4 Ways to Help to Elderly Parents without Draining Yourself and Your Budget
by Guest Blogger, Caitlin E.
Source: freepik.com (free to use and share)
Your parents took care of you when you were a kid. They paid for your education and food. They raised you to be a good person. And while they didn’t do that expecting you to return the favor, there might come a day when they’ll need you to step in.
Of course, if that day comes, it will mean that you have to make some changes in your lifestyle, regarding your career, personal life, and finances. No one expects you to give up on your life to care for your parents. But you will need to learn to balance your responsibilities in a way that enables you to continue making an income, caring for your family, and giving your parents all the attention they need.
Because you should not be in this alone, here are a few tips that will help you get through this situation.
See if They Need Help and How Much Help They Need
It’s always hard to admit that our parents, who we considered to be our superheroes, are ill and powerless. Facing the facts early on will help you give them the best care they need. The best thing you can do is to talk to your parents first because they need to be involved in every decision that concerns them.
Then, search for the signs they need help:
- They’re struggling with household chores.
- Their personal hygiene is not as it used to be.
- They’re not eating regularly.
- They struggle to move around the house and neighborhood.
- They’re losing hand-eye coordination, which prevents them from driving safely, using tools, and other necessities.
- They’re losing track of their medication.
Once you determine the condition of your parents, you will know the degree of care they require. For example, they might only need you to help with paying the bills or doing household chores. In more severe cases, they will require assistance with getting dressed and moving around.
Talk to Your Employer
Trying to juggle work and the new responsibilities might be the first to come to mind when you find yourself in a situation like this. However, in most cases, this feat results in dropping one juggling ball. Your productivity will definitely suffer, and your boss will notice it. It’s better for you to tell him/her before this happens.
Be honest. Try to point out your value to the company and explain that you will still do your best to contribute. You can ask to work from home for some time or take family days. Your company might even offer some benefits you can use.
Examine the Financial Situation and Make Plans
The financial aspect of being a caregiver is not to be neglected, as it can take quite a toll on both your and your parents’ budget.
First, you need to asses your current financial situation and see if there is room for savings. As a family caregiver, you might have a chance for a tax deduction, so check that out as well.
Later, you should do the same with your parents’ retirement income, but this is a touch topic. You’ll need to assure your parents that you have their best interest at heart. If they haven’t applied for social security yet, help them do it, and look for any tax and other reliefs that can help. For example, being a member of The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides various services, such as insurance coverage and discounts for certain medical equipment.
Consider downsizing their living arrangements as a way of cutting unnecessary expenses and adding to their savings. Of course, it is imperative to plan for the long term and create a budget that will cover the costs of future care.
Don’t Do Everything on Your Own
Taking on all the responsibilities alone can only cause you to burn out faster and damage your own health, which will result in a decreased ability to take care of your parents.
There’s no shame in asking a sibling or a relative for help when it comes to taking your parents to the doctor’s or cleaning the house. If your kids are teenagers or older, they can also help around the house or just be good company to their grandparents. Ask the neighbors to check up on your parents every once in a while and let you know about their condition. This way, the burden will feel lighter, and you’ll be able to balance your life more successfully.
Finally, don’t neglect your health and personal needs. You are of no use to your parents if you’re miserable or sick. Try to find the time to rest, sleep, and socialize, and when you come to their house with a smile on your face, they will feel much better too.
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