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What to Know About Caregiving By 50, 60, 70

Essential tips for taking care of loved ones as they age

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:

Age 50

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.

You’ve probably heard about what caregiving costs and pondered whether you will need to or be able to help your parents financially. Here are a few more things you may want to know about caregiving by the time you are 50.
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.
2. Get involved. Advocate for your parents and work for changes you want to see. For instance, would a change in social policy allow for a better nursing home experience for your mom or dad? Should workplaces better support caregivers?
3. Provide support. Know how much care costs, and also consider other kinds of support. Think about housing, emotional support and companionship.
Age 60
1. Consider new ways of living. Knowing what your parents went through can provide motivation for planning ahead for how you want to live, whether that’s aging in place or finding like-minded people with whom to form a community.
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.
3. Be protective. Elder fraud and abuse is on the rise. Educate yourself about what could happen and keep a watchful eye out for problems.
Age 70 
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.


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