Reprinted from the Washington Post Carolyn Hax column
On Abruptly Facing An Elderly Relative’s Need For Care
I sometimes supplement my income by senior-sitting those in need of temporary help. Recently, a family offered me a position to live 24/7 in their mother’s home as her aide, caregiver, housekeeper, cook, laundress, hairdresser, chauffeur, med-tech, and personal care provider. The “terms” (their word) were: free room and board, two full weekends off each month, most holidays off and a “stipend” (their word) of $100 a week.
Essentially, they want the Care Fairy to come see to their mother and the house, and will give the Care Fairy a weekly allowance for the privilege. This family is desperate, of course. They have slipped right on over into the fantasy world between Denial and Magical Thinking, unable to grasp the situation upon them. So, I did not overreact when I said no thank you. I was polite, but they were stupefied that I was not interested.
Adults in the sandwich generation: This is your future. The time to talk about it is now, not the day after “something happens”. You might not have a legal right to see your parent’s financials, but you have the moral right to ask to be part of their advance planning and directives. Do it before feelings are hurt and tempers flare, and before you later offend or insult every friend, neighbor, acquaintance, or extended-family member in your search for help.
Long-Term Care is a lot of work. It is expensive to hire it done, but many adult children cannot afford to leave their work and families to provide for loved ones. LTC insurance is the least expensive and best way to address this problem, if you look into obtaining it while healthy and preferably below age 55. You pay dollars and get thousands of dollars later when care is needed. For those who do not plan in advance, there are still ways to help – even if already spending down to Medicaid. You can try to figure this all out yourself, or come see an expert who can help. Your choice.
For more information contact www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com