The month of November is known as National Family Caregiver month and we want to recognize all the wonderful things that caregivers do. Family caregivers provide care of their spouses, parents and/or grandparents. They also provide love and support to these individuals. Typically, they are not trained and sometimes have full time jobs and families of their own. Most of them have been thrown into a stressful role with the best of intentions but usually with no other help and no playbook to guide them.
Family caregivers help with activities of daily living (known as ADLs) and also provide much needed companionship to a person who may have very little contact with the outside world. Their care consists of help with bathing, toileting, grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry services, paying bills, going to doctor’s appointments, med management and cooking meals. Without this help, their loved one would not be able to continue to live independently on their own.
But all of this comes at a heavy price for the caregiver and it comes in the form of caregiver stress. We see a lot of it in our interactions with families.
As a law firm, we don’t always know who the next client will be or what the client will need outside the scope of estate planning. Lately we seem to have a flurry of clients who are caregivers and are burnt out and exhaustion is apparent. These clients want to keep their loved one out of a nursing home but are risking their own health and well-being in order to do it.
It is difficult to face the decline in our loved ones’ physical and mental health. The importance of preparation and getting a reliable support system for the caregiver is crucial. There are more resources available to help families than most people realize.
If you are caring for someone with Dementia or some other illness, reach out to someone in the aging care network such as a social worker, a visiting nurse, your local Council on Aging or by contacting us. We have many community resources that we can help connect you to. There is no reason to do this all by yourself. Remember, you can’t care for your loved one if you become ill yourself. Call us if we can help.
©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375. This article is for illustration purposes only. This handout does not constitute legal advice. There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article. DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this handout. Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney. Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.