March 16, 2017
Mom is no longer driving and has begun to move around a little more slowly, so you and your siblings have decided to split up the caregiving duties to help care for her. One of you needs to take her to the doctor’s office, beauty shop and grocery store. One of you has to clean her house and do her laundry. And don’t forget that the yard needs to be maintained. But you’ll find additional essential factors to taking on the care of an elderly loved one which need to be addressed but often go unnoticed until there’s a difficulty.
- Keep all important personal information together, including power of attorney paperwork, advance healthcare directives or do not resuscitate orders, wills, trusts, financial information on all assets, insurance information and more.
- Check to determine if your employer offers a flexible work schedule to accommodate time required to take care of the older adult, or paid or unpaid leave. Contemplate the financial significance of employment-related changes.
- Realize the financial repercussions of providing care for a family member. Research has shown that family care providers pay over $5,000 yearly for care needs, over and above any lost income.
- Have all family members and friends who will be involved in providing care, as well as yourself and your senior loved one, agree upon a written agreement of care. Even though it may seem unnecessary, obtaining care details outlined in writing will help eliminate future squabbles.
- Create a strategy for continuing help and support for yourself, to allow for necessary time for self-care and to provide a safe, trusted channel for your feelings. Consider available options, to incorporate not only immediate family and close friends, but also a counselor or therapist, your place of worship, web-based or in-person caregiver support groups, and disease-specific organizations, such as the Parkinson’s Association.
Skilled in-home care providers are another great resource for assistance for older persons in need of assistance with care, as well as for the family members providing their care. Respite care services help family members to take much-needed breathers from care to focus on their own individual needs and to unwind with some recovery time. The most effective way a person can take care of another is to first take care of himself/herself.
Continuum has more recommendations on putting a senior care plan in place, and is here to help fill in any gaps with our full range of professional in-home care services in St. Louis and the surrounding area. Contact us for assistance.