Caregiving is expensive. One way to avoid financial hardship is to establish a budget based on household and medical necessities as you begin planning care. When the need for caregiving becomes a reality, take time to look over all your financial needs and the possible resources available to help with medical expenses because caregiving is expensive.
Deciding What You Need When Planning Care
When starting as a caregiver, deciding what you need when planning care for your family member seems like a daunting task. Certain needs are obvious. If your family member uses a wheelchair, you need a wheelchair ramp to navigate the steps. The tricky part is figuring out how to get what you need and what to do with it after you have it.
Entering a New Culture
When you become a caregiver, you discover a new culture when you become part of the community of persons with disabilities. People with disabilities have their own language, social customs, laws, regulations, processes, merchandise, etc. Eventually, it will become second nature to you, but at first, the healthcare providers and insurance agents sound like they speak a foreign language.
One frustration often encountered is that the abled world seems to design structures to imply that persons with disabilities all have the same limitations. Furthermore, since the limitations are the same and not shared by the rest of the population, it makes sense that their product needs are separate from similar items of the non-disabled. In many stores, items for persons with disabilities are located in one area and provided in limited quantities and sizes. To find these special products, look for signs proclaiming products that are “Accessible” or “Adaptive.” “Functional” and “inclusive” fashion labels are also becoming popular terms used for identification. Caution! Items labeled as “accessible,” whether clothing or equipment, are often more expensive than similar products. If you can adapt an item yourself, it may be worth the savings to your purse strings.
One of the best ways to approach planning care is to break down processes into categories. Think about everything that needs to be done for your family member. Try assigning those items to eight separate topics. (See topics below) Working through these eight topics can help clarify what you need to do or eliminate. Sometimes seeing it written out before you can help you decide if a “demand” you feel is real or self-imposed.
- Develop a plan of care based on completing a thorough health needs assessment.
- Identify equipment needs.
- Learn essential skills you need to work smarter, not harder.
- Learn about the healthcare system your family member uses, your community resources, and the best way to interact with each.
- If your family member cannot move without help, identify potential safety risks and how you can reduce or prevent them from occurring.
- Caregiving is expensive. Plan a budget and identify financial resources and risks associated with your family member’s care requirements.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan for you and your family member.
- Create a plan to care for yourself and provide coverage if you become unavailable to provide care.