Being that it’s the New Year and everyone is talking about their goals and desires, it’s the perfect time to have the talk. Don’t let the opportunity slip by to discuss your parents’ expectations, should illness arrive. Find out if they have advance directives – documents that spell out what treatment they would and would not want during a life-threatening health crisis. Make sure you establish who has power of attorney, should they need someone to make important decisions.
While it may be tempting to drop certain commitments and handle all of the caregiving needs alone, it can sometimes have devastating effects on an adult child professionally, personally, and financially. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more caregivers are hospitalized due to burnout and stress-related illness than from worsening medical conditions, simply because they tend to put themselves last.
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Your first instinct as a child may be to drop everything and handle all your parents’ needs yourself. But if it comes at the cost of your own career, think about the ripple effects – on your retirement savings, on the needs of your own kids, even on your own sanity.
Denver financial planner Kristi Sullivan recommends hiring a case manager to do the heavy lifting. ”For an hourly fee, these people can handle tasks quickly that it might take you hours to do….” (Click here for more.)