Single and Caregiving: Protect Your Finanicial Future

March 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment

Divorced, widowed never married, a 20 or 30 or 50 something caregiver…being single and caregiving poses a few unique problems. For one thing, it’s all up to you and this sense of responsibility and isolation can really get to you. Your family members might expect you to be the one to sign up for the job–after all, you have no kids or spouse.

You may feel obligated, especially if you’re the only child or grandchild. Everyone, including you may think it’s a good idea financially to move in–only you may find yourself trapped, unable to date, go out with friends. What began as a way to help out those you love may have turned into a situation you wonder how you’ll ever get out of. 

The price of caregiving can effect your health and your finances.  

national study on women and caregiving found some startling work related issues:  

  • 33% of working women decreased work hours
  • 29% passed up a job promotion, training or assignment
  • 22% took a leave of absence
  • 20% switched from full-time to part-time employment
  • 16% quit their jobs
  • 13% retired early

Caregivers cope. We love fierce and long, and that’s to be admired. Oftentimes, single caregiver have to work–there is no other choice, but their caregiving responsibilities can put their jobs and financial security at risk. If we put ourselves at risk–financially or health-wise who do we expect to care for us? 

Simple Ways to Protect Your Financial Future: 

  • Educate yourself about finances. Get some books from the library containing sound financial advice, listen to audio books in your car and visit websites that help you orgaznize and keep track of your finances. Take pride in knowing where your money is going.
  • Refuse to be the family’s easy-fix. While you may seem to have free time, you are not obligated to be a loved one’s soul caregiver. Look out for your own future and demand family involvement.
  • Don’t take your frustrations out on your loved one who needs caring for–not if they’re not the ones demanding your 24/7 devotion. Don’t complain to them. Go to the ones who can help make a difference.
  • Utlize your community elder-care resources. Check on Meals on Wheels, ask your church, your Council on Aging. Ask for help. Accept that help, even when they don’t do things your way.
  • Make noise. If you feel “dumped” on, then speak up. Call a family meeting and inform them what you can–and can’t do. Don’t fall for guilt trips. Make wise decisions for yourself.
  • Find a co-caregiver. One person in your family should feel your dilemma. Befriend that person and begin to brainstorm together for solutions.
  • Look and plan ahead. Invest in a 401K. Have an emergency savings. Save for a vacation. Work on short-term and long-term goals. No one will look out for your future but you.
  • Value your health and your well-being.  Walk every day. Don’t neglect your friends. Do what you can to care for your loved one and there will be times of sacrifice, but resist living every moment for someone else’s care–it’s a well you can’t fill.
  • You’re going to have to live with the fact that you can’t do it all. You have to place yourself high on the priority list. Refuse to be bullied or guilted into caregiving. Do what you can, what you know is right, and let go of the rest.

Hopefully you have many more decades to live. If you haven’t planned and saved for those decades, how will you live? As cold-hearted as it sounds, it’s your responsibility to protect your health and financial future. No one can do that for you. Being single and caregiving  means you might have to work even a little harder to maintain your boundaries.

Imagine yourself at 75…what does your future look like? It starts today.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: .

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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