Talking about caregiving is something that should be brought up as soon as possible, so all parties can have their voices heard. Ideally, this discussion should occur before caregiving even begins. The 40/70 rule simply means that if you are 40, and your parents are 70, it’s a good time for your family to discuss how caregiving should occur when the time comes.
Who will be the caregiver?
Deciding who would best be able to give care, or at least how to decide who will care, is important. Most families make this decision based on geography: the child closest to home is the primary caregiver. Clearly outlining what this means for the chosen caregiver, and the other family members further away, will help everyone to prepare. This includes making decisions on respite care for the caregiver. Also open the discussion for professional caregiving, such as at what point will a caregiver be required, and how it may be paid for. One of the most important aspects of this discussion is declaring power of attorney.
Where will care be given?
Is it more ideal for your parent to stay at home, move to a retirement village, or move in with one of their children? If moving is the best idea, putting plans in place to make this move go smoothly will be a great assistance to your family down the road.
When will care be required?
This can be the hardest topic to bring up with your parent, but remember to talk facts and clearly outline your family’s wishes. It can often fall on the children to monitor their parents’ health in order to know when they can no longer care for themselves. Remember you are speaking to an adult, who can still declare their wishes, and let their decisions be clearly laid out.
Starting this discussion early, before health becomes an issue, will not only help your family’s transition into caregiving, but also ensure that everyone’s wishes are heard and fairly placed. If your family hasn’t approached the topic of aging yet, don’t wait until you need to – be proactive about your family.