Long distance caregiver

Being a long distance caregiver for a loved one can be challenging, especially when balancing the need to provide care with financial obligations.

Long distance caregiver
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My mother is 94 years old. She is living in her own home. She wants to remain in her home as able for the duration of her life. I live 6 hours away from her but willing to live with her. So here is my concern. I would have to give up my job to do so. As life goes on I have bills I am responsible for and want to stay current. Is there a way I can put my life here on hold and move to her home but get paid for taking care of her?



Oh Elizabeth, You are not alone in dealing with this issue. There are many long distance caregivers. You are also a working caregiver. I understand you need to work to pay bills.

You have multiple issues here. I am sure you feel obligated to provide care for your mom. I applaud you that you are questioning getting paid and being able to meet your own financial obligations.

Some might tell you that because of your mothers age, you should move and be with her. The problem is, she could live 10 more years. I am seeing it all the time.

I am going to respond to your question about how to get paid as a caregiver.  I am unable to ask you questions that would give me a better feel for your situation. So I am going to give you a comprehensive answer to all your options.

I do not know if your mom or your father were in the US military.

There are 2 different programs that may be of interest to you. The Veteran Directed Care program.

This program is veterans that need the level of care provided at a nursing home but prefer staying in their home. They want to be cared for by their family members.

The veterans association will give a budget of around $2,200 a month. This is for whatever care provided.

The next program is the Aide and Attendance program. Veterans with a pension are allowed to supplement their pension and hire a caretaker or family member in this program.. There are four qualifying criteria. The veteran simply needs to qualify for one of them and send in an application to the VA.

Of course, there are some seniors that purchased long term care insurance.

If they purchased a plan that pays for home care, this is an option that may pay for a family caregiver. I recommend that you review the policy with the company and learn the parameters of the policy.

Of course, depending on the state your mom lives in, there are waiver programs provided by the Medicaid system. These programs pay for individuals to remain in their homes, instead of being admitted to a nursing home.

Another option is a putting a Family Caregiver Contract in place.  If your mom has financial resources, or even a home still in her name, she will have to spend down to qualify for Medicaid.  That spend down process allows the family caregiver to be paid for services. This requires putting a legal contract in place.

I recommend that you get an elder law attorney to make sure any agreement is legal in your state.  Under this plan, you will be seen as an independent contractor and be responsible for taxes on that income.

-Diane Carbo, RN