Caring for a dependent senior relative can bring up a lot of new challenges. Whether the situation was planned for or came up suddenly, becoming responsible for another adult often forces caretakers to rethink their priorities in life. Here are a few things that you may need to step back and recalibrate in your life when becoming the sole caretaker for a dependent senior.
If you are now responsible for your senior loved one, you need to concern yourself with their everyday care. This can get tough, both for you and your loved one. You may be feeling overwhelmed at first, and your relative may be a bit embarrassed or frustrated about having to ask for help with common, everyday tasks. If it’s possible, you should try and prepare beforehand for caring for your senior loved one, and even consider hiring a visiting nurse service. There are many resources out there to help you and your older loved one cope with your new reality.
Now that you’re the caretaker for your older relative, you’re likely also responsible, or at least partly responsible, for managing their finances. You’ll want to start by making a list of expenses and then setting an appropriate budget. The list of new expenses can get pretty long, especially if you’re going to be living on one income. Thankfully, there are ways to get help. Healthcare expenses, which can get quite high in the latter years, are alleviated by signing up for Medicare or Medicaid. Medicaid can help cover healthcare expenses if they have a low income.
Emotional and Mental Health
You’ll also want to start becoming aware of your loved one’s mental and emotional health. Sudden changes such as going from living independently to being a dependent can give rise to a variety of emotions such as depression and feelings of worthlessness. It’s a good idea as well to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders in the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Knowing the signs and what to look for early on can help you prepare for and make an easier transition.
Becoming a caretaker on some level for your loved one isn’t an easy thing. It can be a difficult adjustment mentally, physically, and emotionally. But doing some research and becoming familiar with your new role will help you learn how to make an easier transition.
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