Broker Check

June Newsletter

May 30, 2019


Your Care-giving May be Super, But You Are Only Human


Many of us are now or will become a caregiver for a loved one.  In 2015, The National Alliance for Caregiving publicized “Caregiving in the U.S.”, which illustrated just how many of us are caring for an ill spouse or partner, a disabled child or an aging relative

  • Three percent or approximately 34.2 million adults in the United States have been or will be a caregiver to an adult age 50 or older.
  • Seven percent of caregivers in the U.S. are 75 years of age or older and may have health problems of their own.
  • Caregivers provide on average four years of care.
  • 49 percent say they feel they had no choice in taking on their caregiving role.

Have you wrestled with trying to figure out what type of help is available?  “Caregiver burnout” is a real concern and services can be difficult to locate.  Many caregivers become frustrated, angry and even ill due to the demands of this responsibility.  Perhaps some family members are a less- than-helpful part of the team or your care recipient is uncooperative or overly demanding.  The links listed below contain a surplus of information concerning where to turn:

Alzheimer's Association – Extensive Information and support for people with different types of dementia.

www.alz.org 

Alzheimers.gov – Information on studies and clinical trials concerning Alzheimer's and related dementias.

www.alzheimers.gov  800-272-3900 

ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center – Programs that allow caregivers to take a break.

www.archrespite.org 

Caregiver Action Network - Education for caregivers and a volunteer support network in over 40 states.

www.caregiveraction.org

Hospice Foundation of America - Information related to hospice and end-of-life care.

www.hospicefoundation.org 800-854-3402

Many factors influence the challenges of the roller coaster ride called “caregiving”. According to interviews done by the Cleveland Clinic, (an academic medical center located in Cleveland, Ohio ranked the #2 Hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report), caregivers expect their involvement will have a positive effect on the health and happiness of the patient.  This is probably unrealistic as the patient spends most of their time trying to cope with chronic illness, pain and a loss of independence.  Among other pitfalls, a lack of realistic expectations can lead to burnout.  For example, if you are an overachiever or perfectionist, you are likely to experience burnout.  Watch for the following signs that indicate you need to rebalance your priorities.

  • Isolation from friends and family.
  • Experiencing trouble sleeping and waking with overwhelming exhaustion.
  • Being overwhelmed with negative thoughts.

Caregiver burnout is caused by the many demands of the job and this stress can have dangerous consequences. If you experience depression, then it is time to call in support and it’s time to act to reduce your burnout. 

  • First things first, assemble your team: health care professionals, family members, close friends and neighbors who may be helping with the responsibilities. Invite them to this initial conversation - include your care recipient, assuming they are physically or mentally able to participate. This is especially important if the person is in the very early stages of an illness like dementia. You want to involve them in any kind of estate planning while they can still make decisions.  You may also want to call in a third-party mediator or social worker to help run the conversation; particularly if you think there might be any disagreements.
  • Set reasonable expectations for yourself and others. It may be that your siblings don’t do things exactly like you do when helping with your care recipient. Unless someone is putting your loved one at risk for injury, let their way be good enough. People will be more inclined to help when they don’t feel they are being criticized for how they complete tasks.
  • Remember, you can’t do everything! Keep a list handy so when family and friends ask how they can help, you can give them a specific task to complete.  
  • Use a site like CaringBridge (caringbridge.org) to communicate with everyone at once.

Intelligent Investment Management can recommend some simple actions you can take to protect your managed portfolio and provide peace of mind.  A “trusted contact” can be added to a TD Ameritrade account, this can aid in communication with TD Ameritrade Institutional when you might need someone to speak for you.  Duplicate statements can be sent to a family member or executor. Also, beneficiaries should be reviewed periodically as a result of changing circumstances.  TD Ameritrade Institutional also offers certain protections against unauthorized distributions from investment accounts. 

  • A verbal identification interview is conducted when an account owner calls in to request account changes or distributions.
  • If distributions or account changes are requested via paperwork, signature verification is completed.

As caregivers, be on the lookout for unusual activity on credit cards and investment accounts, including unauthorized transfers of money.  In the case of the elderly, one very effective protection is to place a “freeze” on their credit.  This is easily done by calling the three major credit reporting agencies. 

  • Equifax: (866) 349-5191
  • TransUnion: (800) 916-8800
  • Experian: (888) 397-3742

They will freeze their credit and assign a PIN that can be used to “thaw” their credit.  By and large, when you freeze a credit report, you are stopping any personal data from being reported to lenders and creditors. Thus, if a fraudster would try to use a Social Security number to apply for a credit card, that application would be rejected, as the bank would be unable to verify the credit score.  Although this protection is very effective, do not discontinue checking credit card activity on monthly statements.

Please do not hesitate to call our office, James and Steve can discuss saving for future needs and I am available to help you with any account changes that might be required.

Sincerely,

Intelligent Investment Management, LLP

Laura Vaughan, FPQP®