As you get older, your body might begin to show signs of wear and tear. Whether through injury, illness, or just the march of time, you might not be able to do the same things you were able to do when you were younger. If you become disabled, you have certain rights in the workplace. And if these rights are violated, whether through ignorance or malice on the workplace’s part, you might have options for legal action against them. If you do, you’ll want to talk to a disability defense lawyer to help you. And if you need more help, you might need a power of attorney form to give someone you trust certified power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf. Whether it is to protect you in the workplace or to protect you in more dire situations, your best bet is to start looking into these things as early as possible. The nearest law firm might be able to help, especially if you want to find local attorney. But it depends on your priorities, so you’ll want to do your research.
Taking care of an elderly parent is a tough challenge many adults find themselves in while raising a family of their own. The coronavirus pandemic can make the situation worse. More than half of seniors needing care live in their own home, while 29% live with a family caregiver. Older adults have the highest risk of developing severe complications with the virus.
Lockdown restrictions may make it difficult for families to have access to outside professional help. Juggling working from home, virtual schooling, household responsibilities, and elder care all at the same time can be an incredible strain on caregivers. There are many things you can do to help reduce the burdens of caregiving responsibility and ensure your loved one is safe and protected. Here are tips for caring for an elderly parent in your home.
Establish a Living Arrangement
When caring for an elderly parent in your home, you’ll need to develop adequate living arrangements for their needs. If you already have a full house, you may need to do some home renovations in order to make room for your elderly parents. Does your bathroom have the appropriate safety and mobility equipment? Is your home wheelchair accessible and free from hazards that could cause trips and falls? You may want to consider hiring an interior contractor to make your home safe for your elderly parents.
If all of the bedrooms in your house are already occupied, you may want to consider turning your garage into an apartment suite for your elderly parent. Check with your local city government regarding what renovations you can make and what permits you would need to obtain. Add insulation to the garage walls and have a custom garage floor installation done, keeping in mind safe flooring options. Add a wide door to make getting in and out of the garage easier. Consult professionals to perform an assessment to make sure the new living area is safe before you move them in.
Situate Your Elderly Parent’s Finances
Caring for an elderly parent in your home can cost more than you think. You may need to sit down with your parent and have a conversation to situate their finances and yours. Gather as much information as you can about what they owe in debts and what assets they have to sell. You may want to consider enlisting the help of a financial planner to sort through all of your financial options. Make a list of all income sources including any benefits from Social Security, pensions, and investments.
One of the biggest assets to consider selling is the home your elderly parents live in. The money can be used to pay for medical and living expenses while you are caring for an elderly parent in your home. It may be difficult to sell their existing home without a listing agent in the current economic environment. Discuss with other family members what financial contributions they can make towards your elderly parent’s care. Research local and state programs that can help cut costs for meals, transportation, medical expenses, and other needs your elderly parents may have.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Elderly Parent’s Medical Needs
Caring for an elderly parent in your home also means that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with their specific medical needs. You may need to invest in a wide range of assistive devices to ensure their comfort and overall health. Many older adults suffer from joint issues that can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult and daily mobility a chore. Getting a new mattress can help give your elderly parent’s body the support it needs and help reduce bed sores with those who are bedridden. You may want to consider safety rails in the bathroom and near any stairs as well as a shower chair for easier bathing.
Many older adults may also need endodontic treatment on a regular basis to take care of dental decay from aging. Your elderly parents may also have out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions and supplements they need to take on a monthly basis. Household medical expenses alone for older adults can cost caregivers approximately $5,000 each year. A portion of these costs may be covered by private insurance and Medicare.
Review your elderly parents’ insurance policies to discover what medical treatments and devices may be covered and what you may have to pay for yourself. You may need to purchase supplemental insurance to help pay for these costs. Prescription and vision discount programs can save you a significant amount of money. You may also want to reach out to community programs that have donated equipment you can use if your finances are tight.
Find Ways for the Family to Connect
Connecting with family is crucial when caring for an elderly parent in your home. Keeping seniors safe from an infection during the pandemic can make those bonding connections with their loved ones incredibly difficult. Feelings of isolation can lead to a higher risk of health issues and decline in older adults. There are many creative ways you can keep seniors from social isolation while still maintaining their safety. Many families are doing drive-by visits or having conversations through windows in order to stay connected.
Old fashioned letters and phone calls are making a comeback in order to maintain social bonds with family members. You can use video conferencing to stay connected to family members outside of the home. Many families are using video chats as a way to incorporate other family members during meal times. Many families are also turning to online virtual tours as a way to take a “vacation” together.
At the dinner table, have everyone share something about their days. A family member who’s an electrical may share about their work with bulkhead electrical connectors. A family member who’s a teacher may share something funny that happened during their history lesson that day. A family member who works for a lidar mapping company may have an interesting story to share as well. Kids can share stories about their friends or something they learned at school, too.
Consider Work and School Schedules
While you are busy working from home or helping with virtual schooling, there are ways you can still keep an eye on your elderly parents to make sure they’re safe. Medical alert systems will contact authorities immediately during an emergency. An Apple watch can be set up with apps to monitor health conditions and send the information directly to physicians. Digital reminder technology can help your parents keep their independence by alerting them when to perform certain tasks, such as taking medications.
Caring for an elderly parent in your home may even provide some benefit to you, especially during the pandemic. Grandparents can help their grandchildren with a child’s remote learning program through school. By helping with homework, your elderly parents can stay mentally active and create wonderful memories with their grandchildren. These activities can help boost their overall health as well. It can also help you get more remote work done at home or give you a much-needed break from caregiving duties for a short time.
Budget for Your Own Expenses
Caring for an elderly parent in your home can cause a significant dent in your budget. Approximately 20% of your monthly household budget can be taken up by your elderly parents’ medical supplies, personal care items, and food. You need to ensure that you can cover all of the monthly expenses plus save for unexpected costs, such as a broken-down car or emergency roof repair services. To help cut costs, take advantage of as many public benefits as you can. If you work, you may want to consider enrolling your elderly parent in an adult day center so you can continue earning income.
You may want to have a conversation with your elderly parents about paying for their own expenses. This may be a good time to discuss being given power of attorney over your elderly parents’ financial accounts. A power of attorney defines how bills should be paid and what to do regarding assets and insurance policies. It’s important to have this document in place before it’s actually needed. You may run into serious complications if your loved one becomes incapacitated and you have no legal recourse against creditors.
Track your monthly spending and keep your receipts. You may be able to deduct these expenses and claim your elderly parent as a dependent on your tax returns. Saving for your own retirement is also a must to include in your household budget. You may want to consider reaching out to a financial advisor to help you manage your money in the best way possible while caring for an elderly parent in your home. Have family meetings and review your budget on a regular basis to ensure you stay on track towards meeting your financial goals.
Plan for the Future
Planning for the future is an important aspect of caring for an elderly parent that shouldn’t be overlooked. You will need to have difficult conversations on what will happen if you can no longer care for them or they can no longer make decisions for themselves. You may want to consider hiring an estate planning lawyer for complete legal and medical planning. The two biggest matters to tackle is ensuring that your elderly parents have a will and medical power of attorney in place. These two documents will ensure your loved one’s wishes are protected in the event they can no longer communicate.
An estate planning attorney can set you up as an executor of the estate and prevent fighting from family members through a clearly defined will. Make sure to gather up all important documentation of your elderly parents’ assets and keep them in one place for convenient access when you need them. The attorney can also help with prepayment of funeral expenses so you don’t have to worry about it when your loved one passes away. Creating a plan for the future may take time and include many difficult conversations. Take baby steps and update estate plans whenever any major changes take place.
Reduce Personal Care Costs
Your own physical and emotional wellbeing can be significantly impacted while caring for an elderly parent at home. The stress can cause long-term health consequences if you don’t take care of yourself. This can lead to additional medical costs that can place added pressure on an already strained budget. Make time to give yourself a mental health break and give your body enough physical activity to burn off any stored tension. You may want to hire a professional home health aide covered by insurance for a few hours each week to prevent future unexpected medical expenses.
You may also want to have a conversation about boundaries with your elderly parents living at home. There may be unresolved emotional issues and family dynamics that come into play when your parents are living with you. You may want to consult with a licensed therapist who can give you strategies for coping with caring for older loved ones during a pandemic. Virtual support groups are also available online to give you assistance whenever it’s needed. Ask your family physician for any recommendations regarding caring for an elderly parent at home.
Caring for an elderly parent in your home is no easy task. The pandemic can make your caregiving duties feel like a mission impossible. You’ll need to enlist all of the help you can get to make sure your elderly parents’ needs are well met without neglecting your other responsibilities. Carefully consider your own situation and determine if you can honestly meet the demands before moving your parents in. You may need to explore other options, such as assisted living, if you don’t have the necessary resources.
Getting creative with resources is a necessity during these uncertain times. There are many programs available that can assist you with being a caregiver. You don’t have to do it all alone. Use these tips to lighten the load of your caregiving duties during the pandemic. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your loved ones are safe, and your stress will be reduced while caring for them. Take action to help improve your elderly parents’ wellbeing today.