Taking care of seniors is not an easy job by any standard, and those who take up such a role deserve immense appreciation. The one highlight of being in a caregiver’s role is perhaps the knowledge that your company means a lot to a person. A 2015 study found that approximately 34.2 million people in the US provided unpaid care to the elderly. However, since it can be quite taxing both mentally and physically, it is important to get organized and plan things so you don’t end up feeling burnt out. Here are a few tips and lifehacks on how you can start the year off right.
Get Your Finances under Control
It is important to pay attention to finances, both for yourself and the senior in your care so that there are no nasty surprises.
- Take a good look at your parent’s /elder’s financial situation
With advancing age comes a lot of expenses of hospital bills, medication, and so on. Take some time to assess the situation—take into account the health of the senior, current savings, and possible expenses for the future. Get the help of a professional if needed to plan the best way to use these savings so that there is money at hand for emergencies. Also, organize and keep the person’s important documents in order, like insurance policies, power of attorney, deed to their home, birth certificate, etc. so that things become easier at the bank and hospital.
- Create a budget
Whether you are caregiving for your elderly parents or someone else, you need to know that caregiving requires money. So make a budget so that you can alter your lifestyle and financial decisions according to the expenses—which will help in managing the finances for both parties.
- Find out about public benefits
There are several government and public services that offer low-cost benefits for seniors, which can be extremely helpful for caregivers struggling to juggle everything. Eldercare locator is one such service. You can explore other such options and plan accordingly for a smoother caregiving experience.
- Think about your own retirement plan
Since caregiving involves expenses and it may even be an unpaid job for those taking care of relatives, it is vital that you plan your own finances. Create a retirement plan for yourself based on your earnings, expenses, and financial implications of caregiving so that you do not have to stress about it later.
Balancing Work, Caregiving, and Personal Life
When you are a caregiver, you need to juggle multiple roles and it may get quite stressful if caregiving affects your personal life or work. So here are some tips on how to manage and thus make it a more rewarding experience:
- Get organized at work
Although it may be difficult at times, try to avoid doing caregiving-related work when you are at the office. Use lunch breaks to make calls, etc. so that your work is not hampered. Moreover, find out whether your company has some policy or benefits for caregivers.
- Plan ahead
You are with your entire team for an important meeting, when you realize that you need to take the senior to the doctor—things like this can be a major cause of frustration. Planning ahead for chores, doctor’s appointments, and basically setting a routine can help you manage both roles efficiently with minimal overlap. Also, do not forget to set apart some ‘me’ time or with friends and family.
- Know that it is okay to ask for help
Even the best of caregivers need help at times, so do not overburden yourself. Seek professional help or ask relatives and neighbors to step in if you find things getting out of control. Support groups for caregivers can also do a lot of good.
Caregiving for an elderly person can be as challenging as it is meaningful. Knowing how to balance the many needs of the person in your care, juggling your work and personal life, and setting your finances in order will make this job even more rewarding by reducing stress and strengthening your bond with the senior.