Falling ill can be disruptive to anyone’s life; however, if you also have young children to look after, it can be a real nightmare. Who will look after them? What about their school and activity schedule? All this needs to be considered, as well as your health. Here are our thoughts on how the family can cope when a parent falls ill.
Can the Children be Looked After?
Every family needs to have a back-up plan for times when something happens that requires a parent to seek alternative childcare arrangements. This isn’t just useful for circumstances where illness occurs, and it could be a family bereavement or work emergency. No matter the reason, it is crucial to be able to have someone you can call on to help.
Who Else is Around?
The first thought is usually to the extended family, such as parents, aunts, and uncles. But not everyone has this type of support just around the corner, and you don’t want to be traveling hundreds of miles to get help in an emergency. Many people will have a reciprocal set-up where they will look after your kids in such a circumstance, and they yours.
Hospital & Medical Issues
If you have to have any serious treatment required, then there are various things to consider surrounding this. Do you allow younger kids to visit you if you are seriously ill? Many parents find this too stressful and upsetting, and this is a personal decision only you can make. Also, ensure you have your medical insurance sorted. Even if you are only on Medicare, there are top-up insurance plans that can cover many of the little out-of-pocket expenses not included. This website has some useful info on how to take out this type of policy.
Work & Income
If you are lucky enough to have a job that will fully support you by paying your salary while side-lined by a lengthy injury, unfortunately, for the rest of us, you will need to do some harsh financial assessment on household finances. Check your income changes, and create an income vs. outgoings spreadsheet; this will enable you to calculate how much is needed in terms of savings for the period you are likely to be out.
Your kids’ schooling is not going to stop just because you are more limited in your parental role. You may need to find a friend to help with lifts to school or get a taxi if it is affordable, and some specialist taxi firms have cars set up for children. You might need to ask your partner to do more of the help with, and checking of, homework.
If this situation turns out to be long term, then you need to plan accordingly. You may be entitled to disability benefits, so make you at least explore that option. Relationships will need to adapt,and you will need more support from your partner and be sensitive to the stress this will put on them.