Taking on the responsibility of elder care is not for the faint-hearted. Before you agreed to it, you probably knew it wasn’t going to be all roses. But the realities you need to deal with may include some things you never expected and you might end up facing some dilemmas you’re not sure how to cope with.
Nevertheless, as the primary carer for another human being who can’t take care of him or herself any longer, you need to be ready to face them. Be prepared for these three contingencies before they arise, and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to ensure positive outcomes.
1. Elder Financial Abuse is Real – Know How to Deal With It
While you’re interested in the health and wellbeing of your charge, it’s a regrettable truth that some folks might see an elder as a target for financial abuse. In essence, this means taking advantage of elders for financial gain at the cost of the victim’s welfare.
Shocking as this may seem, it’s often the “nearest and dearest” who take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. At other times, unscrupulous sales people could be punting bad investments and unnecessary insurance deals, playing on the elder’s fears and hopes. Whether you are a family member or a paid carer witnessing the harm caused to your patient, there’s no need to stand by idly.
If you suspect that the person you’re caring for is facing financial abuse, you should consult an elder abuse financial lawyer for advice. Whether the elder you’re caring for recognizes the abuse or not, he or she deserves protection and fair treatment.
2. Getting Elders Into The Modern Way of Doing Business is Hard: Be Ready for Opposition to Online Convenience
For most of us, surfing the web, dealing with internet banking, and doing business with investment houses and insurers online may seem like second nature. For elders, it’s still scary, unknown territory. No matter how often you present the facts, and in what terms you do so, getting grandpa to go online to transact business is going to be a tall order.
There are lots of ways to deal with this. For some elders, guiding them through the step-by step process, and teaching them how to harness the power of their smartphones is all it takes. But for the especially frail, there’s a big fear-factor. Sure, they shouldn’t be trekking all over town from office to office just to do basics, but the fear of the unknown (and therefore scary) internet is even greater.
Cope with it by offering to do their business yourself, get a trusted family member to handle transactions, or suggest a subsidiary bank account that only carries as much in terms of funds as the elder is willing to “risk” as a go-to business banking option.
3. Elders Are Usually Good at Keeping Important Documents… Somewhere
One area where elders beat youngsters almost every time is in the preservation of hard-copy documents. Unfortunately, storage systems may be rather haphazard. From wills kept in refrigerators to drawers stuffed with crazy mish-mash of essential and non-essential documents, finding important papers can be a challenge.
Luckily, getting papers in order is something that will resonate with our elder generation. Involve your charge in sorting through paperwork to find basics like house deeds, investment certificates, car papers, wills, and recent bank statements and receipts. The job will take longer than you expected and you will probably have to listen to a few “interesting” anecdotes along the way, but with a little patience, you can file essential documents in a logical way.
Since your charge is nearing the end of his or her life, easy access to these documents will make the business of winding up estates easier when the time comes. Prior to that, you’ll be in a position to find essential paperwork that smooths the process of doing business on behalf of an elder considerably.
Know That What You’re Doing is Both Honorable And an Honor
Taking care of elders is no easy task. It takes patience, kindness, and a great deal of altruism. There will be days when you feel as if it is a thankless task. Elders can be grumpy and difficult, family members who have no idea of what you’re going through will be quick with criticisms and slow to assist. Keep a cool head. In taking care of your elders, you are honoring both them and yourself. So, when the going gets tough, just remind yourself that what you’re doing is right, and maybe, you’ll be lucky enough for someone to do the same for you one day.