The new year always makes me think
about starting fresh and making plans for the future. What should my “caregiver
resolutions” be? Jolene, 59
I’m so glad you asked this question. Too often, we’re
caught unprepared when it comes to caring for others, let alone ourselves.
Planning ahead can greatly alleviate the financial, emotional, even physical
toll of caregiving and aging. Here are my suggestions:
for a crisis. Don’t wait till an emergency hits. Choose a hospital
in advance, create a emergency chain of communication, and put critical
documents together in a handy place, including insurance cards, allergy
information, a list of current medications, and legal documents like DNR orders
and living wills.
about caregiving now. Talking about finances, legal issues, and
other caregiving topics can be tricky – but you just can’t tiptoe
around these issues. Communicate in a direct, positive manner, and always make
sure you’re taking your loved one’s feelings and opinions into
your home safe. This is a good idea for all of us as we age. Create
a safer living environment with a few easy steps, from adding grab bars in the
shower to simply increasing the wattage of light bulbs throughout the home. For
room-by-room tips, download my free home safety guide at www.MedicalAlert.com.
long-term. 3 out of 4 of every us will need expensive long-term
health care services like assisted living, nursing homes, and the like –
and are not prepared to pay for it. Take time now to consider your and your
loved ones’ health risks, research the local cost of care, and educate
yourself on options like long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages,
government programs, and more.
Good luck, and happy new year!
Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, PhD) is
the author of \"Elder Care Made Easier\" and has over 40 years of
experience as a geriatric care manager, caregiver, speaker, and expert in all
things elder care. She offers practical tools, solutions, and advice to help
caregivers everywhere through her book, web site, iPhone apps (Elder 411/911),
cross-country speaking tours, and more. Visit www.DrMarion.com for more