A caregiver agreement, also referred to as a personal service contract, is a contract between an individual in need of care and the person taking care of them. Typically, an adult child will assume the role of caretaker for an older or incapacitated parent. It's a job many people take on when someone they love requires assistance to perform basic tasks, such as bathing or dressing.
However, no matter what the relationship is between the two parties, it's still important to have a caregiver contract. Creating this document can help keep expectations clear and reduce misunderstandings or confusion during an already difficult time.
Discussing a Caregiver Agreement with the Family
Expectations surrounding care for an older or sick relative is a sensitive topic. It might take some time for everyone to get on board and realize it's the best option to ensure your loved one's well-being. Unfortunately, it could be challenging to convince others of your parent or another dependent's need for a full-time caregiver.
You should approach this conversation openly and honestly. It might be a good idea to write down talking points before sitting down with everyone. You can include the essential elements of caregiving and why you believe you're the best choice to be the caregiver.
If possible, the person in need of care should also attend the family meeting to explain their reasoning for choosing you as their caregiver. Maybe it's easier for you than someone else because you work from home, making it more convenient for you to provide the care. Or you might be the only person living in the same city as the older adult.
It's critical for everyone to agree to the arrangement. Moving forward without your family's consent could lead to contention and possibly legal issues in the future.
Elements of a Caregiver Agreement
A caregiver agreement outlines the responsibilities of the caretaker and the compensation to be paid for future services. The contract can't include any care already performed. It's only for expected services in the future.
Common details included in a caregiver agreement are:
- Start date of necessary care
- Amount and frequency of compensation
- Description of services to be provided, such as preparing meals, transportation for appointments, and managing and administering medications
- Location of services, whether at caregiver's home, dependent's home, or another place
- Duration of the caregiver agreement
- Frequency of providing the services, such as up to 50 hours a week or no less than 5 hours per day
- Process of modifying the agreement, if necessary
It might be necessary to add clauses to the agreement, such as:
- Backup care for when the primary caregiver is sick or takes a vacation
- Termination clause for when one party wants to back out of the contract
- Compensation for room and board if the caregiver moves in with the person needing care, or vice versa
- Allowance for out-of-pocket costs, such as an unexpected home repair or treatment of an injury
The caregiver agreement should be in writing and include detailed information regarding the arrangements made between both parties. Each person should also sign it to enforce the contract. It might be a good idea to have a witness sign the agreement as well.
Deciding to become a caregiver can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and energy to provide the services someone else needs on a daily basis. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding knowing you're helping someone you love.
If you want to discuss your options regarding caregiving and how to prepare a caregiver agreement, do not hesitate to contact our office at 979-703-7014 to speak with a Bryan elder law attorney. We'd be happy to meet with you to map out a plan for the future.