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When hiring a live-in caregiver, families often find it helpful to summarize details about living accommodations. At the very least, use the work agreement to note the caregiver is to be provided separate quarters, a private room, private or shared bath, etc. Some families also note such arrangements as a food allowance for the caregiver, if she or the family prefers that she eat separately from the family; whether the caregiver is allowed to have friends visit her in the household during her off hours; whether she has a curfew, etc.

A responsible family does not abuse or take advantage of a caregiver's willingness to be helpful (nor does a responsible caregiver abuse a family's flexibility and willingness to accommodate her needs). If you find that you are constantly having to ask the caregiver to work extra hours or do extra chores, your needs are obviously different from what you had anticipated, and it is time to re-negotiate the work agreement. Don't wait until the caregiver feels overwhelmed to restructure your arrangement; the odds are great that if she feels overloaded or gets burned out, she'll simply leave.

On the following page you'll find a simply worded, sample work agreement that might be particularly useful for a live-out caregiver, but could be used for any inhome caregiver. The words you choose to use in your agreement will depend on your relationship with your caregiver and your own personal style. Some families who are employing a caregiver to live in their homes prefer a more formally worded document that details the specifics of their arrangement.

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