Family Members Acting as Paid Caregivers

The demand for caregivers will begin to far exceed the amount of elderly individuals who need caring for in the United States, as our elderly population will grow substantially in size by the year. As the caregiver network continues to dwindle, there have been efforts made throughout the country to retain those caregivers leaving the field for other opportunities, regulate the field more to better advocate for caregivers rights, and to consider alternatives for care and treatment for the elderly community. This job of being a professional caregiver can be physically and emotionally taxing and for those who cannot afford assistance, these responsibilities can begin to fall on the loved ones that surround them.


The role of caregiver has been assumed by more than 65 million people who provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member in United States. Many of these family member caregivers care for their loved ones upwards of 20 hours a week, without compensation. This role can take a toll on their personal lives and impact their ability to perform at a full time job throughout the week. As a response to this, lawmakers in some states have begun to offer family members who act as caregivers compensation for their time spent with their elderly loved one. Compensating the family member helps offset the time set aside as well as the expenses incurred by traveling or giving time to other areas.


While the name varies between the states, programs that compensation family members include consumer directed care, cash and counseling, and family member caregivers. The regulations differ between the states as to who will qualify as a caregiver, what they are compensated, how much and what benefits they may possibly have. Those who have a loved one who is also a veteran may qualify for aid and the attendance pension benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. If you are in a state without these benefits or would like to form a private agreement, many families draw up a personal care agreement.


Personal care agreements are generally between a family member who will be acting as caretaker and the elderly person needing care. This contract allows parties to specify the needs of the individual, what level of care is to be expected, as well as how and at what rate compensation will occur. These agreements have allowed interested parties to resolve any potential issues as well as provide binding language that lays out each parties’ expectations, benefitting everyone involved.

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