With each passing year, many adult children find themselves assisting their elderly parents a bit more, adapting as their to-do list increases. A sudden event, on the other hand, can rocket a person into the caregiving role. A parent's health could be jeopardized by a stroke, a catastrophic bone fracture, or a similar medical emergency. If your parent lives far away, you may not realize their condition has deteriorated until a doctor or a neighbor calls and says, "You have to do something!"
Your first days as a family caregiver, no matter what the situation, can be overwhelming. Based on the experiences of seasoned carers, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Moving your loved one to an assisted living facility or another supportive environment may be a smart option if their care needs are high. Before deciding on a location, do your research. Professional in-home care can be an excellent option if your loved one prefers to receive care at home, which according to AARP statistics is the desire of 90% of older persons.
In-home carers assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, toileting, meal preparation, and adhering to doctor's orders. Professional carers offer guidance, companionship, and, most importantly, peace of mind. Talk to your parents and other family members about how to pay for this life-saving service.
Medical care, like family caregiving, has become more complicated in recent years. Medical tasks that would make a nursing student shiver are required of today's caregivers. Learn everything you can about your loved one's illness, get medical advice, and keep in mind that your abilities will improve over time.
You won't be able to meet all of your loved one's needs on your own. Enlist the help of siblings or other family members. Organize a family gathering. Make a to-do list. Share what you've learned about your loved one's condition with others. Others are more willing to assist you if they feel assured.
Occasionally, friends will volunteer to assist and support you. Caregivers, on the other hand, said that when their loved one's health deteriorated, some friends "ghosted" them, meaning they didn't phone or visit. Some of your friends "don't know what to say." Others express apprehension when it comes to disability and illness. As much as you can, put them at ease.
Although there are numerous governmental and commercial assistance services available, the system is disjointed. Inquire with your loved one's medical staff about community resources. To begin the investigation, contact your local area agency on aging. Inquire as much as possible. Don't give up.
According to studies, the stress of caring for a loved one can put the caregiver's health in jeopardy—to the point where their loved one may outlive them! Caregivers are more likely to get heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. Making time for exercise, eating healthily, and doing things you enjoy is not selfish. “Taking care of oneself is a crucial part of caring for my loved one,” repeat as needed.
Caring for a loved one can bring a lot of emotional satisfaction. Caregivers often say, "Mom looked after me; now it's my turn." However, we may feel the loss as a result of our loved one's change, in addition to the happy emotions. We may experience animosity toward how our lives have changed, as well as guilt for feeling this way.
Caring for someone else can be stressful, especially if we're already juggling a career and other family obligations. This stress puts us in danger of “caregiver burnout,” which is a feeling of tiredness that occurs when a caregiver's time and energy are depleted. Don't pass judgment on this range of emotions; they're perfectly normal. They are, nevertheless, a sign that you require assistance.
Workers who are also family carers face frequent job interruptions, 50% of these interruptions being "severe." Working caregivers miss out on promotions and spend all of their vacation time caring for their loved ones. Some people quit their jobs, retiring early while their savings are lower, receiving Social Security benefits prematurely so that their lifetime payout is smaller, and jeopardizing their own retirement. Many businesses are becoming aware of the impact of caregiving on key employees; tell your boss what's going on in your life.
Also Read: How To Compare Employer Coverage to Medicare
There's nothing like dealing with those who've "been there." Practical advice, a sympathetic ear, and even a dose of stress-relieving humor can all be offered by fellow carers. Join an in-person, virtual, or social media-based support group or connect with caregiver friends. If you or a loved one has Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, look for dementia-friendly meetings and activities that provide appropriate activities in a nonjudgmental environment for people with memory loss and their caregivers. Learn more: Does Medicare cover Alzheimer's?
Sensors, monitors, senior-friendly communications gadgets, “smart home” technology, and even robots are all part of the “senior tech” boom these days. These can support your loved one's well-being while also assisting you—but keep in mind that someone has to serve as the tech lead, and that person will most likely be you, so make sure you're included in the conversation when these devices are chosen. If you aren't tech-savvy, this may be a role that other family members are eager to perform.
Medicare is covered only by home health care services prescribed by a physician and delivered by qualified nurses, although patients must meet strict eligibility criteria.
What is the easiest way to apply for Medicare? Well, you are in the right place! Most people were automatically enrolled and became eligible for Social Security when they turn to 65. We didn't need to apply for Medicare until President Reagan signed the legislation which raises the retirement age in 1983 and begins in 2003.
While eye care is a common need as we age, Medicare coverage is extremely restricted for most vision services. It is normally based on whether you encounter any medical problems that can impair your eyesight.
Many people believe that Medicare is free because, for much of their working life, you have paid into Medicare by taxes, but that assumption is not right.