How to Recognize the Need to Provide Care for a Loved One

It can be very hard to watch as your loved one, who may be happy living independently, starts to decline physically, mentally, or both. You may not want to overstep or force yourself into a situation but avoiding this issue could put your loved one or someone else in harm’s way. It is natural to feel guilt or a sense of insecurity if you are thrust into a decision-making position, especially regarding the care for a parent or spouse. The big question is, how do you know when it is time? Everyone and every situation are different, but here are a few vital signs to watch out for:

Difficulty walking or unsteadiness. Do you notice your loved one holding onto things to help them steady themselves? Have they fallen or had near-falls? Your goal should be to help them avoid a situation where they fall and injure themselves or are “trapped” because they cannot get up and are home alone.

Driving becomes difficult. With age comes slower reflexes, declined mobility, and fading memory. Operating a vehicle when impaired is extremely risky, not only for your loved one but for others in the community. Your goal should be to make sure your loved one is not behind the wheel if impaired. If not for themselves, for those they might hurt if involved in an accident.

Not eating. Memory issues can create significant risks regarding cooking, including improperly using the stove or mixing up ingredients. Physical issues can create challenges for meal preparation, grocery shopping, and sanitation, leading to scenarios where your loved one could be prone to choking. Suffering from malnutrition is terrible and leads to a compromised immune system, among other serious health issues. Your goal should be to help your loved one be as healthy and as safe as possible.

Lonely and unkempt. Some people are naturally messy or, as a personal decision, do not keep good hygiene. As people age, outlive friends and loved ones, and face their own mortality, sometimes a sense of loneliness or surrender seems to take grip. If your loved one is struggling and appears to be unkempt, more so than usual, they could be suffering. This could be a sign of loneliness or some other mental or physical challenge. Regardless of the reason, your loved one can quickly spiral down to a dark place, enhancing their mental or physical decline. Do not let your loved one suffer from personal neglect. Your goal should be to help them maintain their personal dignity.

The best time to start planning for helping a loved one is before they need help while still playing the primary role in decision-making. Often, decision-making is influenced by finances and the cost of getting support. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one and feel overwhelmed by the financial aspects of helping or getting help, one of our financial planners might be able to help you. Your initial meeting is free of cost and confidential — Call 607-217-5091 to schedule.

S.E.E.D. Planning Group LLC (S.E.E.D.)is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with the Securities Exchange Commission. S.E.E.D.’s team provides investment fiduciary and financial planning services to clients. Our fees are disclosed, easy to understand, and not predicated on product sales.

Travis Maus, AIFA®, CEPA is the managing partner of S.E.E.D. Planning Group, LLC. In addition, he is also a member of the firm’s Financial Planning Team and Investment Committee. Travis holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst® (AIFA®) designation, which signifies his credentials for performing fiduciary assessments that measure how well investment fiduciaries fulfill their duties a defined standard of care. He also holds the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation. As a CEPA designee, Travis has specialized training in business Master Planning, value growth strategies, and business succession planning.