Most people understand that it’s helpful to plan for the future. But when it comes to caring for an aging relative, many families don’t have a plan until there is a problem.
Lack of planning doesn’t mean a lack of commitment. Families often avoid discussions about the future because they don’t want to think about changes in the lives of the people they love most.
Think a caregiving crisis won’t happen in your family? Today, 30 million households are providing care for an adult over the age of 50 – and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years. For many of us, our lives will include caring for an aging parent or relative. And as the nation grows older, the need for care giving will be as common as the need for child care.
So, if you have not yet begun to discuss a caregiving plan with your family, it’s not too late. It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation. What really matters is that every family has the opportunity to talk about creating a caregiving plan for their loved ones based on the needs and wishes of those who will be receiving the care.
The AARP Foundation has developed a guide to help you and other family members discuss and create a caregiving plan for yourself, aging parent, other relative, close friend or neighbor. Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families has five steps including information on how to get started, questions to ask, and where to find basic resources:
Step 1: Prepare to Talk
Step 2: Form Your Team
Step 3: Assess Needs
Step 4: Make a Plan
Step 5: Take Action
The Prepare to Care planning guide also includes forms that you and your caregiving team can fill out and keep on file, so you will have in one place all the pertinent information about your loved one and his/her financial affairs, health needs, household matters, and more. Print out and complete one or all of the forms:
- General Needs Assessment
- Personal Information Form
- Home Maintenance Form
- Health Checklist
- Transportation Checklist
- Financial Checklist
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t answer every question or fill in every blank. And don’t think you have to do it all at once. The important thing is to start – and continue – the conversation in a way that works for you and your family.
Someone will depend where you spend the rest of your life. Make sure it’s you. Sign AARP New Hampshire’s Long-Term Care Petition.
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