What if the Caregiver Dies First?
As unpleasant as it may sound, as a caregiver you need to consider the possibility that you could die or become incapacitated, leaving the person you are caring for, helpless. Part of being a caregiver requires that you make plans for someone to take over should something happen to you. These plans should include legal, financial and alternative care options as well as access to information about the needs of your loved one, such as medical records and so on.
Have a contact list of all the people who you have been dealing with about your loved one, and keep a file with bank access information, funeral arrangements if they’ve been made, possible long-term care facilities that you’ve investigated, insurance information and doctors. Think about the things you know, such as the alarm code, where a will is located, what bank accounts exist, even the veterinarian if your loved one has a pet, and put all this information in a file, and make sure your attorney has a copy of it in the event something should happen to you.
Keep the file up to date with things that seem insignificant to you, such as a local church that provides rides to a facility for social events or even grocery shopping. Perhaps there’s a mobile dentist or hair dresser. All of these contacts are important and necessary to keep caregiving on an even keel for your loved one even if you are not around.
Planning ahead for the unimaginable makes it more manageable if it does happen. And knowing that you’ve prepared should give you comfort since you’ve shown tremendous care in your caring.