Family Caregivers and Finances - Part 1: Elements to Consider as a Caregiver

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Approaching a difficult conversation never really becomes an easy task to execute. Especially when it involves a subject as sensitive and emotional as money. However, there are some ways that you can prepare yourself for this conversation and elements that you should consider before you impulsively initiate a well-intentioned discussion. After all, most of us haven’t experienced the same upbringing as our parents have and for that reason, we may have very differing views on finances and how to handle them, specifically when it comes to the later stages of life as it concerns financial planning.

So what are some points you need to consider as you prepare for the inevitable “what if” discussion with an aging loved one? 

Overall Well-Being of Loved One

What’s the current physical, mental and emotional state of your loved one? Is Alzheimer’s or dementia a factor? What kind of triggers do you need to be aware of when initiating this conversation? How can you prepare for adverse reactions to your talk? The long and short, be sure to anticipate questions and come armed with potential solutions.

Living Arrangements

Determine whether or not your aging loved one needs full-time care. Would leaving your job to move in with your aging loved one be a realistic option? Consider how the prospect of not working will impact your personal finances and future before you give up what you have in order to assume a level of responsibility that could compromise your own financial situation.

Sibling Rivalry

Are you co-caring for your parents or aging loved ones with siblings or other family members? What will their thoughts be if you choose to assume the primary care role and what types of financial obligations may affect their involvement? Would your siblings be okay with you using your parent’s / parents’ money to care for yourself in the event that this does become your full-time job?

Decision-Making

How will you work with your siblings to decide how money is spent? Who will be in control of the finances? Is this truly going to be a team effort or does it have the potential to explode and cause a major family rift? What can you do to prevent the latter from happening? Can responsibilities be divided?

Self-Care

Are you in this alone or do you have a familial support system that will enable you to take breaks to care for yourself? This is a demanding responsibility that requires you to allow time for yourself to breathe, regroup and obtain the rest you need in order to be an effective caregiver. Visit our self-care post for more tips on this subject.

Here's a helpful financial planning resource that can help get you started. If you’ve already experienced this taxing type of talk, what are some factors you can share with the rest of our community?

Stay tuned for part 2 in this series for tips on where to begin and how to actually navigate this talk.

CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.