and go during off time, then its $58 per day. The employer also has the obligation to pay payroll taxes and workers compensation, adding another say 20%.

Note employer can deduct an amount for meals actually taken, and board, but it is set by statute ... its around $3 per meal and $4 for board per day, set by statute, and employer cannot charge more. If you do the math for whatever your situation is, you will come up with the appropriate wage ... in questioners' case, the 850 per month is very low, and over 2K is right number. Good luck ... caregiving is hard work.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I have been a caregiver in bayarea California for over four year now. My client just passed away the end of January. Since the law changed in Jan 2014 I was getting 9 dollars a hour for 8 hrs and then another 8 hrs time a half. Then no pay for 8 hrs to sleep. Now with the new laws 2015 the company I am working for is not going to do anymore live-in assignments. I thought it was great in 2014 to get a raise. Now I live outside of the bayarea so I work drive in one day and work three days and drive back home. Now with this new law I will have to drive everyday and gas has went up again. My car is 14 years old. And I won't make what I was making as a live-in. I was laid off from a big company that I worked for 31 years in 2009. Still to young to retire and wouldn't get a good job because of my age. I love seniors and I am a caring person. But being a caregiver is a tuff field to be in. The lady I took care of last I worked for her a little over 2 years and then she died. Now I feel like what is best for me now. Being in traffic everyday for a 8 or 12 shift that is not paying much. Then more money to pay for gas each week. Then if my old car breaks down I don't have the money to fix it or get a new car.


G.sand answered...

There's a bit of misinformation quoted above regarding caregiver laws in the State of California.

Firstly, a caregiver must be paid at least the minimum wage (which is at $9.00 as of the date of this posting). Prior to January 2014, caregivers do not earn overtime wages. However, after January 2014, caregivers can earn overtime hours for working over 9 hours in a day and/or 45 hours in a week (overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay). See Domestic Worker Bill of Rights under California Labor Code 1450-1454.

Further, if the caregiver lives at the person's residence, he could earn wages around the clock (24 hours) if s/he does not get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Thus, if the caregiver gets at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then a full 8 hours does not have to go into the pay.

As for room and board, it is possible to take this into the equation of the caregiver's earnings. That would be subject to the California Wage Orders which sets limits as to the amount of money that could be deducted for room/board as well as meals if they are provided. However, generally this must be stated in writing.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you should have any questions.


Mary1111222 answered...

I work in PA and charge $175/day minimum 24 hr. care private duty. That comes out to the minimum wage of $7.25/hr x24. If the families don't like it they don't use my services. I charge $16.50/hr. for 12 hrs or less. People that require 24 hr care are usually quads, very ill and/or dementia patients that are up all night. You never sleep. These same patients would have to pay $10K/month or more for a skilled facility or $30-$50/hr for agency care. It's difficult work and you should be paid for your time, period.

PS here's the new FLPA ruling on this!!! YAY!!! http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/22/business/us-court-reinstates-home-care-pay-rules.html


Hotmama2 answered...

I work as a live-in through an agency here in Massachusetts, I do 5 days a week $180/day + 13 for food per day. They pay you $14-$15 if you are working hourly. Also they can pay you up to $300/day if the case is tough. I really like it, because It made me rich :) I make $3188.00 per month after taxes. They pay us bi-weekly. I worked in a nursing home where they paid $10.92 in 2014. I love my agency and I am so happy. My client only has memory problem and there is plenty of down time and I can also get out of the house like going to the store. By the end of the year I would have made about $45000.00 so ladies and gentle men if you have the time and flexibility do live-in. Last year I worked in a nursing home caring for 15 residents at a time with no help, less pay and very tired , at the end of the year I only made $18000.00 including endless overtime. Now do the math! I am one happy lady. Its not only about the money, but we all need it to live in this country. Know my client is moving in a luxury assisted living just be more social and I have been asked to stay in her mansion and just visit her daily while still paid the same money I have been getting, because they want someone to be in her house. Remember you also have to be nice and other people will notice. I am a CNA, but was a nurse in my country. I like the deal that I am getting and have no complains. Rent free:)


A fellow caregiver answered...

I work as a CNA is northern California on a 3 day live-in basis but on duty 24/7 on those days. The clients are to provide food but I generally bring my own as I/m a vegetarian. The new pay scale here is $280 per 24 hour period but rental costs are exteremely high. If you own your own home then this type of work makes sense


A fellow caregiver answered...

http://www.allaboutestates.ca/2011/04/the-financial-cost-of-caregiving/

Please have a look at this site, The thing is, everyone must keep in mind that a nursing home will be subsidized if the person is there so you can not decide that someone should earn less than minimum wage! The most important is to break everything down first. Decide on the rate, then the rent groceries etc and come to a mutual understanding. Some comments I saw were a little offensive and in trying to help a neighbour, I found this article where the government has a program to bring immigrants, therefore you can see that info as a guideline. I also know that what is paid can be used as a medical expense for numerous services when it comes to filing taxes.


D1962 answered...

I RECEIVE $5032.96 per month for 97 hours of live in work. I feel that is not enough. CALIFORNIA has O.T.Laws. Everyone should be compensated fairly. We keave our homes and families to make others comfortable.