Editor’s note: This is the third in a four-part blog series on skills and knowledge that are good to have at each life stage. The other blogs are: What to Know About Money and Work By 50, 60 and 70; What to Know About Health By 50, 60 and 70 and What to Know About Living By 50, 60 and 70.
If you are taking care of a loved one, you know that your challenges change as their health changes. You may also be anticipating your own needs for care as you grow older. Here are some tips to help you get prepared:
What to Know By:
You may already be involved in caregiving for a spouse or parent. We want to provide care out of love and loyalty, but practical matters arise quickly and come to the fore.
1. Have the difficult conversations. How do your parents want to live
as they become more frail, and what plan do they have to make that happen? Finding out is key to your ability to help them.
3. Provide support.
Know how much care costs
, and also consider other kinds of support. Think about housing
, emotional support and companionship.
2. Care for yourself. Caregivers need support, too. It’s critical to find ways to take breaks and rejuvenate, especially in situations where you’ve been a caregiver for a long period of time.
1. Have another conversation.
This time, with your own children or those who will provide care for you in your older years. Think of the relief you felt when your parents expressed their wishes. Give that gift to your children
2. Learn from elders.
The number of centenarians is growing, and if your parents are among them, take lessons from the longest-lived among us
3. Use your resources. Find support
to ensure your parents have dignity and independence. Use what you’ve learned from caring for them as you make choices about your own situation in the coming decades.
By Liza Kaufman Hogan
Liza Kaufman Hogan is a senior editor for Next Avenue. She is a freelance writer, a former senior producer for CNN.com and lecturer at the Medill School of Journalism.
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