Time marches on as everyone ages including your family members. Through several circumstances, you can find yourself becoming a caretaker for your parents or other loved ones. As a caretaker, several considerations fall on your lap. First and foremost, you must figure out how you’re going to care for them. Let’s take a look at five tips to help you care for an aging family member.
1. Assess the Amount of Care Needed
When an aging family member requires care, assess the amount of care they need. The body becomes prone to a series of conditions and illnesses with age. The most common age-related diseases include cardiovascular, high blood pressure, and cancer. Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia are others.
Some age-related diseases are manageable and short-term. Others advance and remain chronic, such as dementia. Ideally, a primary doctor will have detailed medical records of your aging family member. The records coupled with your family medical history will indicate the amount of care needed in the future.
Then you’ll know if your family member requires care around the clock by a professional, or if they can remain at home with you with some supervision.
2. Assess Your Current Responsibilities
Once an aging family requires care, you need to assess your current responsibilities. Life isn’t a perfect plan. Aging family members requiring care can be a sudden revelation. Sometimes the responsibility falls on the eldest child. As the eldest, you may already have your own family that needs you. The beauty of a family is that you pull together for each other.
Some circumstances preclude family members from taking on this new responsibility around the clock. Therefore, be honest about your current situation and make plans accordingly.
3. Assess their Estate Planning Requirements
All aging family members require a will because they had children. Those with sizable assets require estate planning too. It’s important to take a proactive position before the family member goes deeper into their condition.
Every individual receives the opportunity to distribute their assets according to their wishes post-death. A hearing in probate court takes up to one year to complete even when there’s a notarized will. However, the legal document reduces disputes over the assets among the beneficiaries.
4. Assess their future Health Care Needs
To care for an aging family member, assess their future health care needs. In this case, you’re assessing it for financial reasons.
If they can occupy an extra bedroom in your home, is that enough?
Some require a place to stay and help with daily activities. This often leads to hiring an in-home care professional.
In advancing cases of dementia, a professional care home is best. They staff the site 24/7 to prevent their residents from accidentally hurting themselves or getting lost. These services have price tags attached to them. So, it’s important to calculate the costs.
Insurance helps cover the costs of professional care services, such as disability insurance. Professionals including doctors can become disabled later in life and require insurance too.
Since a physician’s income leans toward the higher brackets, the insurance costs are comparable. To take a look at possible disability insurance charges, this article from Physician’s Thrive offers more information.
5. Assess the best Care Options
To care for an aging family member, assess the best care options.
Potential living arrangements include aging at home, independent living communities, and assisted living communities. Living with you and nursing homes round out the most common options.
Your family member’s future health status often determines the best option, but you can always try alternatives first. In 2018, at least 68% of the older population lived in a single-family home.
If they decide that moving to an independent living community is best, they’ll need help setting up their legal and financial affairs. It’s a good idea to consult with legal and finance professionals who can read the lease, set up automatic payments, and establish necessary proxies.
Before your loved one can receive assistance to pay for a retirement community, their finances must meet the parameters issued by the agency.
It’s possible to care for an aging family with minimal support and challenges. Assess the level of care they’ll need in the future and prepare their affairs promptly. It’s important to plan an estate while the family member is still cognizant. Then the entire family can enjoy their time together.