Currently I have hired a senior care agency to care for my wife in our home. I would like to treat this expense as a medical
expense and take a tax deductions
Q. What steps must I take to qualify my "in-home" senior caregiver expense as a tax deductable medical expense ?
As I understand the IRS
Publication 502 (pg. 12 ) , I will need a letter from a doctor stating that my wife is 1) chronically ill individual
2) provides a plan of care which includes the hiring of caregivers but in my case not a nurse (RN). The caregiver(s) will need to provide substantial supervision to protected my wife from threats to her health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment. To me it means the caregivers must be by wife side at all times as she walks about the house. Prevent her from walking upstairs or outside, dispense medication as scheduled, help her shower, help her get out of the chair or bed, help her change clothes, change bedding and eat.
I am assuming her family doctor will not know all the in and outs of writing a letter(s) that will satisfy the IRS. As such the correct answer to my question will include either a form
letter or a sample letter that I can give to her doctor to help him write/included all the necessary elements for the IRS to qualify my expense as a medical expense.
My wife's cognitive functions has degraded to point that I do not feel it is safe for her to be left alone. My wife is 76 years of age. Chronically ill, Eighteen years ago she was diagnose with Lupus which has taken a toll on her body. She would not be able to live alone for she no longer drives a car, shops, cooks or cleans the house. She needs help to shower. She is not stable on her feet and on her better day has problems walking more than 15 feet at a time.( she has falling 4 times at home in the last two months - two of her falls resulted in 911 calls and a trip to ER ). Some days she needs help getting out of her chair. Her mental state
is not consistence. At times during the day she can appear to be normal but there are other times during the day especially at night she has the classic the signs dementia:
a) memory loss -- she may or may not know her street address or her phone number , or even the location of bathroom in her house
b) difficulty performing familiar task -- dial a phone or operation the TV system
c) language problems - - she can not find the right words for to describe a simple task ... if she is hot and wants the air conditioning adjusted to a lower temperature she is not always able to instruction the caregiver to lower the temperature.
d) poor judgment - - on several occasions she took her pillow and blanket waked out side at night to sleep by the pond or in the car.
e) medications - - on several occasion she taken double dose of her medications , a few times she has taken medication out of the prescription bottles and hid their contents. ( I can no longer trust her to take medications at the correct time or take the correct amount. All her medications are now under lock and key and disbursed by me or by the caregiver from the agency).
f) change in moods - - crying for no apparent reason and/or fearful of husband, son and caregivers.
Note: At this point in time I don't believe my wife has been officially diagnosed by her doctor as having dementia. However When my wife was questioned by the nurse in the hospital and at home she was not able to answer correctly simple questions related to the time of day and names of family members or her address. No sure if these observations were reported to her family doctor. If for some reason her doctor will not diagnose her as demented or severely cognitive impaired, what should I do? or who should I contact? Does the IRS does specify it has to be by a her family doctor or will any medical professional do?