What is appropriate severance to pay a caregiver when patient dies?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

A relative had two caregivers. Neither was a trained medical professional.

One was with my grandmother full time and lived in the house for three years. She bathed my grandmother and took care of everything.

The other was with my grandmother about 25 years. She was more of a great companion. Taking my grandma places, cooking and being her friend. She was full time up until about 3 or 4 years ago when she went part time.

We would like to give each of the caregivers severance, since our relative died. We don't know what is appropriate. Are there any ranges or amounts that we should think about? Can anyone share what they've given or received?

I know it is whatever we want, but we have no clue what is appropriate and want to make sure we do the right thing.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

When our Mom died, my sister and I also wanted to give something to Mom's best friend, companion and "helper" over many years. We finally decided to give her Mom's almost brand new TV, and she was thrilled. Money just didn't feel right in our situation, and we know she wouldn't have accepted it. Now that TV is a pleasant reminder of their many times together.

A fellow caregiver answered...

a paid caregiver cannot be treated as you would treat a friend. they do the job because they need the money. money may help them till they find a new job. whether it should be one-two-three- or more months' salary depends on how long the caregiver has worked with you and how caring [s]he has been. as for friends, just thing belonging to the dead person will be a reminder of the good friend.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thanks for the answers. I would like to give the caregivers money. Do you have any idea what is standard for the caregivers that I described above in my question? I'm not sure what range of severance is typical?

Thank you!

Elderdaughter answered...

I took care of my parents from ages 84 to 94, in my mother's case, and from 87-89, in my father's case; ie, until they passed away. I had to build a larger home to accomplish this, as they moved in with me vs being placed in a nursing home. While we had some part-time help, nobody but me handled medical issues, daily medicine dosing, dinners and breakfasts and all-night availability for crises, of which there were many.

My mother's younger sister (10 yrs difference) keeps thanking me for "taking such good care of her sister", but seems to feel that she has no (moral) obligation to help out financially, either while my mother was still alive, or after she passed away. It would have been no hardship for her to help us out, as they travel worldwide regularly, and are very well set.

When my mother died this Spring, I suddenly collapsed emotionally and in terms of reviving my business. Six months later I noticed that I could not function, sought therapy and job counseling, and getting the help I need to recover my professional confidence and to deal with the shock and grief that I am experiencing.

While I didn't expect, and certainly do know, that no-one is obliged to help me 'turn the corner', I wonder how they could watch us struggling on food stamps and watch me fall apart and not step in. If the roles were reversed, I would have given without being asked.

Also, it was my honor and my duty to care for my parents: We grew as close as as we were when I was a child. It was a life-long gift. But I fell into limbo when my mother passed away.

I would have lost everything had a good friend not stepped up to help me through this incapacitated state.

I write these things here to let you know that losing someone you have actively cared for can totally shatter your world, particularly if they have been the center of your world for a decade or more. I am not writing this out of self pity, although to some it might seem this way.

Instead, I write this to tell the questioner that money would indeed be welcome--more than likely, both of your grandmother's caregivers are still dealing with loss and shock.

Considering how little most caregivers get paid, not to mention relative to all the unnoticed aid they provide, and the ease they then grant to non-caregiving family-members, I think a month or more in salary, if it's at all possible for you to bestow, would be a true acknowledgment of their total dedication to your grandmother.

Thank you for thinking enough of your grandmother's caregivers to consider gifting to them.