Thursday, November 12, 2009

caregiver mortality: what if?

Statistics clutter the internet. 30% of caregivers die before those they are caring for. Spouse Caregivers are at 63% greater risk of death than non-caregivers. Family caregivers have been shown to age prematurely, as much as 10 years off a life.

More important … what about the surviving person of need?

Successful caregiving situations are as unique as the people involved. Loss of a caregiver is no statistic it is the unraveling of the fabric of living and caring. 

In our story, we learned you have to plan for the worst. Of course hope, but plan while you can. Talk about when, how, what, why and who will step in.

We began to talk about and develop a ‘best of possible’ plan for Patti. 

Homecare was never an Alamo for Patti. Patti did not want our daughter to have to sacrifice her life as her home caregiver. Past experiments with home care helpers had always ended poorly. Other family or friend options were not 24/7 dependable. 

We began to look at care facility options from independent living communities through nursing homes. 

Assisted living seemed ideal but after visiting we learned it was not an option for Patti’s level of Multiple Sclerosis progression. 

To replace my level of home caregiving necessitated a 24/7 nursing home level facility. 

We kept discovering there was so much to compare and consider. God help families that have to do this under immediate need conditions.

A family caregiver is an economic godsend. Paying to replace their services is astronomical.

Financial and Estate Planning became a MUST. 

Before cognition became an issue of competency we met with a lawyer and Patti assigned me durable general power of attorney. We additionally established secondary people so transition would be seamless should something suddenly happen to me.

Financial planning, special needs trusts, etc are not only critical but can ONLY be done in advance.

No one can predict, but anyone can plan. 

Do you know how your story would unfold, if … ?

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
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  1. Patrick, you're right. We *so* need to do this! We took care of the legal stuff and the financial planning (as best we could) when I was first diagnosed. That part was easy. It's a lot harder to figure out what we would do if Scarecrow couldn't take care of me. And even when he *can*, he could use some help, and he really deserves a break. We *need* to do this. We really need to do this. Thanks for the nudge.

  2. as always, Patrick; great advice given and points to take into consideration; very wise that you thought about it earlier than later; interesting statistics about care givers aging prematurely; I can definitely see that with the level of commitment and 24/7 care they often give

    (love the bull behind you guys, but it looks like it has udders??????)


  3. Patrick,
    You have won your angel wings already for your service to your wife and to the rest of us in the MS community. Profound thanks.

  4. Something everyone should think about. Good reminder


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