November 2018 — Human nature is that we don’t pay attention to things around us, until they happen to us personally. Ladies, when you were pregnant, you didn’t notice all of the pregnant women around you until you were pregnant yourself. Gentlemen, you never noticed all of the drivers with vehicle X (pick one) until you started driving one yourself. Pet lovers, you never noticed who owns breed X until you owned breed X yourself.

So until I watched my mother become my father’s caregiver, I didn’t pay much attention to the statistics related to being a caregiver. They aren’t good. She joined the ranks of the more than 65 million people in the United States who provide care for family members or friends during any given year. About 63% of caregivers pass away before the one they were providing care for dies. Then 60% of survivors often pass away within 12 months after losing the one they cared for.  Which is why November is an especially important month as it is National Family Caregiver’s Month, a time to call attention to these awful, yet often preventable, facts. 

Our natural tendency when we are a caregiver, is to put ourselves and our needs on the back burner. So we don’t take care of ourselves like we should and our dietary, sleep, social, and exercise habits all suffer. Adding stress on top of that creates the perfect recipe for a negative health event.

Part of the value of The “Before” Financial Checklist book, is that getting financially organized, or helping parents get financially organized, ideally before there are any health or caregiver situations, removes one more stressor from the situation. Thinking clearly and acting rationally during well times, is healthier for everyone in the family. Don’t wait until you are personally in a situation of need before you act on this topic. While three-fourths of adult children (75%) surveyed acknowledge that having conversations about age-related topics is the responsible thing to do, 45% said their conversations were triggered by health crises. Care for yourself and your family now, during the calm, and everyone will be thankful for your gift of thoughtful actions later, during the storm. Check out www.caregiver.org for more information.