Are you the caregiver for an elderly loved one with a disabling condition? Is your elderly loved one disabled by multiple sclerosis? As Ohio estate planning and elder law attorneys, we know the challenges you encounter to ensure that your disabled loved one is protected on a daily basis. Are you concerned that with this commitment to a lifetime of caregiving that something may happen to you? What type of planning should you do?

We would like to help you with your planning questions and assure you that your loved one with a disabling condition will be as supported as they can be. Even though we may not personally understand what you are going through, as every person’s situation is unique, we do understand the Ohio laws surrounding how you may protect yourself and your family.

The daily witnessing of a loved one struggling with a disabling condition which may bring on sadness, confusion, anger or silence, to name a few, is one of the most challenging aspects of daily caregiving.

Here are five tips that may help you with planning for your disabled loved one, and yourself:

1. Never leave things to chance or memory!

As a caregiver, you have a lot going on. Be sure to keep a detailed record of what you do, and do not do, for your disabled loved one and for your family who are helping to support you. Your records should include everything from prescriptions to allergies to doctors to care needs. No one can help you if they do not know what you do, so get the support you need and make sure others have access to your planning and information as well.

2. Always keep things simple.

Your disabled loved one may often be overwhelmed by his or her disability and the confusion of the situation. Therefore, it may be a natural human tendency to jump in and try to explain in an effort to help. Instead, breaking things down into the simplest of tasks may be the best support you can offer.

3. Establish a routine for you and your loved one.

Just like keeping things simple, a routine can also help a person feel safe. A morning routine, regular meal times and a daily walk are suggestions of ways to provide structure to your disabled loved one. Provide ways to help your loved one remember the routine. You can create a written schedule that can hang on the wall or set timers.

4. Always be supportive.

Has your aging loved one reached a time where there is a need for devices that will improve his or her physical functioning? For example, with multiple sclerosis, there may be a need for a wheelchair. If the answer is yes, the goal is to enable your loved one to retain his or her dignity as you talk about the devices and their use, always talking and discussing in a supportive manner. Do not present these devices in a paternalistic or demeaning way.

5. Get the legal planning you need.

Most importantly, get the legal planning you need to accomplish your goals and the goals for your disabled loved one. The law helping those with a disabling condition is complicated. You need an experienced Ohio attorney on your side. In addition to creating the estate planning you need for both your lifetime, and the future of your loved one, you also need to have the guidance of an Ohio elder law attorney who can let you know what actions could potentially remove your loved one’s access to both state and federal benefits.

As your loved one’s caregiver try to always be kind to yourself. Caring for another person can be a challenging experience. There may be days that do not always go perfectly, but that is okay. Remember to treat yourself with the same kindness that you treat your disabled loved one. The fact that you are with your loved one and caring for him or her can be the greatest source of support and comfort you can provide.

For more ways you can plan forward and help support your loved one with a disabling condition, please contact our law practice to schedule a time to meet.