Planning for Life Changes
Women wear many different hats throughout their lives, and all of them come with their own unique set of challenges. However, providing around-the-clock care for a loved one, be it a child or a senior parent, can be one of the most stressful. This is why personal self-care and preparation are so important during this time, as they provide you with the core strength — mentally and physically — to care for those who mean the most to you.
Below are some helpful resources and tips that can help you determine what sort of care your senior loved one needs.
Making The Call – When you live far away from someone, it can be difficult to assess their mental and physical well-being by phone, or even by video chat. However, if you visit an older relative and get the sense that their health or mental acuity is declining, you may want to relocate in order to ensure they are getting the care and attention they need. Some loved ones will be happy with this arrangement, while others may strive to hold on to their independence. If possible, stay in regular contact with your loved one’s primary care provider to ensure you have a good idea of what their overall health and well-being look like so you can decide the right time to take a more active approach to their well-being.
Living Options – When you decide to move closer to your loved one, you have a couple of options. You could live with them, or buy or rent a nearby home of your own. Much of this will be based on your preferences, your loved one’s health, and your budget. If you decide to buy a new home you’ll have to take out a mortgage, in which case lenders will calculate your debt-to-income ratio to determine how much you can reasonably afford to pay each month. You can do this yourself by adding up your existing monthly debt obligations and dividing them by your gross monthly income. A professional and experienced real estate agent and lender can be a big help throughout this process.
Evaluating Long-Term Housing Needs – You may find that your loved one is unable to stay in their current living environment due to physical or declining mental abilities. In this case, A Place For Mom says you’ll have to consider whether to move them in with you, help them downsize, or look at assisted-living options. Conduct your due diligence and focus on what might be the best option for them, referencing Canada’s senior care resources to find the most practical and thoughtful solution. Involve your loved one in the process as much as possible, proceeding with compassion and empathy with the recognition that moving from a familiar home will represent a major life change that can be very stressful and emotionally fraught.
Moving – Between your own move and your loved one’s potential move, you may find that you need to do some significant downsizing in terms of material possessions. You might utilize an estate sale company, an auction company, or, according to Transition Squad, sell or donate unwanted or unneeded items on your own. You may be able to hold a tag sale or find local charities that will pick up quality items at no charge. Investing in assistance in the form of movers can also be a helpful and worthwhile investment. Always read online reviews of companies, and get in-person estimates and contracts in writing before agreeing to any service.
Finding the best way to care for an aging loved one can be stressful, but it’s something many adults face at some point in their lives. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, reach out to your primary healthcare provider for a mental health referral so you can have someone help you process the emotional aspects of this journey.
Claire Wentz of caringfromafar.com
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