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. And for parents who become infected, it can be a colossal challenge to navigate your typical parenting responsibilities, while trying to recover from the illness.
This is especially true for single parents who are the sole caregiver, with limited outside child-care options. That said, 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. With this in mind, here in this series, we’ll outline ways single parents can prepare for and manage your illness and your role as a parent.
Getting diagnosed with COVID-19 can be terrifying for anyone, but even more so for single parents with young children. But 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.
Not to mention, children who do 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.
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.
Name legal guardians for your kids: Go to this free website right now to name guardians for your children in a legal document, and then have your legal document reviewed by us, as your local Personal Family Lawyer®. When we review your legal document (or your will if you already have one), we will look for six common mistakes parents make when naming legal guardians to ensure you haven’t made any of these errors and can easily fix any mistakes you may have made.
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 the proper legal documents 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 and a living will.
A medical power of attorney and living will are both advance healthcare directives that 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 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.
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, COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives.
Next week, in part two of this series, we’ll discuss measures that single parents diagnosed with COVID-19 can take to reduce passing the virus on to your children as well as outlining steps for enhancing your ability to recover from the illness.
Proper estate planning can keep your family out of conflict, out of court, and out of the public eye. If you’re ready to create a comprehensive estate plan, contact us to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session. Even if you already have a plan in place, we will review it and help you bring it up to date to avoid heartache for your family. Schedule online today.