Are you caring for a loved one with a disabling condition? As Florida estate planning and elder law attorneys, we know just how challenging it can be to ensure that your loved one is protected on a daily basis. When you compound these lifetime caregiving needs by starting to contemplate a future that may not include you, we understand if you not only face decision paralysis but fear of the unknown.
Let us start by putting your mind at ease. While we may not personally understand what you are going through at this point, as every person’s situation is unique, we do understand the Florida law surrounding how you may protect yourself and your family. There are planning opportunities to ensure that your loved one with a disabling condition will be as supported as they can be.
One of the most challenging aspects of witnessing a loved one struggle with a disabling condition may be the sadness and confusion an individual experiences, often exhibited in different ways. This could be through angry outbursts and belligerence or through silence and naivety. Let us go over five tips that can help you plan for your loved one, and for yourself.
1. Plan for lifetime needs first. It can be hard to be a caregiver, even under the best of circumstances. Remind yourself that what you are witnessing may be the symptoms of his or her illness. There may be nothing you can do to change him or her, nor should you expect the behavior to change. The best thing you can do may be to utilize the following techniques to comfort him or her and keep him or her safe within the disease process.
2. Do not leave things to chance, or memory! You have many things going on. Make sure there is a detailed record of what you do, and do not do, for your loved one. From prescriptions to allergies to doctors to care needs, do not be an island. Get the support you need and make sure others have access to this information as well.
3. Keep things simple. A person experiencing disability can often be overwhelmed by the confusion of the situation. Yet at the same time, it may be a natural human tendency to jump in and try to explain in an effort to help. Breaking things down into the simplest of tasks may be the best support you can offer.
4. Assist your loved one with establishing a routine. Similar to keeping things simple, a routine can also feel safe to a person. A morning routine, regular meal times, and a daily walk are suggestions of ways to provide structure to your loved one. You can assist them in remembering a routine by creating a written schedule that can be hung on the wall or by setting timers. With the goal of retaining the dignity of your loved one, be sure to broach the subject of supportive devices, as opposed to presenting them in a paternalistic or demeaning way.
5. Get the legal planning you need to accomplish your goals. The law helping those with a disabling condition is complicated. You need an experienced Florida attorney on your side. In addition to creating the estate planning you need for both your lifetime, and the future of your loved one, you also need to have the guidance of a Florida elder law attorney who can let you know what actions could potentially remove your loved one’s access to both state and federal benefits.
Above all, be kind to yourself. Caring for another person can be a chaotic experience. It may never go perfectly, so treat yourself with the same kindness that you would treat a loved one. The fact that you are present and caring for your loved one can be the greatest source of support and comfort you can provide.
For more ways you can plan forward and help support your loved one with a disabling condition, please contact our office to schedule a time to meet.