This article is reprinted with permission from the author Irina Shea, a New York Elder Law Attorney. A growing number of seniors are providing a salary or other form of reimbursement to their family members who provide them with personal care. If you’re thinking of doing so, it can be a very good idea to draw up a written contract. This can make it easier to qualify for Medicaid, and can help a family in other ways as well. It might seem odd to sign a contract with your family. Many children feel awkward about asking for compensation, and many parents assume that the children should help them solely out of love. However, children often devote enormous time and resources to caring for an aging relative, and it’s not unreasonable for them to be compensated in some way. And if there are several siblings and one is more involved in providing care than the others, a contract can be a good way to reward the child who is doing the work without having to divide family assets unequally in a will.Here’s a good example of how a written contract can be helpful: Widley David entered a Louisiana nursing home in 2008. Over the next two years, he wrote six checks totaling about $50,000 to his nephew and his nephew’s wife, who were his closest living relatives. Widley said the checks were to reimburse the couple for the care they provided him in the nursing home. The couple visited Widley every day, drove him...

Every day thousands of our elderly are admitted to hospitals with strokes, heart attacks, hip fractures, dehydration, and infections. One day mom is playing Mahjong with the ladies; the next she is in the hospital. Her life will never be the same. For elders and their families, a hospital admission can be a nightmarish experience, almost a twilight zone to some. You will face terms like Medicare, Medicaid, utilization review, IPRO, case managers, QIC, rehabilitation centers, and acute care. In many hospitals, the elderly are treated as people in transition. The philosophy is “patch them up and transfer them to a nursing home for rehabilitation.” Discharge planners care very little about whether an elder is going to a good nursing home or a bad one. As long as they can empty a bed. Before we even consider placement in a nursing home, or a return home, we have to deal with what can happen in the hospital. Risks that the elderly patient faces in a hospital. Lack of Proper Diagnosis Hospitals on many occasions deal only with the issues that an elder has when admitted to the hospital. An elder who is admitted with a broken hip is rarely seen by a geriatric physician who is better equipped to determine if the elder has other challenges or issues. Unfortunately, many elders wind up in nursing homes for rehabilitation with diagnoses that the accepting facility is not equipped to deal with. This can be risky. Many times the patient’s physician is not consulted, especially if they don’t...