Tens of millions of individuals in the United States provide unpaid care for a loved one, including their parents, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Taking care of parents is both emotionally and physically draining, but it also affects your pocketbook. If you are taking care of your parents, you may qualify to be paid for providing caretaking services.
Need for Caretakers
The number of caretakers in the United States has increased in recent years due to the aging baby-boomer population, as well as the financial and emotional expense of placing older adults in long-term care facilities. According to Care Pathways.com, assisted-living facilities can cost thousands of dollars per month, making it difficult for many families to afford. Some adult children find it to hard to move their parents into a facility with strangers and would rather take care of them personally. Adult children then become caretakers who help their parents with personal care.
What Caretakers Do
Some adult children gradually enter the role of caretaker for their parents without realizing that it's happening. You might consider yourself a caretaker for your parents if you provide them with assistance and support due to their disability, age or illness. If you regularly assist your parents with bathing, grooming, hygiene, dressing, transfers, walking, laundry, cooking or shopping, you would qualify as their caretaker. If your adult parents live in your home, or you in theirs, you are most likely scheduling medical appointments for them, reminding them to take medication, providing first aid and wound care and even feeding them.
Get Paid for Taking Care of Your Parents
The only way to get paid for taking care of a parent is by using your parent's Medicaid benefits or private pay. The U.S. Department of Human Services describes Medicaid as a form of state-funded health care coverage for people with low-income and little or no assets. Medicaid pays caretakers for personal care services (i.e., bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning and other duties), and will pay agencies or family members for the services. In some states, Medicaid runs a program called Cash and Counseling, which allow clients to choose their own caretakers. Caring.com provides a list of all states offering this type of program. If your parents do not qualify for Medicaid, they may be able to help pay bills or buy groceries as a way to pay you for your caretaking duties.
To become a paid caretaker through Medicaid, caretakers must pass criminal background checks, have legal authorization to work in the United States, sign a contract with the agency paying for the care and complete all required caregiver training. A Medicaid worker assigned to your case will assist you and your parents in setting hours, payment procedures, payment amounts and answer any other questions about the process. The best way to get the paid caretaker process started is by contacting your local Aging Services or Human Services office.
- DSHS: Becoming a Paid In-Home Caregiver
- Caring.com: Medicaid Cash and Counseling Programs
- Care in the Home: What Does a Caregiver Do?
- U.S. Department of Human Services: Overview Medicaid Program
- Care Pathways; What Does Assisted Living Really Cost?; Clare Absher
- Paying for Senior care: Receive Payments as a Caregiver - Cash and Counseling and Other Options
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