Identify family members and friends who will walk this path with you. There are lots of tasks associated with caregiving but they are definitely manageable in small doses. Help may take the form of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning the house, or doing laundry. Close family members may assist with personal grooming chores or taking a loved one to medical appointments.
Don’t be afraid to lean on people who’ve been in your loved one’s life for a long time. These people can help you understand how their condition has evolved and the particular frustrations that have been caused. This group might include close friends, doctors, clergy, neighbors, and those who have provided services to your loved one, such as a handyman.
Join a support group.
A support group of others who are on the same journey can be a lifeline, providing encouragement and advice. These groups can be found locally in person, online – facebook is a particularly good resource for this – or on the phone. Meeting people who’ve walked a mile in your shoes allows you to share conflicted feelings, learn from others, and get help navigating the healthcare system.
Ask an expert.
Reach out to an elder law attorney to discuss options for support and contact your insurance company and see what options it may have. In some cases, long-term care insurance may pay for a variety of services, including in-home care and adult day care programs. Senior care groups often offers aging adults cognitive stimulation, social interaction, educational activities, meals, and possibly transportation to and from a facility.
Shared knowledge is power.
Some roles in the care team may be more passive — just being “in the loop,” keeping a watchful eye, and offering ideas to either streamline processes or improve outcomes. Don’t miss these important roles! As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Finance is a great example of this. Even though your loved one may still be managing money independently, it can be beneficial to have other select and trusted caregivers watching over the finances week-to-week in order to know what’s going on and look out for fraud, missteps, or opportunities to improve returns.
Ruby’s financial tools are the perfect way for families to work together in support of a loved one’s finances. Our Weekly Summary shows you a single view across multiple bank accounts and institutions so that the whole family has a shared understanding of the financial picture, and can easily and quickly keep an eye on money each week.
Remember it’s a learning curve for everyone.
Giving and receiving is a two-way street. Many adult children who care for their parents actually gain a lot from the experience – some would even describe it as spiritual growth. If you are the care recipient, don’t assume you are going to be a burden to your children. Perhaps, you are going to be more of a blessing than ever before.
Learn how to receive help graciously.
There are some quality of life issues that actually improve by surrendering some of our independence. Perhaps giving up the chore of mowing the lawn leaves more time for enjoyable gardening activities. Having help cleaning the house means more energy can be devoted to hobbies. With more helping hands you might find that your life becomes richer and less stressful.
If you are the parent, remember that you are still a role model to your caregiver children. When they were youngsters they learned values and how to handle the challenges of life from you. As middle-aged adults, they looked to you to see how to navigate those challenges that come with handling the many losses and disappointments that occur in life. And now, as caregivers, they still look to you to for guidance.