Lean In to Caregivers: Elder Care Tips & Tools

After months of preparation, I finally launched my new blog, Voices: Caregiving in Real-Time. I'm grateful to Diane (a newsletter subscriber!) for sharing her story for the debut post, and I'm eager to share the thoughts, worries, and wishes of many more caregivers. I also want to know the undiscussed issues in aging you'd like to hear more about, and to relay the untold stories of elders you admire. Contact me for next steps.

Looking for paid caregiving work or know someone who is? I now offer a free search-by-zip tool on my site. Check it out and pass it on.

Here are this month's tips and tools:

  • TIP 1: Visiting assisted living? Mix things up. Want to be sure your loved one is getting the best care possible? Then you need the full picture—to see how things run during different shifts, to get to know the staff working weekends and evenings. Whether you're heading to assisted living, a hospital, or a nursing home, space out your visits and vary the times you arrive. The same principle applies when considering a move to a care community: if you show up at 10am on Monday for a tour, you’re likely to see things very differently than you would on Saturday afternoon. If time allows, do both. Need help finding the right senior living option? Contact me for a coaching session.
     
  • TIP 2: Support without patronizing. How do you offer support to an older adult without making them feel like they’re dependent or in need of help? First, understand the concept of independence is a major factor. Few people want to be a burden on anyone—particularly family and friends—and they'll go to great lengths to avoid accepting or asking for help (even if they know they need it). What can you do? Suggest relevant, vetted resources and let them decide whether or not to move forward with the presented options. Give them the tools so they are empowered to help themselves. 
     
  • TOOL 1: Area Agency on Aging (AAA). If you're providing care for an older adult in any capacity, get to know the people at the AAA office serving your county (or the county in which your loved one resides). Head to ElderCare.gov to search for your AAA, and reach out to learn about the range of services, supports, benefits, and even funding for which you/your loved one may be eligible. 
     
  • TOOL 2: Elder Care Resource (ECR) Planning. For most families, the question of "how to pay for elder care" is a maze that's so hard to navigate, many give up or get turned around—and in the process, they miss out on available cost savings. Michael Guerrero and his team at ECR Planning wants to change that. This solid (and growing!) family business—developed through personal experience with the payment maze—knows elder care benefits in all 50 states.