Caregiving: The Toughest Job on Earth?

In many states, the number of people 60 and over is expected to double in the coming years. Not only that, those 60-plus-ers will be living longer, too. This means the number of family caregivers they’ll need will double.

I tell my clients that, if they know of a tougher, more demanding, more emotionally-draining – and more thankless – job than being a caregiver, I’d like to hear about it.

As they reach their mid-70’s, nearly half the population will experience physical problems that may result in limited mobility, or limited ability to care for themselves. And they’re going to need help.

In most cases – up to 80% – this help comes from family members, directly or indirectly (paying for it). And it can include anything from assistance with housekeeping, finances, meals, and bathing to dressing, shopping, and transportation.

Caregiving can end up leaving the caregiver a physical and emotional wreck, as well. And it can result in depression, anxiety, loneliness, and illness.

That’s why it’s important for family members to work as a team, and to develop a plan to help out the main caregiver. Without an occasional break, the caregiver herself is in danger of breaking. And family relationships are in danger of unraveling.

To avoid these problems, I always encourage family members to develop a long-term strategy and a list of tasks divided into time, money, and labor categories, so that everyone shares the caregiving responsibility. I also encourage regular family meetings, (by phone if necessary), to discuss their loved one’s condition, or to renegotiate caregiving responsibilities as needed.

If not done right, caregiving can tear a family apart. It’s a tricky minefield. But we can help.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we practice Elder Law – and only Elder Law. And over the past 34 years, we’ve walked thousands of South Florida families through the caregiving process. And we’ve helped prepare them for the Elder Journey, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.

We can answer your caregiving questions. And we can walk your family through the Elder Journey.

We’re just a phone call away.

Posted in Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos

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