It’s no secret that the Baby Boomer generation is aging fast. Many of them are our parents or our grandparents. Unfortunately, some of our elderly citizens will develop conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or other sicknesses that will require them to receive specialized medical care. When a parent, grandparent, or other family member becomes unable to care for themselves, there are a few choices.
Many people choose an assisted living or retirement community. Others require the care of a long-term nursing facility. Any of these are perfectly respectable choices, but some people decide to step in and take care of their aging relatives themselves. In fact, 65% of older adults with long-term care needs rely exclusively on friends and family to provide that care. Only 7% of the elderly with immediate family reside in long-term care facilities.
“When considering providing care to an aging loved one, there are definitely some tips that can help ensure both you and your family member remain both safe and happy,” says Robert Schenk, attorney and co-founder of Schenk Smith.
Take Care of Yourself
Caring for an elderly loved one can be an emotional and physical strain. Make sure that you are seeing to your own health as well – after all, you cannot care for them if you fall ill. This may mean seeking out extra caregiving help to give yourself a break from time to time.
When it comes to taking care of a senior loved one, a person must carefully consider the financial side. Carefully consider the costs of leaving a job to provide full-time care. How will losing your income impact you and your family not only in the present but in the future? What benefits would you lose access to such as health or life insurance?
Take Advantage of Resources
Several websites, like the National Council on Aging and the government’s eldercare locator, help families locate free or low-cost services to help them care for their elderly parent or family member. Make sure that you also know about your family member’s Medicare or Medicaid coverage options as well.
Protection from Scams
Financial abuse is a rising threat in the elder community. While a good majority of financial abuse perpetrators are loved ones, lottery scams, income tax scams, and other scams are also on the rise. Check up on their finances often, but do allow them some autonomy when possible. If absolutely necessary, consider a financial power of attorney, which will grant you the power to oversee financial matters.
Have “The Conversation”
It will likely be one of the most difficult conversations, but it is necessary. If you are caring for a loved one, it is important that you should know their wishes for healthcare and finances in the case they become unable to make these decisions themselves. Having this conversation early can ensure that your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled when the inevitable occurs.
Taking care of elderly loved ones can be a rewarding, if bittersweet, experience. Consider all of your options before deciding upon the best source of care for your elderly loved one