Most people like to help others, and many people make promises to their loved ones that they will be there for them, to take care of them. But exactly what does that entail? Does it mean coordinating or personally administering services? Either situation is an intense, time-consuming, and stressful job. Before committing, you should self-assess. Consider the following:

Financial: Many people providing care for a loved one, especially a parent, will experience a negative financial impact, such as missing work, leaving their employment altogether, or feeling obligated to spend their own resources to help. Have you and your family properly addressed the potential financial burden? Can you realistically afford it?

Physical: People who need care are very likely to need help physically. They might need someone to lean on to steady themselves when they walk, someone to lift them up or catch them as they fall. They might also need someone to go up and downstairs for them, carry things, or move items around in their home. Caregivers tend to put their loved ones first, so compounding the physical challenge for most caregivers is their tendency to get less sleep or rest, eat poorly (whatever is easy or fast), miss out on exercise routines, and all of the physical ailments that can be caused by high stress. Are you physically prepared to provide care to your loved one? What are your limitations?

Emotion and Patience: Providing or coordinating care for a loved one can create an intense amount of stress. Stress can inflict a great amount of damage to a person’s individual health. It can also cause hypersensitivity with emotions that can easily lead to low patience or frustration, causing people to do or say things they might regret, that they wouldn’t normally do or say under less stressful situations. How do you truly feel about the situation? Is it overwhelming? If you do feel overwhelmed, do you have a plan to manage the stress?

Attentiveness and Dependability: Those who need care can’t always wait for you to be available and don’t always communicate the best. They will need undivided attention for a myriad of issues at inconvenient times. You need to be prepared to put your life on hold for an indefinite time period. Are you available and fully committed?

The challenge that anyone who is providing or coordinating care for a loved one faces is that they must balance long-term competing issues. You must consider your loved one’s needs, your own needs, and the needs of others who depend on you. To this end, you have to realize that there are boundaries to anyone’s capabilities, and it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help for the benefit of your loved one’s and yourself. Remember, you let people down when you don’t ask for help, and something goes wrong, not when you ask for help in an effort to do everything you can for everyone involved. While you may be focused on the immediate days, weeks or even months, it is easy to overlook the possibility of needing to provide or coordinate care for years. Most people cannot effectively maintain their own wellbeing while providing a high level of care for another for a prolonged time period without some form of assistance, and you won’t be able to be keep your promises to take care of your loved one’s if you don’t take care of yourself as well.

The best time to start planning for helping a loved one is before they need help, while they are still able to play 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. 


Travis Maus is the managing partner and a wealth manager at S.E.E.D. Planning Group, LLC. He earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst® (AIFA®) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies®, the standards-setting body for Fi360. The AIFA designation signifies the ability to perform fiduciary assessments measuring how well investment fiduciaries are fulfilling their duties to a defined standard of care. As a wealth manager, he is also a member of the firm’s Financial Planning team where he provides coordinated and strategic financial planning and investment services to families and small businesses.

 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.