Friday Five: Aging and Caregiving

| By Casa de la Luz

1. “Caring for elderly parents” is another great article reflecting on our nation of family caregivers. It highlights the challenges family caregivers face, though it doesn’t offer many solutions to caregivers. This is more of an educational read, to understand what family caregivers are up against, as so many of them provide care to children and aging parents, many of whom are living longer than expected. A few resources are listed at the end of the article, but we’d encourage family caregivers to use those as a starting point.

2. We came across an interesting column entitled “How do you want to die?” in a recent issue of The Week. There’s an emphasis in this article about the cost of care at end of life, which may not be the kindest way to look at this issue, but it is still a part of the overall debate in this country. In the end, though, we agree with all three of Bill Frist’s points about what to include in the end of life care conversation Tell us if you agree.

3. The website Medicare Made Clear has a great collection of online videos, including this one about planning for the end of life. Take five minutes to watch this video, and then start thinking about what you want the end of your life to look like. Who do you want providing care for you, or making decisions for you if you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions?

4. This topic has been addressed in other articles, and the New York Times does a good job discussing it here. The article, “Childless and aging? Time to designate a caregiver,” paints a picture of what it looks like for adults who are single and aging, and lacking the family to help support them as they grow older. We encourage single adults to take the time to reach out to members of their community, to meet your neighbors, to outline your wishes as you grow older and share them with someone you trust.

5. Support groups can be an opportunity for individuals to connect with others who are in similar situations. Caregivers may find it helpful to share problems with other caregivers, and family caregivers may be able to learn from each other how to handle caregiving issues. For family caregivers in the Pima County area, the Pima Council on Aging has a caregiver support group for each side of town. They are free to attend, and open to people caring for individuals aged 60 or older.

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