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Should we be paying my mother in law rent while caring for her?

My husband and I had to move into his mom's to help take care of her and her property, she had starting falling down alot and is on pain meds so is unable to drive. Lives on 5 acres ect. My husband works I am disabled due to back problems. So I am the one home during day. We had to put all our stuff in storage and pay monthly. She is able to dress herself and bath but cannot do much around the house or drive. My question is should we be paying rent and bills to stay here? It seems the more I pay the more bills she hands me. Like 6 month newspaper subscription they we don't read, or her house taxes. I told my husband that I don't thinks it's right, we are here to help her and at her beck and call 24 hours a day we don't get paid, all to keep her out of nursing home. Why should I be expected to pay anything except for my own groceries? If she had to pay people to do all the things we do it would be thousands of dollars. I would rather go rent a place then pay to stay here and my storage fees. But she acts like she's doing us a favor.
Status: Open    Mar 29, 2016 - 08:05 AM

Caregiving, Relationships

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Expert Answers

Apr 01, 2016 - 12:27 PM

If living there rent free without having to be a caregiver, I would agree that you should be paying some of the expenses. Since you have already stated that a caregiver handling the care needs would be thousands of dollars, I would say no, you should not pay rent. There are support groups available that you should contact to assist with the relationship. Also, if your mother-in-law or father-in-law were in the military, you should look into the Aid and Attendance benefit. look under Pension from the drop down menu. Depending on her income and assets she may be eligible for up to $1,149.00 a month to pay for your caregiving. Please keep in mind that if she does apply and receives the benefit, she must pay you and you can not give it back to her. If she has too much in the way of assets to qualify, there are ways to legally reposition assets in order to be eligible for the benefit.

Apr 04, 2016 - 10:14 AM

You didn’t mention if your husband agrees with you. It sounds like you and your husband need to sit down with your mother-in-law to discuss these issues. But first you and your husband need to come to an agreement on what is a fair arrangement. Your mother-in-law may have the wrong impression about why you are living with her. However, first you need to hear what each person’s understanding is, before you can come to any agreements.


May 01, 2016 - 08:19 AM

You and your husband should first come to agreement. After that the two of you should sit down with mom-in-law and discuss why you are there, and come to an agreement about money. It is best if this agreement is put in writing and everyone signs it. Even with family, this is the best thing to do. Having things in writing prevents misunderstandings and make the agreement clear in everyone's mind. Since you are providing this care, you should not be paying rent etc. Prior to the meeting start to keep track of the time you spend and exactly what you are doing for about a week. Do some research to determine what your work is worth. Where I live, a caregiver agency charges $23 per hour and an additional 60 cents a mile for any driving. Look at the cost of an assisted living facility. With these facts, you should be able to craft a fair agreement. She may have some level of dementia or the pain meds are affecting her, which is why she keeps handing you bills and thinks she is doing you a favor.
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