Five Smart Tips for Family Caregivers

Family caregivers of aging loved ones struggle with emotional and financial burdens every day. The following article lists 5 tips to help alleviate the stress. For help navigating elder care in South Florida, visit www.caremanage.com.

Five Smart Tips for Family Caregivers

Picture this: You’re a middle-aged worker, raising your kids and worried about your job and mortgage, and suddenly your 75-year-old mother breaks her hip. She needs your help to continue living independently, and of course you’ll rise to the challenge. But at what cost to your own financial and emotional burdens? Welcome to the caregiver challenge of 2011.

According to AARP’s report, Family Caregiving in the U.S, caregivers chip in an estimated $375 billion a year to help out a loved one financially. But the sputtering economy and tenuous employment picture have placed an added strain on family caregivers, both emotionally and financially, according to the report.

At least you’re in good company. Approximately 29% of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers. Alas, there is no safety in numbers, and just as the need is growing every year, the caregiver’s role just keeps getting tougher.

“The most important challenge [caregivers] are facing is that times are tough all over, which directly impacts the caregiver’s finances as well as their ability to assist those that they are caring for,” Paul Gada, personal financial planning director at Allsup, which represents Social Security Disability Insurance applicants, told WalletPop.

Of course managing and chipping in for the expenses of a parent or relative who can no longer go it alone is no simple feat, and will differ based on you and your family’s resources.

Also, the relationship between a caregiver and a care recipient can be a tricky one to navigate. “It can get very emotional when financial issues are involved,” Gada says.

But knowing what you need to know to tackle the finances of a loved one — as well as knowing the caregiver resources available–can help ease the burden. Gada weighs in with some tips.

1. Have ‘the Conversation’

Nobody wants to talk about when they might not be able to take care of themselves, but it’s important to have this conversation early.

First determine who will be your parents’ designated caregiver. “Decide who that person is going to be, talk to Mom and Dad and then get them on board,” Gada says.

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