As more and more families are faced with the difficult challenge of managing the care of their aging parents and the fiscal burdens that are often associated with long term care, hiring from within is becoming an increasingly more popular option.

Let’s say you have a sibling who is willing an able and take on the caregiving responsibility for your parent, it is imperative that you draft up a contract just as you would with any other employee.  More and more families are seeking the advice of elder law attorneys to set up contracts as this issue is becoming more prevalent.  One of the biggest mistakes families make is to assume since it is family no care plan or formalized set of rules need to be implemented.  Everyone involved should be on the same page, so have a family meeting if necessary and then have a written agreement drawn up that provides transparency.

As you begin to consider an agreement ask these questions:  What is the job description? What does your parent need?  What are the specific tasks that the family caregiver will be providing?  How long will these tasks take to accomplish each day? Does the family member have the skills that are needed?  Will you hire a third party to come in and evaluate how the caregiver is doing? Who will be the back up caregiver when the primary person needs a break or becomes ill?  Who will issue the checks? What is the salary going to be?  Does the caregiver realize there are tax implications?  Will there be benefits?  Paid vacation?  Is room and board included?

Carefully think through the sensitive nature of this relationship and how it can cause tension if you do not clearly spell out the job description and the responsibilities.  Many family members believe they can jump into the role of being  a caregiver because of the fiscal benefits but being a good caregiver requires a unique skill set and that should not be underestimated.