Experts tell us that almost 50 million people currently provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one in the United States. If you are one of them, your caregiving undoubtedly affects you and your immediate family in a variety of ways. To allow you to continue to provide care, you must take care of yourself first. Toward that end, the Long Island elder law attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm offer some caregiver tips to help you care for yourself while providing unpaid care to a loved one.
Providing Unpaid Care Takes a Toll on the Caregiver
You have likely been providing unpaid care to a family member or another loved one without giving any thought to how your selfless caregiving may be negatively impacting your physical and mental health as well as your finances. Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, tells us that unpaid caregiver suffer mentally, physically, and financially with about 15 percent of caregivers admitting to having at least one mentally unhealthy day and another 18 percent having at least one physically unhealthy day during the most recent month. Ultimately, your ability to continue to provide unpaid care will depend, to a large extent, on taking care of yourself first.
Caregiver Tips to Help You Continue to Provide Care
To allow you to continue to care for your loved one, you must focus on caring for yourself and on accepting help when and where it is available. With that in mind, you may find the following caregiver tips helpful:
- Take time off. Just like your vehicle needs regular maintenance and cannot run 24/7, your body and mind need a break too. Baring a true emergency, you need to schedule time off for yourself. Ideally, you should also plan a vacation for yourself and your immediate family in the near future as well.
- Accept help from family and friends. When a family member, friend, or neighbor offers to help, let them cook dinner, run errands, or sit with your loved one for a little while.
- Educate yourself on your loved one’s medical issues. A complete and thorough understanding of the medical conditions, both physical and mental, that plague your loved one will make caregiving more efficient.
- Find a caregiver support group. You need a support group that will provide you with people to talk to who are in the same situation as you are. A great way to find a local support group is through AARP.
- Make sure you have the necessary legal authority. To be able to make important decisions and provide care, you might need a financial Power of Attorney, a healthcare Power of Attorney, or even full guardianship over your loved one.
- Set boundaries. Define the parameters of the care you are willing to provide early in the process and then stick to those boundaries. It does not need to be a formal agreement but know what your boundaries are yourself.
- Get paid for caregiving. You may be entitled to payment for the care you are providing, which would undoubtedly help your financial situation. Check eligibility for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program through the New York State Department of Health.
- Ask for help. If you need help, for any reason and for anything, do not hesitate to ask for it. People cannot help if they don’t know you need help.
- Consider long-term care when caregiving becomes too much for you. Both you and your loved one may not like the idea of a long-term care facility; however, you need to accept that the need for LTC may become a reality.
Do You Have Elder Law Questions or Concerns?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have elder law questions or concerns beyond the need for caregiver tips, contact the Long Island elder law attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm by calling us at 631-265-0599 to schedule your appointment.
- How to Maximize the Benefits of Charitable Gifting in Your Estate Plan - February 14, 2024
- 2024 Medicaid Guidelines for New York Seniors - February 7, 2024
- Young Adults and the Importance of Estate Planning - January 31, 2024