Family stereotypes when aging loved ones need assistance: Are You A Denier Or A Know-It-All When It Comes To Long-Term Care?
About 10,000 baby boomers turn 75 each day. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that more than 70 percent of people over 65 will require long-term care services at some point. However, few people make preparations for this inevitable part of life that can drain a family both emotionally and financially. When the need for long-term care approaches the crisis level, several family members may be thrust into participation whether they are ready or not.
Family members gravitate naturally to roles that fall into certain stereotypes
In many situations, the need for care will creep up on a family. Suddenly, people realize they have assumed duties that take up more and more of their time. And, it is taking a toll on their lives. Over the years we have seen family members in this situation gravitate naturally to roles that fall into certain stereotypes:
- The Caretaker – This person provides care for the loved one at home, and without realizing it, becomes a full-time caregiver. Usually, this is a spouse or an adult child, most often a daughter.
- The Bookkeeper – This person focuses on the financial aspects. This person determines what assets or insurance policies are available to help with the costs of care.
- The Chauffeur – This family member drives the loved one to appointments, runs errands, and makes grocery runs. Additionally may drive the aging loved one to tour assisted-living facilities.
- The Guardian – This family member takes on such roles as the power of attorney or trustee, assuming the legal responsibilities within the family.
- The Denier – This person can’t accept or admit that the loved one, or they themselves, need care.
- The Know-It-All – Most annoying of all. This family member constantly questions decisions or lobs suggestions from the back bench. However, isn’t near the situation or involved hands-on.
With such a lineup, it’s easy for resentments to build. However, that needs to be avoided because the focus should be on the aging loved one. Moreover, this will help ease the transition if a decision is made to move into a nursing home or assisted-living facility.
When professional long-term care is needed
Eventually, once it’s evident professional long-term care is needed and a plan is in place to make it happen, a conversation needs to take place with the loved one who may be apprehensive or even resistant. The conversation should be handled with compassion and delicacy. Emphasize that this will this help improve their health and safety. Additionally, there will be numerous opportunities for social activities, games, art, entertainment, and great food.
The key is for the family to come together
Look for the signs that care is needed, formulate a plan, and communicate effectively with your loved ones. Make sure to change the perspective about long-term care from a negative to a safe, healthy, and enriching experience in the continuing journey of life.
With so many people affected by long-term care needs, why are people not better prepared? Listen to the Retirement Genius Podcast, The Strategies To Pay For Long-Term Care episode where I’ll discuss how people know when they’ll need long-term care and the roles family members will play when a loved one needs care in the future.