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Should I Be Paid to Care for My Father



"I live with my father and have for most of my adult life. Dad and I have a decent relationship. I pay rent and my expenses, and Dad gets by on Social Security and a pension. My father has declined a bit in the last few years, and it is clear he will need help bathing, eating, and most definitely transportation.

My question is, 'Would it be reasonable to have Dad pay me instead of an outside caregiver?' I am close to retirement and am willing to do the work, but I'm concerned about my siblings. Do you think they will be upset if Dad pays me? Am I wrong to think about his care this way?" - READER


There are individuals that will say you should never be paid to do anything for your parent because after all, “...they changed your diapers without pay,” or something like that. There are other individuals who believe you should be compensated for every little thing you do and keep track of it closely. 

As a parent’s paid caregiver, being reasonable matters most.  If you are providing so much care that it becomes “job-like,” reasonable compensation or cost-offset might be considered.

An example of reasonable PAYMENT FOR A CAREGIVER

  • Peter’s father needs help with a lot of things. He needs assistance with walking, bathing, toileting multiple times per day, meal preparation, house maintenance, and cleaning. Peter is paid a small salary by his father and is allowed to live rent-free since he is unable to work outside his caregiving duties.

You see, it all comes down to reasonableness. The situation I just described prevents a caregiver from pursuing other employment and planning for their own retirement, making payment more justifiable. All factors must be considered.

As it relates to your siblings, meet with them as a group. I would say this is necessary. Set up a plan for your father’s care as a team, and make sure to include Dad in the conversation. Perhaps other siblings are interested in providing care as well? You cannot be certain which way that wind will blow until you meet with your brothers and sisters. 

You are wise for planning for your father’s needs. Work out a plan with everyone it involves as soon as you can.

I wish you the best.

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