You’ve got a full plate between the day-to-day care of your loved one and trying to manage your own life, and it seems as though you’ll never find the time to plan for your future. From saving for a future vacation day to planning your financial future, it might seem like many critical aspects of your life are falling by the wayside. If any of that sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. These financial tips can help you better prepare for any financial obligations you or your senior might face — and thus reduce some of that caregiver stress.
Talk with Your Senior About Money
Discussions about money tend to be uncomfortable for most people, but it’s important to sit down with your loved ones and talk about their assets, liabilities, insurance, retirement savings, and legal documents. Getting an accurate picture of your loved ones’ financial situations will help you determine which options are available if, in the future, they need help beyond what you can provide. You may realize that hiring some help a few hours a week (for tasks such as light housekeeping) might be a feasible way to ease your obligations. You may also discover that your loved ones need additional life insurance, or that they need long-term care insurance to ensure they have a safety net in case long-term care in a facility is ever required.
Seek Financial Counsel for Your Senior
Once you have a better grasp on your loved ones’ financial details consult a professional financial planner. Be aware that a free financial planner might be more interested in commission than in giving you unbiased advice, so paying for counseling on money matters might be your best option. Professionals can point you to strategies that protect your loved one’s assets if he should have to apply for Medicaid, for example, and explain how assets may be liquidated if that happens.
Seek Legal Counsel for Your Senior
A will isn’t just important for delegating material assets — assigning a medical and legal power of attorney is crucial should someone else need to take over decision-making on health and finances. Getting everything in writing and legally designating a power of attorney can ease tensions down the road, particularly if you have multiple siblings, and planning in advance allows your senior to make sure that a designated decision maker understands her wishes.
Once your senior’s documentation is in order, keep all legal, financial, and medical documents together in one designated place, whether it be a file or a drawer, where everything can be easily located.
Don’t Forget Yourself
While you’re overseeing your senior’s finances, don’t forget to look after your own — these financial tips apply to you as well! Also make sure to take advantage of benefits such as employer 401(k) plans, life insurance, and long-term care insurance. If your employer doesn’t offer the latter, you can usually get the best deals on long-term care policies while you’re in your 50s — so plan well in advance.
With a little planning, finances can be one area that is more predictable for you as a caregiver — easing your stress and granting you some much-needed peace of mind.
Peace of mind can alleviate caregiver role strain, and a medical alert device can help. You and your senior loved one can both rest easier knowing that you can summon help at any time, simply with the push of a button.