September 12th, 2018 | BY: Allegra Chaney

How to Become a Caregiver for a Family Member

Dear Allegra,

My great aunt is about to turn 90 and is starting to slow down quite a bit. She doesn’t have children and her husband passed away 15 years ago. My family and I have been running errands for her and taking her to appointments, but she needs more help now.

I work part time and have been considering resigning so I can provide the additional care my aunt needs. She has always been close to my family and we’d like to do whatever we can to help her. However, it will create a bit of financial stress for us if I give up my job.

My neighbor mentioned that she is getting paid to be a caregiver for her parents, and I wondered how that works. How can I become a paid caregiver to a family member?

Do you have any information you can share?

Sincerely,

Bonnie

Getting Paid to Care for a Family Member

Dear Bonnie,

This is a question we often receive from family members. Many are already helping their loved one and are having difficulty juggling caregiving with a career. Understandably so. It’s a balancing act that can lead to a health crisis for the caregiver.

Like you mentioned, the loss of a caregiver’s income can create financial stress for families. A family member might also ask this question because their loved one won’t let an outsider help with their care, so a family member needs to fill that role.

Here are a few avenues I would recommend for learning about how to get paid for caring for your aunt:

  • Eldercare Financial Assistance Locator: This site will walk you through a series of questions to help you connect with financial resources. They pull from over 400 federal, state, and local resources.
  • Agency on Aging: Another resource to connect with is your local Agency on Aging. They typically know what local programs are available and may even be able to help you apply for them.
  • Medicaid waivers: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Medicaid waiver self-directed long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs. They allow people to manage their own care, including hiring and firing caregivers. In some states, a family member can be paid to care for their loved one through this program. Check with your state Medicaid office to learn how these waivers are handled in your state.
  • Long-term care insurance: If your aunt has long-term care insurance, it may allow family caregivers to be paid. Check her policy or call her insurance company to learn more.

My final suggestion is to take time to learn more about respite care. It’s a service offered by many home care agencies that is designed to give family caregivers a break. You might find you need it if you do become a full-time caregiver for your aunt.

Please feel free to contact me or the Griswold Home Care location nearest you with any additional questions.

Kind regards,

Allegra