A recent AARP survey found that about one in five Americans are caregivers. This role is often associated with parenting. But, it could mean caring for other dependents, like elderly parents, too.
The survey revealed that care giving is on the rise across all racial and ethnic groups. We can thank a longer life expectancy and massive baby boomer population for that!
Are you currently providing care to your aging parents? Or, are you expecting to join this statistic soon? If so, then it’s important to know what to expect. Read on to learn four things to consider while acting as a care giver for your loved ones.
1. Physical Limitations
As your parents age, you’ve likely noticed their physical health declining. This natural process is difficult to accept, but it’s inevitable.
You need to consider this factor before caring for your parents. What are their medical needs? Do they need daily medications or oxygen treatments? Do they have mobility issues?
Depending on their needs, they may need more help than you can give. They may need constant supervision like provided at assisted living homes.
Your parents likely worked hard their whole lives. It’s not easy to go from financial independence to an inability to provide for yourself. Keep that in mind as you consider your parent’s financial status.
Often, aging adults rely on benefits like Social Security and Medicare. They may have saved up for retirement, or they may have other sources of income. Despite that, they may still need your help.
If you help your parents financially, then you could be eligible for tax benefits. Research elder care tax deductions and be sure to document them on your taxes.
3. The Possibility of Mental Decline
Have your parents become more absent-minded lately? You need to be aware of the possibility of mental decline as your parents get older.
This concern can be a huge safety risk if your parents aren’t monitored. One day, they might attempt to go to the store only to forget where they are!
4. Your Mental Health
It’s honorable to hold your elderly family members in high regard. What’s not wise, though, is to over-extend yourself.
You might already have overwhelming obligations to consider. Do you have small children? Do you have a full-time job? Do you travel often for work?
You’ll have to decide whether sacrificing other responsibilities is something you can do.
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. That means you must consider your own mental health before caring for your parents. If you don’t feel like you can take care of your parents, then there are other options available.
Giving Your Elderly Parents the Best Care Possible
Caring for your elderly parents is a long-term commitment. It takes dedication, sacrifice, and hard work. That’s why you need to consider the above four factors before taking on such a big responsibility.
Remember, help is available if you need it.
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