What Do We Do If Dad’s Caregiver Dies?

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A caregiving spouse dies, and their adult children are left unaware of their surviving parent’s needs and how to meet them.

Older adults are also in a vulnerable position because their lives depend on continued care. This is why it only makes sense to plan for a successor in caregiving. However, family caregivers are many times so involved with juggling daily caregiving duties with other responsibilities, that they don’t think of this.

Seniors Matter’s recent article entitled “Who takes over when a caregiver dies?” says that planning for succession is an essential part of planning for the future that’s frequently neglected. If you don’t have a succession plan in place, it’s okay because it doesn’t have to be formal. You can write one in a notebook today. Just be sure you do it.

  1. Name a backup caregiver. Have a family meeting and select someone to be the secondary caregiver, so that this person will take over if the caregiver dies.
  2. List daily caregiving duties. Sometimes caregivers don’t realize all the things they do for the person, so list the details of day-to-day living.

This can be divided into three categories: safety, basic necessities and personal hygiene. It should include detailed answers to these types of questions:

  • Can they bathe and clean up after using the toilet or issues with incontinence?
  • Do they follow a strict diet?
  • What are the foods they can and cannot eat?
  • Do they have a medical diagnosis?
  • Do they take prescription medications?
  • What is their activity level?

It should also be made known if they need 24/7 care and state other special needs they may have, such as requiring assistance with activities of daily living.

  1. Keep an updated list of their medical conditions. If a care recipient has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can come with a set of issues because of memory impairment and consequent behavioral changes. A person’s language, personal hygiene and ability to socialize and communicate can be affected and gradually become worse as the disease progresses.

Describe which ability is lost, what the person needs help with, their emotional state of mind and the most challenging behavior you must deal with.

It’s also important to summarize caregiving do’s and don’ts for that person, detail any triggers that might provoke an intense reaction from them and warn the caregiver to avoid those types of situations.

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Reference: Seniors Matter (Feb. 18, 2022) “Who takes over when a caregiver dies?”