No one really likes to dwell on getting older, but the reality is it’s a future that we all face. Shifting demographic changes, with people living well past retirement and those in middle-age sandwiched between supporting adult children and aging parents, is bringing the issue into sharper focus than ever. So when it comes time to make a decision about the care of your older relatives, how do you go about finding the right option for you and the ones you love?
While many care homes for seniors provide a supportive environment, your elders may not be keen on some aspects of this arrangement and with recent abuse cases claiming the headlines, you could have found yourself needing a firm of Oklahoma City nursing home abuse attorneys.
So you may be considering taking your elder relative into your own home as an alternative. But what do you need to know?
The Cost of Caring
It may not be what you want to think of, but the costs of caring must be addressed head on, otherwise bottled up tensions about money can surface later and more dramatically. Caring for an older relative involves expense – your home may need modifications, from minor adaptations to significant building work- to make it suitable for them. On top of this, there are added costs to cover with food bills, extra heating costs and any specialist equipment that is needed. In order for any arrangement to work, an honest conversation is needed about finance. Getting independent financial advice for your relative may be key to help them get their affairs in order and work out what they can contribute to the household. Involve them in these discussions and never dictate terms – a new kind of dynamic is needed, but too many people fall into a groove of parent-child communication.
Caring and Your Career
If your relative needs a lot of support and you are working yourself, it’s important to consider the impact on your job. Caring duties may mean that you are tired and find it hard to focus, and your work performance may suffer. It may be that you need to take unexpected leave from a job as well, and while some employers build a certain amount of family leave into a contract, others can be significantly less understanding. Taking extra time off also means that you may find yourself passed over for bigger projects and opportunities for advancement. Your own retirement prospects may also suffer if you end up cutting down on your hours or even giving up work altogether, as you will lose out on a period of time when you should be saving intensely for your retirement. And should you choose to leave the workforce, you may find it next to impossible to return at the same level after an extended period of absence, when your skills will have become outdated and you are older. Consider whether you can afford some in-Home support care. This can allow you both to remain a little independent and free up more of your own time from caring duties. This option can be expansive so consider how you will afford the support, and weigh it up against the costs that may result if you don’t go down that route.