By ALYSSA WINBERG
Children oftentimes become eventual caregivers for their elder parents. Many caregivers overexert themselves to keep their elderly parents at home. Maybe you promised your parent you would never put them in a home or perhaps you feel it is your obligation to care for them, to pay them back for caring for you for 18 years. Not to mention, assisted living can cost quite a pretty penny and not everyone can afford it. No matter what the reason, caregiving is a hard and overwhelming job for anyone to take on.
Understand What You are Taking on
Before taking on the task of caregiving, make a physical list of everything your senior needs and what it’s going to take to accomplish it. Figure out how it’s going to work with your schedule and what it is going to cost you. Are they semi-independent, or do they need constant care? Can they be trusted to be alone for short or long periods of time? These are questions to ask yourself. You may have to take notes as you go, to get a better idea of what you’re taking on.
Don’t Take on Too Much
You may be the type to say “yes” to everything, but it’s important to be realistic about your time and abilities, so you can care for your parent without putting your own health at risk. You need sleep and nourishment yourself, so you have the strength to look after someone else.
Take care of yourself first. If this job is putting your own health at risk, you may need to reevaluate.
Get Help if You Can
Don’t be afraid to get extra help. It doesn’t mean you are failing, it means you are realistic and doing what is best for you and your older parent. Come up with ways to save time on tasks and minimize stress. Can you split the tasks with a sibling? Will an online method for helping with bills make life easier? Perhaps there are classes or activities to take your parent to take up some time in the day.
This may take a lot of planning and patience, but it will be worth your while in the long run.
Understand the Financial Aspect
Being a caregiver can be quite expensive. Make sure to have a plan in place to pay for expenses. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure the financial logistics out. Will you be budgeting your parent’s money for them? Make sure to make and follow a budget every month.
Being a caregiver is a noble job. However, it’s also a lot of work. There are things you can do to ease the burden a bit and make sure your health isn’t being compromised as a result of being at someone else’s beck and call. ISI
Alyssa Winberg is part of the Diane Beck Team of Windermere Realty in Missoula, MT. Diane Beck and has over 30 years experience as a realtor in western Montana. She and her team specialize in buying and selling single level homes for seniors.