Written for Caregivers of Loved Ones
by Ryan Reck, Woods Law Office Attorney
Here are a few words of encouragement for relatives who are caregivers, decision-makers, errand runners, and financial managers for their loved ones:
I often tell people when they come in that I wouldn’t know ANYTHING about this stuff if I didn’t do it for a living and that’s true. You don’t learn how to navigate the final few stages of life in law school. There is no playbook. So many factors come into play that makes every situation unique: your loved one’s personality, physical or mental ailments, financial situation, your own life, and responsibilities (spouse, kids, career, etc.).
I don’t have anything groundbreaking to offer anyone who is currently in this situation, but please know that you’re far from alone. Our country has come a long way, but also has a way to go in how we care for our elderly. And, unfortunately, this leaves the bulk of the work to you, the working daughter or son trying to raise your own family, the spouse or the sibling trying to manage your own limitations and ailments and take care of your loved one. And you know what? For most of you, you’re doing a great job. Better than anyone else could. Don’t take on this challenge alone, though, please. You don’t have to. Include other willing and able loved ones in the process (talking about your kids, Mom, and Dad). Share this responsibility when you can, but also, please don’t assume you have to spend every dollar before you seek help.
There are a lot of resources out there and you never know what benefits your loved one may qualify for now, or at least down the road. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with an attorney or perhaps get an evaluation from a geriatric care specialist. At worst, you’ll be reassured that you’re handling things perfectly. At best, you might find out your loved one qualifies for extra assistance which improves and prolongs their quality of life and allows you to take on your more intended role: that of a loving relative.