I picked up a magazine as I was waiting for Lynn to have an MRI last week and read an article entitled, “What happens if the caregiver gets sick?” It caught my eye because I’ve allowed that question to surface just on the edge of my consciousness several times but each time it comes, I rationalize that I’ll handle it when the time comes and move on. I realized, however, when I read that article that I really need to do something other than just assume it will all be okay.
The article commented on two different scenarios–what if the caregiver got sick and what if she died. I had thought about what if I got sick…Lynn’s care would be taken over by our family members, right? But then I got to thinking, “what if I was rushed to the hospital and didn’t have time to get everything set up for them in advance? What then?”
Wow, that’s scary to think about. Lynn could not go in the ambulance. Who would come to stay with him? There is no one close by but there are people whom he could call to come. But if something happened to me, emotionally he would fall apart and I’m not sure he would know what to do. Let’s assume I was incapacitated and could not communicate for a while. No one knows what medications to give him when. My daughter is a nurse and could cath him but what if he needed more supplies, plus she works full time so she could not stay with him? The children are vaguely familiar with Home Health, but not who to call. Thinking about all that, I realized I really need to develop a plan in writing that communicates the what, when, who, where, and how to make sure someone could take over in case I’m not around.
Then what if I died? Lynn says, if I die, he will too, just from depression and giving up and I think that might just be true for him. He would be so depressed, that he would become non-functional. Therefore, not only would he need care but he would be in no shape to help anyone figure out what he needed.
I realize I need to get our wills updated. We had them wills when the children were little but we need to update that now that they are grown. Lynn would not be able to figure out who to contact related to life insurance and forget him probating a will…he would not be capable. So, we need to find a lawyer to re-write the will who will also agree to probate the will and get our affairs settled. I also need to write out all our information for our family to use.
This stuff is not fun to think about but it’s really as important as what I do for him every day. I put it off because I think I will have time tomorrow, or next week, or next month and besides I’m healthy. But what has health got to do with it? Just this month, I have known of two deaths of healthy people my age or younger from unexpected events. It happens and we do not always have time to prepare.
So my New Year’s resolution (a little late but at least I’m thinking of it now) is to get our affairs in order. As with all things, it will be up to me to do this and even though it’s one more thing to handle, it’s something I really need to do. I dread it though. It’s going to take a lot of time and thought and I had just rather avoid doing anything I can put off that is not essential. But this is..essential, I mean, and I have to make myself do this both for my own peace of mind and for Lynn’s safety. Ugh….
1 thought on “What happens when the caregiver gets sick?”
It might help to think of this as something you are doing for when you have an emergency and for when you need a break. We all need breaks sometime and I think you need to plan for yourself at least once a month. Give yourself an afternoon shopping or at the movies. That way instead of planning for something awful you will be planning for something fun.