Was your New Year resolution to get organized and take better care of you and your loved one? How is that going? If you’re on track, CONGRATULATIONS! If not, it is not too late.
An estimated 80 percent of people will give up on their resolutions by February. But as a caregiver- you can’t afford to. Sandwych has some advice to help make it easy for you and your loved one reach your goals this year!
We know it’s never easy to talk about money with others, but it’s critical. A part of this discussion should include finding out where your loved one’s funds are located, how much is available, and who has access to it. Make sure somebody other than them has a signature on file so they can access accounts.
Now is also a good time to collect other important financial paperwork like tax returns, pension documents, property titles/deeds and information about any outstanding loans or debts. We recommend storing everything on something that is portable, shareable, and easy to maintain and update.
Once you have a complete financial picture, work together to create a monthly budget with expenses and income listed.
An estimated 33% of older U.S. adults visit at least five different doctors each year; about 50% of people over the age of seventy take up to five different medications a day. That’s why it’s so important to know about your loved ones’ current medical conditions including allergies or previous surgeries. Create a full contact list of all healthcare providers they visit as well as medications and instructions for taking them.
Now is also a great time to discuss your loved one’s wishes for medical treatment. Secure the necessary paperwork, such as a medical power of attorney and advanced health care directive, in order to ensure their wishes are carried out.
We all know legal documents can be overwhelming, but they are a must have for every caregiver. These are the most common documents you’ll want to be able to access easily during your caregiving journey.
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate and/or divorce records
- Social Security card
- Driver’s license
- Life Insurance policies
- Will and Testament
- End of life instruction
- Durable & medical power of attorney
As a caregiver, one of the best things you can do with your loved one is help them plan the year. Setting realistic goals early on and working with them to make measurable progress towards them can keep them mentally healthy by keeping them motivated and productive. The goals can be something simple like reading an entire book in a month or maybe something more social like having coffee with a friend once a week. The priorities don’t need to be overwhelming, just little things that will help your loved one stay engaged and productive. Keep the list in a visible place and check off each goal as it is accomplished.
Take Care of You!
The last but the most important tip is taking care of yourself. The emotional and physical demands involved with caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. Block some time each day for you to do whatever you want. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to care for anyone else.
Set realistic goals for what you can do and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get connected and learn about caregiving resources in your community. Help with transportation, shopping, meal delivery or housekeeping may be available.
Finally- join the SandwYch community. We guide caregivers through the healthcare maze with knowledge, tools, and support. We’ve brought together advocates and experts in care coordination, social work resources, and mental health support to help you create the most fulfilling experience possible.