The first step is to take stock of your personal situation, ask questions, and educate yourself about local resources.
Here are a few things you can do to get started:
Ask your health care professional if you are likely to need long-term services and supports. This need for long term services and supports can be determined by looking at your medical and family history and lifestyle choices. In the case of an unexpected change in health, this need could surface immediately.
Many people fail to make the connection between healthy behaviors today and their health as they age. Healthy eating, physical activity, mental stimulation and regular health care are key factors in staying healthy and independent. Learn More
It’s estimated that individuals turning 65 today will need up to three years of long-term services and supports. Examples of in-home support include, but are not limited to: providing transportation, helping with bathing, toileting, and other personal care; preparing meals; organizing and giving medications, or performing other nursing tasks.
Talking about aging or disability and potential care needs ahead of time makes sense from a practical standpoint but most of us put it off, or possibly due to a variety of reasons, we stay quiet, hoping that things will turn out for the best. The need for long-term services and supports can occur at any age, and you will have more options and choices if you start talking and planning now, rather than waiting for a crisis when you may not be able to make your own decisions and emotions of family and friends are high. Marlene S. Stum, Extension Specialist and Professor in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota Extension provides tips on Breaking the Silence: Initiating Family Conversations About Financing Long Term Care, a thoughtful article that can be used for discussions on caregiving.
Caregiving can be challenging for both the care receiver and the caregiver. To help family or friends think about and help you plan for future care, AARP Foundation has published a planning guide for families, titled Prepare to Care. A booklet developed by the State of Washington on Hiring Family or Friends as Your Caregiver is available if you plan to hire a family member or friend as a caregiver.
You may also want to review the Caregiver supports section of our website.
Talk to a local CLC about your community’s resources, services and costs. You can also learn more about long-term services and supports in the Explore your options section of this website. You can also search for resources in your community.