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If you or a family member is caring for an aging parent or someone close to you, you understand the complexities of day-to-day living. In honor of Parents’ Day, July 23, we thought we would share helpful information to those who are caregivers of a parent or loved one, or who will be assisting them in the future.
Right now, we are experiencing an almost-unprecedented growth in older adults. According to an article on apnews.com, this share of U.S. residents grew by more than a third from 2010 to 2020 and at the fastest rate of any decade in 130 years.
This means that many Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964 are reaching the age of 65 and older, and they are starting to experience health issues or are ready to downsize to a smaller home that will adapt to their mobility. Soon they may need help physically, emotionally and even financially from their children and family members as they age. At the same time, they may be responsible for elderly parents in their 80s and 90s.
The term “Sandwich Generation” is not a new one, but it now accounts for a rising demographic. These are the people who are “sandwiched” between taking care of parents or older relatives while at the same time supporting and raising their children. This group can also include people who are helping older relatives, older or adult children and even assisting with raising grandchildren.
Whether you’re assisting parents, grandparents or loved ones, you may encounter some stress from several avenues such as financial, emotional or physical. Aging in the U.S. can be expensive and with medical costs on the rise, you may have to contribute to costs. There is also an emotional toll from being pulled in several directions at once, especially if you are the sole caregiver.
Caregivers of parents and loved ones can also face exhaustion and isolation. They may struggle to devote enough time to their spouse, partner or children. If the caregiver employed, this may add extra stress to perform well at work and keep up with their parent’s needs.
No matter if you’re a Baby Boomer helping an aging parent or part of the Sandwich Generation, you need to take care of yourself. Making time to get enough rest and healthy meals can actually make you a better caregiver.
There are also things you can do to smooth the way:
Make sure that you and your parents, siblings and adult children understand their responsibilities in the caregiving situation. Who is going to pay the bills for the elderly relative? Where can they afford to live? Is there enough money to pay for some outside assistance?
If chronic illness or other medical challenges are involved, make sure someone in the family knows which physicians are involved and what medicines are prescribed. It often helps to have two people at a doctor’s appointment. Insurance cards should also be kept in a central place so that they are always available.
If possible, make sure that the parent or loved one has a voice in their living space, even if it’s just about the color of the bedsheets or the placement of the television. You can also make sure that it’s geographically close to someone whether that’s you, a relative or a trusted caregiver. Getting to your parent quickly when they need assistance will bring you peace of mind.
No one can do it all. Reach out to family, close friends or professionals who specialize in helping older adults. Look for those who can give the caregivers a rest, take over certain tasks like paying bills or even assistance with daily tasks of living. Caregiving can be a fulfilling experience if you take care of yourself as well.
Moving your senior relative can cause many adverse effects to their mental and physical health. WayForth’s move managers are experienced in making that transition easier, read our article here for information on how WayForth eases seniors into their new living situation.
Want more information about how WayForth can help with comprehensive moving solutions including downsizing, packing, moving and clear-out? Contact our moving professionals today at 1.844.WAYFORTH.
As the sun sets on one chapter of life, a new dawn awaits beyond the horizon for our seniors. Building a brighter future for them means cultivating a society where their aspirations, dreams, and contributions are not only acknowledged but celebrated. Its about fostering an environment where the echoes of their laughter, the depth of their wisdom, and the richness of their experiences continue to shape our communities.In this future, we invest in education that knows no age, where seniors can explore new passions, engage in lifelong learning, and mentor the generations that follow. Accessible healthcare and innovative technologies become bridges, connecting them to the best possible quality of life. Moreover, we embrace their stories, acknowledging that each line on their face represents a tale of resilience and triumph. Beyond the horizon lies a world where seniors are not just receivers of care, but architects of change, artists of newfound hobbies, and ambassadors of love. Together, lets create a tomorrow where the golden years are filled with purpose, joy, and the boundless adventure of living life to the fullest.
I was at a family reunion recently, and I overheard a lady say that one of the challenges of getting old is seeing your parents aging. This lady is probably in her late 50s and she is the caregiver for her mom, who is in her 80s, with very serious health problems. Speaking with the owner of a relatively large business recently, he said that many of his employees are needing to take time off from work. This is because they are caregivers for their parents. This is a sign of the times, and there are an increasing number of people dealing with these issues.This One Is For The CaregiversMost of our presentations and educational content are focused on our clients, whether its retirees in their 60s or seniors in their 70s and 80s. We do estate planning across the generations, but given the increasing number of caregivers taking care of their parents, I wanted to reach out to the caregivers. The title of this blog What to think about when the unthinkable happens, refers to what we should think about and do as caregivers, if a parent becomes sick or passes away.Estate planning is really about the management of control and access. The control aspect refers to who is making the decisions, and access refers to what is allowed with regard to the finances. If my client has a stroke, or gets dementia, they may have mental faculty issues. As a result, they may not be able to manage their own affairs as they used to. If you notice your parents health is declining, as caregivers you need to consider the following:Power Of Attorney DocumentThe first thing you need is a document called a financial power of attorney, which shifts control when someone needs assistance. There are essentially two types of Power of Attorney documents:A springing power of attorney is based on the idea that you sign the document while you have the capacity, so that should anything happen, your child can take over. The problem is that nobody ever admits that they are losing capacity, especially if they have dementia. It then becomes a battle if the child needs to use the power of attorney, to act on behalf of a parent.The other type is a durable power of attorney, which you sign while you have your mental faculties. However, the document is effective immediately even if your child may not use it immediately. This type of Power of Attorney is preferred in most situations. Since dementia is progressive in nature, there will likely be a gradual decline in a seniors mental capacity. Over time, the child caregiver will need to take more responsibility to help their parent. Eventually the time will come when the parent cannot manage on their own. This is the time when the durable power of attorney will work, and is the primary way to plan for someones incapacity.Asset Protection Is ImportantAnother suggestion is to consider doing some asset protection, using an asset protection trust. I recommend these trusts for middle class and upper middle class families who are concerned about long term care expenses. We can work with you to create these trusts. The system in this country often results in seniors going broke if they need long term care. Nursing homes in Pennsylvania cost $180,000 a year and most people cant afford to pay that. Only when you are broke, can you get Medicaid benefits to pay the nursing home. Medicaid is the only payment source for long term care, and its important to understand the rules of Medicaid. One of the rules is that if you have transferred assets to an asset protection trust ahead of time, those assets are protected from long term care costs.We Can Help You To Find Long Term Care FacilitiesIf you have a parent who is starting to slip, they may need long term care at a later stage. Please take the time to understand the different types of facilities available to provide care for your loved one. We help our clients with this aspect, and we have a social worker on our team who is familiar with the different facilities. We help people find good care, which I believe is part of doing good estate planning.Take Care Of YourselfWhile you are taking care of a loved one, if you are a caregiver, you must get the resources to help you to take care of yourself. Here is link to a website with information on caregiver resources: https://www.hospiceandpalliativecareofkodiak.org/caregiver-resources. Jennifer who started this company did so after being a caregiver. She realized the many challenges that caregivers face from an emotional standpoint. You are not in this alone and you also need the support.Losing A Loved OneWhen we talk about the unthinkable happening, we are talking about losing a loved one. Perhaps youre the executor and you are wondering what you should do first if your loved one passes away. Let me reassure you that there is no legal or financial emergency that needs addressing in the first 48 hours. If you have just lost someone dear to you, allow yourself time to grieve. When it comes to the estate administration process, it is a marathon and not a sprint. This is especially pertinent when it comes to probate cases. Please contact the Sechler Law Firm or your estate planning attorney, to get help with the estate administration process.
As we journey through life, accumulating memories and possessions along the way, there comes a time when many seniors find themselves longing for simplicity and order in their living spaces. The art of organizing is not just about tidying up; it's a transformative process that can bring peace, efficiency, and a renewed sense of purpose to a senior's life. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of organizing for seniors and offer practical tips and ideas to help them embark on this rewarding journey towards a more organized and harmonious life.The Benefits of Organizing for SeniorsEnhanced Safety: A clutter-free environment reduces the risk of tripping and falling, which can be particularly important for seniors with limited mobility. Improved Mental Health: A tidy space can promote a sense of calm and reduce stress. Organizing allows seniors to let go of the past and embrace a more positive outlook on life. Increased Independence: An organized home fosters independence by making it easier to find necessary items and perform daily tasks without assistance. Savings and Efficiency: Seniors can save money by knowing what they have and where it is. Plus, an organized home is more energy-efficient.Getting StartedSet Realistic Goals: Begin by setting achievable goals. Start with one room or area and work your way up. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a perfectly organized home. Declutter: The first step in organizing is often decluttering. Help seniors decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Encourage them to hold onto items that bring joy or hold sentimental value. Storage Solutions: Invest in storage solutions that make organization easy. Consider clear containers, drawer dividers, and labels to keep things neat and accessible.