Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Caring for aging parents
Caring for aging parents
Question: How should siblings compensate a sister or brother who lives near an aging parent and handles grocery trips, doctor visits, and other tasks? -- E.H., Bridgewater, N.J.

Advice from Money readers:

Develop an agreement before the care begins. Put all the details in writing. -- Anne-Marie Brillantes, South Nyack, N.Y.

I never accepted financial compensation for my time or gas when I was a caretaker, nor would I feel comfortable accepting it if offered. I did my service out of love and duty. -- Lisa B., Albany, Ga.

I was in a situation where I was the caregiver and another sibling did nothing to help, financially or otherwise. It would have been nice to get time off sometimes or help with things I couldn't do because of the time spent providing care. -- Pamela M., Binghamton, N.Y.

Siblings should take every opportunity to help -- maybe with an extra-generous gift at Christmas or a gift card for a restaurant. If the burden is large and consistent, it's reasonable to send a monthly stipend. -- Tom White, Chesapeake, Va.

The best way to compensate is to not critique the actions of the one doing the most. -- Paul S. Bresko, Maywood, N.J.

The expert take: This can be a very intense, emotional subject. There's a lot of resentment in some families. It may sound cold, but the best way to keep things calm is to draw up an agreement for the caregiver to get a certain amount, typically the standard hourly rate for professional caregivers in the region. Decide how siblings and/or the parents will split that cost.

In 90% of families, one person does most of the work. Beyond the hourly payment, faraway siblings can show their gratitude with small gifts or other thank-you gestures. -- Francine Russo, author, "They're Your Parents Too!"

By Ismat Sarah Mangla @Money - Last updated July 03 2012: 12:41 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Basic rules for getting rich

Money readers and experts weigh in with advice that will help you lay a foundation for accumulating wealth.

Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options