Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Caregivers Should Have Contracts

September 30, 2010

Recent studies indicate that approximately 43.5 million Americans look after someone age 50 or older. It is not known how many are paid for doing so, but the numbers are rising. If that caregiver is a family member, it’s important to draft a formal employment agreement – and disclose the arrangement to the entire family.

Employment agreements should document a caregiver’s responsibilities and hours, and set a rate of pay that’s in line with local practices. Both the caregiver and care recipient should sign the contract and disclose it to the rest of the family to avoid causing family tension or running afoul of Medicaid eligibility requirements.

If a parent will rely on Medicaid to cover future nursing-home costs, a family must pay the caregiver in a way that’s permitted under Medicaid law. Before Medicaid will pick up the tab for nursing-home costs, it requires applicants to recoup certain payments made to relatives over the previous five years to pay the nursing home.

But if payments to relatives are made under the terms of a written employment agreement, often called a personal-care contract, the law allows it as long as the contract was in place before the services are rendered.

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Baby Boomers’ next steps

January 15, 2010

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous.  When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” – George Burns

For those of you who are younger, I promise to move on to other things shortly but I first want to complete my thoughts about the current challenges to baby boomers. We have been called the “Me” generation that lives for “now.” What we see in our law practice bears out the conclusions of studies stating baby boomers are not in good shape financially. The recent (current?) recession has made this even worse.

I mentioned previously that one strategy is to continue working past your normal retirement age. This plan has two weaknesses – the availability of good paying jobs and the need for good health. Addressing them will require flexibility.

On the jobs front, we will need to change. Jobs may not be available where we live (or want to live) so we may have to move to where they are located. Probably more important, though, is a willingness to get new training and try new jobs. I recall that when I was in college (a long time ago – my 40th reunion is this June), a labor economist was fond of emphasizing that big changes were coming. Unlike our parents who may have had only one employer for their entire lives, we were going to face having three to five employers in our lifetimes.  And this was true, but most of us stayed within the same job type or profession. About a decade ago I accompanied my kids to meetings at the high school for vocational counseling. These counselors informed us that the kids would change employers more than five times, and at least half of those employers would be hiring them for jobs that do not even exist now. The meaning of this aside? We need to be aware of the changed economy and get the necessary training to get and keep good paying jobs.

Of course you can only do the job if you are healthy. A report released Wednesday by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention confirms that 68 percent of adults are too heavy and 34 percent are obese. Being overweight strongly correlates to health problems, but health (and weight) is something we can do something about. It’s hard. It involves lifestyle changes; changes in eating and exercise habits.

I know if I am going to practice law as I have planned (forever if possible), I need to be in good health. I belong to the YMCA and have a personal trainer. Call me in a year. I intend to be a fraction of my current self.

Next time I am going to address some of the financial lessons from the last couple of years that can help – not only baby boomers but everyone.