Looking to the Future: A Guide for Caregivers

Special thanks to our friend Sharon Wagner of SeniorFriendly for contributing this exclusive article for our Bridgeway readers!

When you’re taking care of a loved one, every moment matters. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have a plan for the future. Often, in-home caregiving situations have an expiration date. Needs grow too specific or complicated, nursing starts to get expensive, or caregivers become exhausted. It’s hard enough to come to realize you’re no longer able to give your loved one the care they need; it’s even more difficult if you don’t have a plan for how to move forward.

There are many things to consider when it comes to making long-term plans for your loved one. Here’s a look at a few of the different aspects to keep in mind so that your loved one’s future is clear and as secure as possible.

Plan Your Finances

 Caregivers often worry they won’t be able to afford their loved one’s long-term care. It’s a valid concern as medical treatment and daily care can be wildly expensive, and going without is not an option. Making a plan now to secure your finances in the future will help offload some of that stress and anxiety. Make sure you or your loved one regularly contribute to a savings account that you’ll have on hand in the event of an emergency. This will help cushion the blow if something unexpected suddenly comes up.

If you’re caring for an aging parent or other older adult family member, you may want to consider selling their home to create a liquid nest egg for funding care. Before you commit to this, take some time to investigate the market and make sure it’s a feasible plan. Getting a sense for local trends will help you know whether or not now is the time to sell. For example, Oceanport homes have been fetching $650K on average. Remember, however, that the COVID-19 crisis is currently affecting the real estate market. You may want to consider holding onto the property until the dust has cleared to save energy marketing a home you might struggle to sell.

Consider the Options

 If you already know your loved one is likely to reach a point where you can no longer give them the care they need, start researching the assisted living options available in your area. It will be much easier to evaluate the options before you actually need them, since the pressure is off to find one quickly. You don’t want to wind up rushed into choosing a facility you’re not comfortable with or haven’t properly vetted.

Focus on finding a facility that offers the kind of care your loved one needs. For example, if your loved one is facing dementia, it’s important that you choose a facility that offers memory care. Consider asking your loved one’s doctor for a list of questions you can ask while touring the local options, as well as what kind of answers to look for. This empowers you to make informed decisions for your loved one’s long-term care. Keep in mind that assisted living in New Jersey can be costly, averaging out at $5,725 per month.

Have a Conversation

Sit down with your loved one and have a conversation about the long-term plan for their care. An honest, open discussion may be difficult, but it’s important to be as transparent as possible. They may be angry, sad, or even embarrassed by the topic. However, approaching the conversation earlier allows everyone to navigate their feelings without pressure. It also gives you a chance to get their input. Your loved one may even surprise you. Some seniors are excited to move into assisted living, since they know that the extra care will help make them as comfortable and independent as possible.

By coming up with a plan for your loved one’s long-term care, you ensure that they’ll be safe, happy, and well cared for. In doing so, you give them the gift of a secure future. Make sure you have the financial matters in hand and you’ve researched the options thoroughly so you can make a thoughtful choice for your loved one’s future.