There are over 50 million informal caregivers in the U.S. who are caring for a loved one, like an elderly parent, spouse, or grandparent. When placed in that position, serving as a family caregiver for an aging-in-place loved one can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
On the other hand, planning for the inevitable will help ensure that all your caregiving goals get met. Using this caregiving guide as a template should make the experience a more rewarding one for both of you.
Your Family Caregiver Checklist
No matter how hard you try, predicting the future with any certainty is never easy. Getting cancer, experiencing a debilitating fall, or being diagnosed with dementia are all too common life events that seniors- and their loved ones- never see coming.
You need to know the following if you are caring for a loved one:
1. What are their wishes?
Although it may be uncomfortable, you will need to sit down with your seniors and discuss their long-term wishes. Where do they see themselves living within the next 5 to 10 years? Have they set aside enough in their retirement “nest egg” to cover future bills, including emergencies?
2. Where will they live?
Long-distance caregiving can wear down even the most seasoned family caregivers. If you live over an hour away, will you be able to juggle the long commutes along with your other responsibilities? Would dad agree to move in with you? Could mom take care of herself once dad is gone? Is there a support network of friends and family where they live?
3. Should I quit my job?
Out-of-pocket caregiving expenses and unpaid time off work can put a strain on your household budget. Do your financial resources allow you to cut back on your work hours? Could you still pay your monthly bills if you quit working altogether for a while? What benefits, including health insurance, would you be forced to give up while devoting more time caring for your senior?
4. Can I get paid for caregiving?
Medicaid now offers several programs that provide a monthly stipend for qualified family caregivers. These include Adult Foster Care, HCBS Waivers, 1915 Waivers, Medicaid Personal Services, and the Medicaid Caregiver Exemption. Look into those programs now, rather than later.
5. Can I manage their medical care?
This aspect will undoubtedly be more straightforward if your senior lives with you. Either way, there’s no time like the present to get their written authorization for you to access their medical records and speak to their healthcare and medical insurance providers. As the aging process continues, this will help facilitate a more seamless transition that ensures care needs get met.
6. What about their legal affairs?
If they haven’t already done so, encourage your loved one to make up a will and to choose a designated Power-of-Attorney (POA) for both their medical and legal/financial affairs. Having all those legally binding documents ready in advance will help minimize confusion later if they can no longer make their own decisions.
7. How can I protect their investments?
Starting with their family members, financial scammers love targeting the elderly. Have a discussion now with your loved one about how to protect their investments. Ask them to set you up as a custodian on all their bank and credit card accounts. That way, you can monitor their account statements and look for signs of suspicious transactions.
8. Should I recruit a professional?
Once your loved one has trouble performing two out of the six basic activities of daily living (BADLs) the level of care that’s needed may exceed your abilities. At that point, it may become necessary to seek professional help from:
Quality In-Home Care for Seniors in Arizona
Although it’s gratifying, caring for an aging loved one isn’t always easy. At Adultcare Assistance Homecare, we’d love to have an open dialogue with you about your needs and how we can help your loved one comfortably and affordably age in place. As a locally owned agency with a long track record of success, our highly trained caregivers can step in and provide your family with the care that’s needed.
Our home care services include respite care, companion care, medication reminders, senior transportation, light housekeeping, and even 24-hour, live-in assistance. To learn more about our award-winning services now or to get a FREE Home Care Assessment for a senior in Phoenix, Sun City, or Tucson, AZ, today, please visit Adultcare Assistance Homecare at: www.adultcareassistance.com.