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How to write a care contract for an elder

Updated April 17, 2017

Ageing is a normal part of the human life cycle. You need care at the beginning of your life, and you, or your parents, may need care near the end. An elderly care contract is an effective way to legally define family responsibilities and duties, as well as any possible compensation for family members' time, in providing care for an elder member. A contract also provides a transaction record of care expenses for low-income seniors in need of state subsidies such as Medicaid.

Meet with all family members--including the elder to be cared for--at one time, if possible, to make a list of the elder's needs and discuss strategies for meeting them. For optimal effectiveness, allocate caregiving tasks to family members based on how much time they can realistically commit to those tasks. If the family deems that legal counsel is necessary, hire a lawyer to assist the family at this critical juncture.

Draft, in clear language, the terms of the agreement for care services: who provides what services and when, how much caregivers will be paid and when, and the duration of the agreement. You can keep the duration open-ended with wording such as, "This agreement shall remain in force until terminated in writing by either party," or you can set a specific duration. Write a separate clause for each aspect of the contract, such as needed services, delivery of services, and compensation.

Use the Internet or consult a lawyer, if you prefer, to obtain appropriate legal documentation. Lawyers can provide an interpretation of laws and "legalese" phrasing when drafting a care contract for an elder, but at a cost. If your family's care agreement is clear, concise and fully consensual, a contract template, available online, can work well and save you money. Fill in the contract document with the written terms, as agreed on in your family's consultations.

Secure the signatures of all parties involved in the agreement, including the elder to be cared for if the elder is legally competent.

Tip

A memorandum of understanding, such as among siblings, can help to bridge the disparate views of family members about what constitutes "quality of life." Caring for an elder can be time-consuming and challenging, so expect to feel overwhelmed at first.

Things You'll Need

  • Elderly Care legal document
  • Lawyer (optional)
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About the Author

Gregory Robb's career began with the publication of his first essay in "Nexus" in 1989. He has since been published in "Canadian Writer's Journal," "International Living Magazine" and "Jazz Improv Magazine." Robb holds a Bachelor of Education in teaching from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in English and literacy from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.