A growing proportion of Millenials will have to care for an ageing parent before they’ve had a chance to see their own goals to fruition. If you’re in this situation, how do you manage the challenges of giving your parents the care they deserve without sacrificing your career? They used to change your diapers, after all.
These tips will help you strike a balance.
Get On Top of The Care Budget
Specialized care costs money. Even if your parents have saved for retirement, they may or may not have saved adequately for the level of healthcare they need. Personal finance can be a sensitive topic for a child to ask their parent about. Even so, it is important that you establish early on how much of their care they will be able to pay for themselves, so you and your siblings can get plans in motion to make up the shortfall.
Ask your parents—delicately—about their financial situation, ideally before they start to need continuous care. No need to get the ledger out and start balancing the books during this initial conversation. Raising the issue for the first time will prepare the way for more in-depth, constructive conversations down the line.
Retirement financial woes are quite common. If you want to avoid them, you need to plan ahead. A reverse mortgage is one thing you might plan for that can help you increase your available cash when you retire without the hassles of a standard home loan. There are several positive and negative aspects of a reverse-mortgage to think about before you cement that plan. For example, a reverse mortgage is a long-term loan that requires you to keep your home for many years. On the plus side, it allows you to avoid fully paying the loan until you leave the home. Therefore, you are free to spend funds with no immediate worries, unlike a standard mortgage, which requires strictly-scheduled repayment.
Hire Good Helpers
If you drop by your parents every day to check on them or help with chores—and worrying about them keeps you up at night—you are not doing your career any favours.
Time to stop taking sole responsibility. If the budget allows, employ someone to drop in regularly. Whether it’s care or companionship they need, a regular visit from a care professional will take the load off your shoulders and give you peace of mind.
Once you start to look into home care options, you will be amazed by what’s out there. Depending on the level of assistance your parents need, everything from personal shopping to alzheimer’s care can be arranged.
Make Your Visits Count
If you’re busy with work, the guilt you feel about not spending enough time with your parents is wasted energy. Just because you can’t visit every day does not mean that you can’t spend quality time with your parents. The key is regular visits, and a ban on medical talk.
If you visit regularly, your parents will always have your next visit to look forward to, rather than wondering if you’re going to come. When you visit, resist the urge to do chores around the place or quiz your parents about their health. If you’ve hired skilled carers to check up on them, don’t double up on this work. When you sit down for a cup of tea with your parents, make it clear that you are visiting because you want to spend time with them and enjoy their company, not because you are worried about them, or feel obliged to check in.
It is important to do this, so your parents know you still see them as people, not as old and frail. One great way to show that your visits are for pleasure not duty is to pursue a hobby or craft with your parent. Whether it’s knitting or making things for the home, crafting is a great way to spend time together.
If your parents are getting to the stage in life when they’re starting to need care, this does not have to spell disaster for your personal goals. With a little organisation and forward planning, you will be able to give your parents the time and attention they need without sacrificing your career ambitions.