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Caring for an aging parent is difficult, but when you must take time off from work to tend to your elderly mother, you face the added difficulty of a missing payment. If your mother has ample resources of her own, she might be willing to pay you to care for her. The government also offers programs to help family caregivers, either through Medicaid and Medicare or through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) . Passed in 2000, it aims to support those who are caring for an aging relative.
If your mother has resources to pay for her own care, talk with her about drawing up a contract to reimburse you for caring for her. This can be a reasonable set-up for you, especially if you had to sacrifice a job in order to care for her.
If your mother is on Medicaid, she may be eligible for the Cash and Counseling program (cashandcounseling.org/about), which offers participants more flexibility in how their budgets meet their assistance needs. Check whether your state offers the Cash and Counseling program.
The National Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) provides grants to states based on their percentage of the over 70 population. It aims to give funds to family members to care for their aging relatives. It also offers counseling and caregiver training and helps caregivers obtain access to other services. In addition, it offers "respite care," which would allow you to take a break from caring for your mother to let someone else paid by the program take your place. To review what services are offered through the FCSP, contact your state's coordinator, whose contact information can be found at Home Care Files. (See Resources)
Check with a professional accountant on whether you can claim your mother as a dependent, in order to lower your taxes. Living and medical expenses may all be counted as deductions.
Contact the Administration of Aging to see whether there are any current programs that offer pay to caregivers of relatives. (See Resources)
Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.