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Deciding to take on the responsibility of being a caregiver for an aging loved one is a big decision. For some people in Kansas City, recognizing that their parents cared for them while they were young makes them feel responsible for caring for their parents in their old age. This is often a decision that is made out of love and respect. However, caregiving is a big responsibility, so it is important to understand what to expect before taking on such a role.

First of all, there are financial costs associated with caregiving. According to one 2014 survey, the caregiving costs for 46 percent of caregivers were at least $5,000 a year. Moreover, one 2015 report stated that 20 percent of caregivers responded that caregiving caused them financial strain. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to consider how they will pay for the expenses of caregiving.

In addition, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with your loved one about what kind of care he or she wants. For example, would he or she prefer to stay in his or her home or would he or she prefer to stay in a care facility, such as an elderly community?

Moreover, any agreements made should be documented legally. For example, durable powers of attorney, one for medical decisions and one for financial decisions, should be entered into, in order to give someone decision-making authority if a loved one no longer has the mental capacity to do so. In addition, a living will can contain a loved one’s wishes regarding what, if any, medical care he or she wants if there is a terminal condition and the individual can no longer communicate.

Caregiving is a noble act, but one that a person should give careful thought to prior to taking on that role. Many important decisions need to be made with regards to care planning, in order to ensure that the caregiver is not overburdened and that his or her loved one is getting the proper care and assistance he or she needs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Preparing To Become a Caregiver,” Nathaniel Sillin, Sept. 9, 2016