Every year, millions of American families face the difficult decision of how to help an aging parent who can no longer fully take care of himself or herself. For many families, the answer is to provide needed caregiving services themselves. While this seems like an easy solution at first, it is not.
There is much to know about caregiving, and several initial questions to consider, include:
Are you qualified to take care of an elder parent?
Some aging loved ones require assistance with meal preparation, bathing, and getting dressed. Others may need assistance taking medications and short trips to the doctor’s office. Florida seniors with serious health conditions or mental illness, however, may need professional care.
Are you financially prepared?
Caregiving is expensive, but there are ways to obtain financial support. Although most seniors expect Medicare to help cover the costs of aging, often it cannot. Medicaid and veterans benefits, however, may be available as resources. Further, long-term care insurance, Social Security income, and various tax deductions for out-of-pocket expenses may also apply.
How will caregiving affect your emotional and mental health?
Providing care for elderly parents can be emotionally and mentally challenging, especially as loved ones continue to age and their health declines.
If you can affirmatively answer these questions, or are committed to developing healthy caregiving strategies, you may also want to consider:
Family caregivers can be paid. If an aging parent has the resources to pay for a family caregiver, there is no reason not to explore this possibility. The key is creating the right contract for your needs. Do not wait to meet with an experienced elder care attorney about this type of contract.
Sibling conflicts. Caregiving responsibilities usually fall on one adult-child family member more than any other. This often leads to sibling strife even in the most “functional” families, and especially over issues concerning money, fairness and important health decisions. Discuss ways to prevent these issues now, as things may get harder in the future.
Moving in. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expensive. One cost-effective option, however, is to have your aging parent move into your home. As long as your relationship is healthy, it can be a rewarding experience for all involved and provide much needed care.
Taking care of yourself. The demands of family caregiving can lead to burnout and poor health. Often, we find these problems stem from putting an elder parent’s needs before your own. As a caregiver, try not to avoid your needs in this setting.
With over thirteen million Americans currently caring for their children and parents, we know you may need guidance on how to balance these responsibilities. We know this article also may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact our office to discuss your needs, and those of your family, today.