Do you have eldercare goals for 2011?

It took me a long time to consciously apply the skills and knowledge I learned in my career to the new and often overwhelming task of caring for my mom. I didn’t really think about how my skills of organizing, building an agenda, running meetings and negotiating agreements could serve my mother and my family. Goal setting was another skill I learned through my career that I could apply to my mother’s situation.

Since it’s January, I’m working on goals for my business and personal life and I’m wondering if you have any goals for how you will care for your family member this year? Is there something you are planning to do differently? Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you are already doing.

Giving yourself credit for what you already do is an important idea I learned from one of my corporate bosses. In an environment of ever growing expectations, he advised me to be sure to make some of my goals were about benchmarks and work that I was already expected to do. Of course we added in some growth or stretch goals as well. So don't forget when thinking about your eldercare goals to assign yourself goals around things you already do like take your family member to the doctor.

If everything on your goals list is new every year, you may get awfully tired as time passes.

While there are lots of eldercare topics you could set goals around, I’d suggest getting more clarity around eldercare.

Some things to explore or consider:

Do I feel comfortable and confident in what my family member wants now and in the future? Since talking about disability and end of life issues is difficult for most of us, plan to have a series of talks over time.

Have my family members and I discussed who, how and when we will help an older member of the family? I find that my sister and I are making plans for how we will help my dad without consulting each other (this reminds me it’s been a while since we had a chat). Making a commitment to talk on a monthly or quarterly basis with your family about how things are going could be a good place to start.

Do I know if my family member currently has sufficient financial resources to care for himself and has made realistic plans for the future? This is another tough subject to get elders to discuss. If you do ultimately discover a short fall, you can begin to gather information about government and charitable programs that may help your family member.

Have you ever had eldercare goals or thought about your caregiving in this way? How do you use your business or volunteer skills to help your relative? I’d like to hear. Just reply to send me a message.

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