The Elder Law Guide To Caregiving
According to AARP there are 44.4 million caregivers in the United States. Sixty-two percent (62%) of caregivers are married and 37% have children under 18 living in their homes. Finding the time to manage another person’s care, finances and home must be balanced with the day-to-day responsibilities of the caregiver’s own immediate family. Being spread too thin will negatively impact all of these situations. While there are a variety of care options and programs for assisting an aging parent or ill spouse there is no true substitute for mom or dad when you are 9.
Sitting across from and listening to the stories of caregivers who have devoted 3, 5 even 14 years of their lives caring for a parent or ill spouse one can hardly appreciate the level of commitment and dedication necessary to sustain another human being. The desire to do right burns so brightly within that it blunts the built-up realities of burn-out, resentment and estrangement until it is too late. Part of an Elder Law Attorney’s job is to protect the caregiver from themselves and give them the tools to effectively manage a loved one’s care while preserving the caregiver’s well-being.
Some of the tools include: hiring home health aides, utilization of the Medicaid Home Care programs, adult day programs, choosing the most advantageous senior housing option, as well as crafting an aging in place plan.
Any relationship that is viewed as primarily burdensome will strip away the joy and energy that people require to sustain a positive outlook. Such negativity will permanently damage that relationship. When a parent or spouse becomes ill the initial gut-reaction to act as hero or heroine should not be ignored, but it should be complemented with a larger view of the caregiver’s own life.
The biggest heroes are the caregivers who appreciate and understand their own limitations and delegate the responsibilities that can be delegated.