Right to the Point III

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by Joy Loverde

Question:

My sister had a stroke, she needs 24 hour care. I am a CNA and willing to stay at home taking care of her. I would like to know if there are any programs that can help me for staying home caring for my sister. I work full time with hospice as a CNA. Thank you for your advice.

Answer:

Family members, partners and friends deserve to be paid for helping loved ones. They work long and hard, and the value of their caregiving contributions is priceless. Consider these family caregiver-payment strategies:

  • Hospitals, social service organizations and adult education centers offer training programs for caregivers who, upon completion of the program, may qualify to be paid for their services. Call your local aging agency to see if such a program exists near you.
  • If your elder has long-term care insurance, some policies pay for family and friends to provide the care after they have completed a caregiving-training program.
  • The "Cash and Counseling" program for Medicaid enrollees allows participants to pay family members for their services. Contact your local agency on aging or department of social services for more information on government funding.
  • You may want to consider a “personal care” contract between you and your sister. Creating an employment agreement in advance may offer compensation when it comes to settling your sister’s estate. Hire an attorney to create a written, legal document spelling out the following:
    • rate of pay (must be reasonable)
    • timing of pay (weekly, monthly, settling of the estate)
    • description of services
    • reimbursement of expenses and related purchases
    • prohibition against transferring the agreement.

To make this arrangement legal, you will need to report the income as taxable income since Social Security and other payroll taxes may be withheld.

Question:

Can you force a person to receive healthcare when they continually refuse?

Answer:

Anyone over the age of eighteen who has not been declared mentally incompetent is in charge of their own destiny.

Question:

My mother-in-law is unable to handle her own affairs.  She has senile dementia.  We are trying to get her into a nursing home. Do we have to declare her incompetent?  She clearly cannot handle her own affairs.

Answer:

There’s no need to declare your mother-in law incompetent – that is if there is no struggle or resistance from her, or between you and any other family members regarding placing her in a nursing home.


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