A colossal challenge
Even though there are now vaccines for COVID-19 and the number of new cases is on the decline, becoming infected with the virus is still a very real possibility. For parents who become infected, it can be a colossal challenge to navigate parenting responsibilities while trying to recover from the illness. This is especially true for single parents.
Plenty of single parents have faced the same challenge and successfully recovered from COVID-19, while raising their young children. Fortunately, you can learn from their experiences, ask for support, and take steps to improve your chances for recovery. Here are a few ways single parents can prepare for and manage illness and the role as a parent.
Try not to freak out
Getting diagnosed with COVID-19 can be terrifying for anyone, but even more so for single parents with young children. Do your best not to freak out. Remember, most people who contract COVID-19 don’t experience serious complications, and many never even develop any symptoms at all.
Children who contract the virus typically fare even better than adults. And for those kids who do become sick, the symptoms are often fairly minor, with many kids just experiencing a sore throat and some diarrhea. So while it may be extremely scary to test positive, letting yourself become overly stressed is only going to make you feel worse and frighten your kids. If you do contract COVID-19 and develop symptoms that leave you ill, preparing for the illness beforehand can not only give peace of mind, but greatly improve your chances for recovery, as well as enable you to be a more effective parent. Before we get to the preparation for reducing contagion, dealing with symptoms, and other practical issues related to the virus, we’ll first address some of the legal planning you should have in place as a single parent.
Name legal guardians
As a parent of minor children, your number-one planning priority is to name legal guardians to care for your children should anything happen to you. And with the ongoing pandemic, this responsibility is even more vital and urgent.
All parents, and especially single parents, should especially appoint temporary or stand-by guardians. CLICK HERE to do that free. Here are some tips for choosing your guardian. And if you are having a difficult time deciding who to name as legal guardians for your children, we can help you make the right decision.
Officially answering the question of who will care for your kids if you can’t—even for a short time—is one of the best things you can do right now to prepare for COVID-19 or any potential illness. Taking this simple action is a real, concrete step you can take to protect your kids during this frightening time. Plus, knowing that your kids will be cared for by the people you would want looking after them in the event you require hospitalization, need to be intubated, or pass away from the virus will be a huge relief, allowing you to focus 100% on your recovery.
Create advance healthcare directives
The second-most urgent planning priority for all adults is to create your advance healthcare diretives to assist medical providers in better coordinating your care should you become hospitalized and/or incapacitated by the virus—or any other medical condition. The planning documents for this purpose are a medical power of attorney, HIPAA authorization, and a living will.
These documents work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you become incapacitated and unable to express your own wishes. What’s more, in light of COVID-19, even those who have already created these documents should revisit them to ensure they are up-to-date and address specific scenarios related to the coronavirus.
While all adults over age 18 should put these documents in place as soon as possible, if you are single, over age 60 or have a chronic underlying health condition, the need is particularly urgent. Contact us right away if you or anyone in your family needs these documents created. And keep in mind that if you become incapacitated and your child gets sick, you should also have health care directives in place for your child. These can be done with our proprietary Kids Protection Plan(R)
For an in-depth explanation of what advance directives are, how they work, and the specific details that you need to address in these documents for COVID-19, read our previous blog post or, better yet, schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session to make sure you have everything in place properly.