Talk about important things now. While some topics are hard to discuss, your family member or friend might just be waiting for an opening to talk about them.
Make a plan. Use of AARP’s free Prepare to Care guide, an “all-in-one” planning kit.
Find resources. Use Minnesota’s web-based Long-term Care Choices Navigator to help you make choices and find local resources.
Ask your family member or friend to complete a Health Care Directive so their health wishes are documented.
Consider legal matters. Laws vary from state to state. It might be helpful to get advice from someone who specializes in elder law.
Know your finances.
Think ahead about how long-term care will be paid for. Options include personal income and savings, long-term care insurance, home equity options, or long-term care annuities. Most people think that Medicare will cover it all. However, Medicare pays for limited long-term care (e.g., limited time in skilled care setting or home care services).
Caregiving is not meant to be a one-person job — find support.
Form a team. Think of what needs to be done, and when, and the people who could help. A family friend might cook dinner once a month. Or, a neighbor might get groceries every week.
Get back-up. Find at least two people who will help if you are sick, you work, or you need to be away.
Hold a family meeting. Gather everyone and discuss needs and solutions. Confirm next steps. Then, follow through with decisions made. See the Minnesota Board on Aging Family Meeting brochure for information.
ALREADY A CAREGIVER?
Don’t forget to read our tips on caregiving for older adults.