Many baby boomers are at the point in their lives where their children have moved out, and their parents are moving in. Maybe one parent died, maybe Mom never purchased a long-term care policy and is beginning to need help with day-to-day tasks, or maybe Dad is starting to be forgetful. Whatever your family’s current situation is as a caregiver, know that you are not alone. There are many hardships people usually expect when becoming a caretaker for a loved one, such as helping with dressing, doling out medications or adding grab bars to the shower. There are equally as many hardships people do not expect, and LTC Consumer has compiled five of those items here.
Utilities Going Up – A Lot
When my grandmother got sick, she initially went to the hospital, then a short stay at a rehabilitation facility, and eventually she moved in with my aunt and uncle. Grandma had to be on oxygen full time, and that machine requires 24-hour electricity, 7 days a week. Grandma also couldn’t get too cold or too hot because older people have a harder time regulating their body temperature. So, where my aunt would have just thrown on a sweatshirt, now they had to maintain their heat during the winter. When my uncle may have just opened a window, now they had to have an air conditioning unit brought in during the summer. Not that they minded in the least bit, but all these things add up in the end.
Losing Privacy and Control
If you can afford other people such as nurses and bath attendants to help care for your loved one, it will help tremendously. It will also mean there are a lot of new people in your home. Not to mention all the visits from family, friends, and neighbors. My aunt had a plant in this adorable little teacup and every person who came to care for or visit Grandma would water this plant, so eventually it died. Each person was simply trying to help, but I believe the loss of control over even the simplest things such as watering plants wore on my aunt after a while. She had all sorts of people getting her mail for her, looking in her refrigerator, and walking through her house. Again, no one was snoopy or malicious in any way, they were all there in support of Grandma, but it’s another layer of stress.
Using Up Sick & Vacation Days
If you had children, you know all about using your sick days to care for your ill child. You never expect to use them for your parent though, or your spouse’s parent. However, unless someone else can take your loved one, you will be their primary mode of transportation. Your sick days will go toward doctor’s appointments, evaluations, physical therapy, and more. I cherish my vacation days and sometimes I think the best part of a trip is the planning and excitement beforehand. If you’re a caretaker, you may not have any vacations for a few years.
“Our personal homes are not built like facilities meant to take a higher volume of traffic.”
Wear and Tear on your Home
If you live in a standard home with normal hallways and doorways and furniture, and then have a walker or wheelchair start rolling through, you’ll most likely notice a few dings in the walls, on the molding, and along the doorways. An influx of visitors, nurses, and rehab specialists will wear your carpets thinner, faster. If your loved one has difficulty eating or with continence, your flooring could become stained. Any sort of extra people or use is going to age your home faster. Our personal homes are not built like facilities meant to take a higher volume of traffic.
Say Goodbye to Modesty
I remember the first time my aunt asked me to “babysit” my grandmother so she could run some errands. My aunt had only been gone a few minutes, when Grandma motioned that she needed to use the restroom. My mind immediately started racing. Would she need help sitting? Pulling down her garments? Uhhh… post cleanup? Pulling garments up? I barely remember seeing my grandmother in a tank top or shorts, let alone those extremely personal areas. Lucky for me once she was walked into the restroom, she was able to handle “business” on her own. My aunts and cousin got much more familiar, however, and if you’re going to be a caretaker for a parent you probably will too.
“Being a caretaker for anyone is one of the hardest jobs out there. It’s physically, emotionally, and financially draining. When that person is a parent, there’s a whole other level of emotions involved.”
Being a caretaker for anyone is one of the hardest jobs out there. It’s physically, emotionally, and financially draining. When that person is a parent, there’s a whole other level of emotions involved. Being prepared for some of these things may hopefully make your experience a bit easier. At LTC Consumer we help families prepare for their post retirement years. We create a plan so that your family and friends can enjoy their time with you, while someone else does the caretaking. Request a quote and let our team of specialists help you and your loved ones today.