Approximately 1/5 of Americans are provided unpaid care to a family member or friend. The sad fact is that while Americans are living longer, many elderly Americans require help to survive. Assisted living is expensive. Trust me, I was just looking into it. In-home help isn’t cheap either. So, most must turn to family or friends for help. These family and friends typically provide help without pay.
But what do caregivers do? Caregivers provide emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services on a daily or intermittent basis. Most family caregivers volunteer their time, without pay, to help with the physical and emotional needs of a loved one. Duties vary and may include providing personal care, feeding, toileting, dressing, bathing, carrying out medical procedures such as suctioning an injured person every hour every day, assisting with activities of daily living, and managing a household. Most caregivers spend an average of 20 hours a week providing care to their loved one even though over half of caregivers have other jobs. Caregivers are extremely important and often overlooked.
Since November is National Caregivers Month, I wanted to look at two ways caregivers need help. First, caregivers need to take care of themselves emotional. Caregivers typically give and give and they feel guilty when they take a break. But those breaks are critical for the caregiver’s emotional health. It is ok to take time for yourself. Please read this article giving caregivers suggestions on how to care for their emotional well-being. See http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/caregiver-stress.cfm for some tips on how to deal with caregiver’s stress.
Second, caregivers also tend to supplement the loved one’s income as needed. Most of our elderly are poor with mounting medical bills. Since most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck without adequate savings or retirement accounts, medical bills are one of the primary reasons for bankruptcy. Sometimes filing for bankruptcy is the best thing the elderly can do to help them survive, I would stress three things as my own advice: 1) Budget, budget, budget, 2) Look into programs that can supplement the loved one’s income like the Medicaid CBA program, and 3) Seek help if needed like bankruptcy. Even the most frugal person sometimes needs help with medical bills.
Ready to take the next step? Call 254-870-0105 or email me at [email protected] today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.