Now that Mom has sold her car, is no longer driving and it is harder for her to get around on her own, it has been decided that you and your siblings will divide up her care needs. One of you needs to take her to the doctor’s office, beauty shop and grocery store. One of you needs to help with her housework and laundry. And certainly, the yard needs to be kept up. But there are a few additional necessary aspects to caring for parents which need to be dealt with but often go unnoticed until there’s a problem.
Consider this to-do list when assembling a plan of care for your senior loved one:
- 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 see if your employer offers a flexible work schedule to accommodate time required to care for the senior, or paid or unpaid leave. Contemplate the financial consequences of employment-related changes.
- Realize the financial implications of providing care for a family member. Studies show that family caregivers spend over $5,000 every year 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. Though it could seem unnecessary, obtaining care details outlined in writing helps eliminate future disputes.
- Create a strategy for ongoing support for yourself, to allow for needed time for self-care and to provide a safe, trusted channel for your personal feelings. Consider available options, to include not just 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 Alzheimer’s Association.
Skilled in-home care providers are one more excellent source of support for older persons in need of help with proper care, as well as for the family members caring for parents or other senior loved ones. Supplemental care services allow family members to take much-needed breathers from care to take care of their own needs and to relax with some downtime. The best way someone can take care of another is to first care for himself/herself.
Home Matters has additional suggestions about putting a plan in place for senior care, and is also here to help fill in any gaps with our full range of professional in-home care services. Call us for assistance.