In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many adults made the tough decision to care for an aging relative. Some found themselves unable to afford senior care while others made the call due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and senior living facilities. Though becoming a caretaker was believed to be the best choice amid a national health crisis, many were unprepared for the added responsibilities.
Caretakers are responsible for the daily physical, mental, and social needs of seniors. From managing existing health problems and assisting with daily functions to affording their living expenses and safeguarding them from the coronavirus, it takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to ensure they’re okay. Adding to the stress of this new role are the personal issues that have derived from the pandemic.
If the pressures of caring for an aging loved one during a pandemic are starting to weigh on your emotional and physical well-being, here are some solutions to make the transition more manageable.
Assign a Designated Space
Having an elderly relative move into your home is hard on everyone. They have to adjust to being away from familiar surroundings while you and your family must adapt to having an additional person in the house. As everyone is home more often, a full house can quickly become a problem. You can resolve the matter by assigning a designated space for mom and dad (or other relatives).
If you have a finished basement, den, or spare room in the house, create a comfortable living space for them. Ensure they have things like a bed, seating area, and television. Add some decor and personal items to make them feel more at home. Lastly, make any improvements to ensure their health and safety like installing lights, grab bars, and removing loose carpeting and clutter to avoid accidents.
Develop a Financial Plan
Adding another person to your household will increase your monthly expenses. Developing a financial plan ensures that you don’t become overwhelmed. Talk with your elderly relative to determine what their income and expenses are. Eliminate unnecessary costs and do some research to find ways to save on things they need.
For example, they won’t need to pay for internet, cable, phone, or streaming services since they’re living with you. On the other hand, since health insurance costs are high for seniors, you should turn to resources like Health.com’s reviews of best Medicare Advantage Plans to find quality yet affordable coverage.
After assessing your relative’s finances, consider how it will impact yours. If they have more bills than income, you’ll have to cover the overages. If not, you will still need to account for higher utilities and groceries. If you need assistance, there are federal and local programs to help families struggling amid the pandemic.
You’re only one person. Trying to take on too much has serious consequences. That’s why you should ask for help. Your children, significant other, siblings, and extended family members can assist you with caring for your aging relative. From transporting them to medical appointments and prepping meals for the week to helping with household chores and keeping them company, you can assign tasks to take a load off your shoulders.
As your household dynamics have changed, creating a new routine that includes your aging relatives is advised. Break your day up into morning, afternoon, and evening blocks. Then, list all of your daily tasks. Place the tasks in order of importance and time of completion. Be sure to include time for self-care, meals, and family time. Use calendars, charts, and productivity applications to keep everything in order.
Deciding to care for elderly relatives during a national pandemic may have been the only way to safeguard the health and wellness of your loved ones. Adjusting to the many changes and responsibilities of being a caretaker is nothing short of stressful. Make the transition easier to manage by using the advice discussed above.