5 Things To Consider When Caring For An Elderly Relative
by Ande Frazier
April 18, 2019 .3 min read
When it comes to caring for a loved one with a long term illness, you learn to expect the unexpected.
Not only is this a very stressful time but it’s a time where many important decisions need to be made, and often, they need to be made quickly. With that, a significant amount of pressure relies on your ability to critically asses a situation and make final decisions that directly impact your loved one.
There also comes the stress of hoping that your choices were something that they ultimately would have wanted and would have made for themselves. And with the cost of care consistently getting more and more expensive as time goes on, it’s essential to plan ahead by taking the necessary steps to eliminate as much stress as possible for you and your loved one.
Here are 5 things to consider:
Financial and Legal Documents
Make sure all of your loved ones’ documents are in order. To do that, ask yourself some of the following:
Do they have a living will? – If they do not, make sure one is created and includes what medical treatments they want and do not want. You’ll find that by including such detail will help lessen the stress when it comes to making decisions.
Do you have power of attorney? – Make sure you speak to your loved one about who will be making decisions on their behalf and what their wishes are.
Do they have the right life insurance? – Having the right life insurance will help cover the costs of care and ensure that final obligations are being met. Having these documents in order will also take some stress off the caregiver’s shoulders.
Location matters when it comes to long term care.
Costs vary based on where your loved one lives and can get more expensive if they live far away from you. With that in mind, if your loved one lives a considerable distance away from you, it’s best to take steps towards moving them closer to you. This will allow you to cut down on the travel costs and allow you to be there for them in a much more timely manner.
After your loved one has moved closer, you can then look for a location within your area that will best suit their needs. When doing so, ask yourself if you will be putting them into assisted living or providing private home care. This choice will significantly affect the cost of care. individual home care can range from just $10 an hour to $15,000 monthly while assisted living costs on average $3,750 per month or $45,000 per year for essential services. Find what works best for you and your loved one for the long term.
Cost of Care
What many people don’t realize is that Medicare or other health insurance plans do not cover long term care costs. If your loved one needs round-the-clock care, this can be very expensive.
Did you know that two-thirds of people acknowledge that they have done little to no planning for their care needs? Avoid this by talking to your loved ones about their long term care plan. From there, look to your adviser, to help create a plan that will serve both you, the caregiver and your loved one.
Emotions run high when you are a caregiver.
Sometimes you never fully realize the stress and strain it adds to your life until you find yourself truly emotionally spent. Regardless of what the financial situation is, there are still a lot of decisions to be made, a lot of plans to put into place, and a lot of things to consider that you never wanted or thought you had to.
Even though you may be your loved ones’ primary caregiver, be sure that you are still taking care of yourself. If balancing work, family, and caregiving becomes too much, consider the value of your health and the financial cost of emergency care should a crisis occur.
This is a highly emotional time, and it’s not good for anyone if you take on this burden all on your own.
Look for support, whether that’s with friends, family, or support groups. These support groups can be found within your local community, like through your church, your local hospitals, and community centers. Don’t feel like you have to do this all on your own.
It’s challenging to prepare for caring for a loved one with a long term illness, but with the right planning, we can do our best to lessen the burden. Make sure you are taking into account your own needs when helping plan for loved one’s long term care.
Ande has made it her mission to break down the emotional, behavioral and societal barriers that stand between women and strong financial foundations.
She's widely recognized as a driving force in the financial community, having risen to the top of the primarily male-dominated insurance world as the former head of a multi-million-dollar fintech company and a VP at Penn Mutual.
Ande launched myWorth to inspire a financial awakening among women who are eager to take control of their financial journeys. Her first book will be published in October 2019.