There are 75 million adults taking care of their elderly parents. Of that number, 2/3 are in the workforce … stuck in the middle of kids, career, and aging parents. Many provide 40 hours of unpaid hands-on care with little or no outside support.
At some point YOU will be a caregiver. Definitely start preparing sooner than later. Don’t wait for a crisis to start to get organized. The following 10 tips can be helpful to you and your whole family. Please visit www.BarbaraMcVicker.com for more information.
1. Assess the health and safety of Mom and Dad. This is the only way you and your siblings will know where you are on the continuum of caregiving. There is a list of the 9 areas you need to be aware of on my website.
2. Hold a Family Meeting. Bring together the whole family to discuss ways to support your aging parents. Have an agenda and a list of needed tasks.
3. Amass the Essential Documents. Gather the important medical and legal documents that are listed on my website.
4. Build a Team. Start to gather a group of professionals who can support you, provide information, and advice. Consider a financial planner, geriatric care manager, elder law attorney, healthcare professionals, in-home care agency, and more.
5. Information is Powerful. Start to get educated about this topic and find resources that are available in your parents’ city. There are many great books, websites, webinars, and government resources.
6. Even Good Families become Dysfunctional. All of the conflicts and emotions involved in taking care of Mom and Dad, make for arguments in even normal families.
7. Sibling Conflicts. Usually caregiving falls to 1 adult child. Only 10% of primary caregivers feel that the burden of caregiving is evenly distributed. All siblings need to share in the care.
8. Support the Caregiver. The primary caregiver is often called “the hidden patient” because the job is so stressful. The other siblings need to say “thank you”, provide respite care, lend a sympatric ear, and send tokens of appreciation.
9. Financial Impact. The latest statistic states that most adult children caregivers are helping to support their parents with $2500/month. We may all have to work longer just to support our parents.
10. Boomers Greatest Fear. We are panicked that we will repeat the same mistakes as our elderly parents and be as demanding to our kids when we get old. Afraid that we have not learned a thing about growing old gracefully!