Taking care of a senior, whether due to dementia or illness, can be exhausting and stressful. Often due to the lack of outside help, a devotion to the person needing care, or the tunnel vision that can accompany exhaustion, caretakers don’t take care of themselves.
If this describes you, you must take care of yourself. Failure to do so can lead to burn out, injury or illness. If you are the caregiver, any of these results will harm your ability to care for your loved one.
Here are some steps you can take to take care of yourself and make sure you can take care of your loved one:
What is a life estate?
The term “life estate” refers to property that is owned by an individual only through the duration of his or her lifetime. Therefore, it’s always for an indefinite period of time. We usually encounter life estates when dealing with real estate. When you have a life estate, you are called the “life tenant.” For example, you can sell or give your home to your children, but retain a “life estate,” thereby reserving the right to live in, use, enjoy, and control the home until you die. Your children would be called the “remaindermen.”
My new client was recently widowed. She is healthy, living on her own in the house she shared with her husband for many decades. She is comfortable financially with significant savings in addition to the home, but by no means wealthy. Her four children all have families of their own and they and their spouses have good jobs, so they don't need her financial support.
I met with her and her son. They asked whether the mom should put her home, and perhaps some of her savings, into an irrevocable trust in order to protect them in the event she needs long-term care. She also expressed her steadfast wish to stay at home.
I recently met with a new client who commented that she lives in a NORC.
"A what?" I asked.
"A Naturally Occurring Retirement Community," she responded.
She explained that she and her neighbors in the apartment complex where she lives are all getting older. Without a lot of people moving in and out, the facility is taking on the demographics of a retirement community.