3 Challenges Facing Seniors Caring for Disabled Children

Often when you think of the future and caregiving responsibilities, many people imagine an adult caring for their aging parent. However there is another common caregiving relationship: the parent and disabled child.

When you are blessed with a child in your life and learn that they aren't exactly like every other kid in the neighborhood, it doesn't matter much because of the immense love within your family. Even as the years go by, you wouldn't trade the experience for anything because of the appreciation you have for the little things in life.

But what happens when you begin to slow down, become less capable of the full time, constant care your child needs? And what will happen when you are no longer there to care for your child?

These questions and many more are at the forefront of every aging parent's mind when thinking of the future of their child. There are many disabilities requiring full time care in which children live very long, rich lives. The three main challenges that seniors face in caring for their disabled children are planning for the future in which care will be provided when they are gone, financial planning to include your family's fiscal health, and the physical care required as they age for both their children and themselves.

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Planning for the Future

Thinking about the coming years of your adult child's life, when you won't be there to give them the love and care you have for their entire lives, can be a frightening thought. You think no one can care for your child the way you have devoted your life to ensuring they have led the best life possible, filled with love, fun, social engagements, right down to the daily tasks of feeding and dressing them. There will come a time when you will no longer be there, and someone else will fill your role as caregiver.

Working with a company that offers in-home care can offer your child the continuity necessary to keep their lives as they know it intact. Making a plan now, while you are still here, is critical to ensure a smooth transition. It will also give you time to search out the best fit for your child and your family's financial capabilities.

Financial Planning

As a full time caregiver who reaches the retirement age, you start thinking about social security, and figuring out a budget for you and your family that will work for years to come. When you consider the future, what kind of care you will need as you age, on top of what your child will need for the years beyond your life, are all factors must be taken into consideration and planned for.

Meeting with a retirement planner or financial adviser is highly recommended. They can help you create a plan that will keep the lifestyle you and your family are accustomed to living for the years to come. With so many uncertainties, saving is just as important as investing. Find out what are the best ways for you to earn a return on any dollar invested, and keep an emergency fund for your child, just in case.

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Physical Demands

Even without injury or impairments, as we age our bodies slow down and become less strong. For many, this is just all part of the aging process, but for someone with a disabled child who needs to be fed, clothed, washed, and cared for every day, it can gradually become impossible without help.

When you have your financial planner review, include a budget for an in-home nurse or some other type of additional help with your child. Working with in-home caregivers will give you the opportunity to oversee the care and still be a major part of your child's health and well-being.

Be careful not to overdo it yourself, because that can lead to injury and to you needing additional care as well. It is difficult when you have spent a lifetime doing all the things needed to care for your child, no matter how physically demanding. Self-awareness (knowing your limitations) is imperative to ensure your health and the continued care of your child.

Seniors are living longer than ever, and they say 70 is the new 60, which means you have a whole lot of wonderful life left to live. Plan well and know your limits, and you will have peace of mind through your golden years, spending it caring for your family without worrying about what the future holds.   

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