When a parent enters the phase of life where they need caregiving, it takes an army to ensure everything is in place. There are doctors, therapists, financial issues, daily tasks to takeover, decisions to be made; it all becomes overwhelming very quickly.
Caregiving requires a little bit from everyone around the person in need. But most of all, they rely on their family for support.
If the person has adult children, much of the work falls onto their shoulders. One may provide one on one care, while another may handle phone calls and financial situations from afar. Sibling talk, confer, make decisions together, and sometimes fight. Oh, the fights. It breaks some families apart.
But what about an only? Only children don’t have another sibling to rely on. The welfare of mom or dad rests entirely on their shoulders. Well …
Not exactly. Only children are often very resourceful. Only children are used to being onlies. Which means they’re often better prepared to meet situations head-on.
Onlies are never alone
Only children learn early to reach out to their community for what they need. They ask aunts and uncles and cousins for help. They aren’t afraid to bring a friend into their confidence. If you’re an only, continue that spirit as you take on a caregiving role. Realize early that you can’t do everything, nor should you. Now is the time to build your team. The more support you can bring in early, the more on top of everything you’ll be throughout this process.
Create a plan
Firstborn and only children have a lot in common. They have higher IQs, are more likely to be high achieving, and in general are more successful than siblings born second or third. And as most successful people know, the key to their success is by creating and sticking to a plan.
Caregiving is no different. The more you plan for it, the easier it will be as you enter that phase of your life. If you’re worried about mom or dad, don’t wait for the next step; act now. Start building your roadmap to ensure you do things in the most efficient manner. And if you can get input from your parents, all the better. Collect all documentation: account information, legal documents, insurance coverage, assets. If your parents haven’t created wills, legal wills, and power of attorneys, contact a lawyer and start drafting the different documents you’ll need. It makes the process easier when challenges come your way.
Always be looking for resources
Throughout the caregiving process, you’ll meet all kinds of people. And every one of them has the potential to offer a wealth of information. Never let the opportunity pass without asking a question.
- What would you recommend I do …?
- What’s the best way to approach …?
- Is there anything else I should know about …?
- What would you do?
You’ll be surprised at what’s available to you if you simply ask. Not only does it provide you with strength in numbers, but it also allows you to provide more care for yourself. And as the sole care provider for your parents, you’ll cherish that “you” time even more when you realize your parents are receiving the best care possible.