As we age, there comes a point in which we must discuss, with our loved ones, the ways we would like to receive care. It is never too late or too early to have these conversations around caregiving preferences. Here at Keiro, we encourage Our Community to be more proactive rather than reactive in preparing for the quality of life we want to have in the future.
According to AARP, 40 million American adults provide basic functional and nursing support to their loved ones aging at home. Of those 40 million, about one in four is part of the millennial generation (AARP, 2018).
In looking toward the future, what conversations should the millennials in Our Community begin to have with their own loved ones? How can they prepare now, so that they are not scrambling for solutions or clarity later? Do they even know what their parents’ preferences are as they grow older? Have families started these conversations at all?
Our Community’s Caregiving Future
Keiro interviewed three families – the Fujikuni family, the Fukui family, and the Kranz family – to converse and discuss over Zoom about what their parents’ preferences are on their future care. The interviews kicked off with “bonding” questions, asking participants about each other’s favorite colors, first alcoholic beverage, and more. This eased into the rest of the interview covering topics related to future care, where the child would answer the question, and the parent would verify if they got it right.
The caregiving questionnaire asked about a range of issues, from end of life care, advanced directives and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders, to funeral arrangements. The parent and child answered the questions separately prior to the interview.
Are We Prepared?
Each family had different areas of the questionnaire that they were familiar with more than others. But all of the families had some type of conversation at some point about their future care. From the Fukui family knowing the general idea, but using this time to refine the specifics, to the Fujikuni family having a big binder with all of their information, to the Kranz family creating a playlist of songs for Linda’s funeral, the initial discussion have already begun for these families about the parents’ wishes.
Overall, the children we interviewed knew the general idea about their parents caregiving wishes. At the same time, each family also saw what their next steps were in solidifying these wishes on paper, and further openness to continue the discussion on caregiving.
As a community, being proactive as much as possible is important, and that includes the millennial generation. Although the topics may be difficult to understand or think about, any step is a good step to understanding and staying proactive instead of reactive to the future. Being prepared in any capacity will help the next generation of caregivers to care for their loved ones. Start the conversation today, and be sure that you talk about your loved ones’ wishes as well as yours.
Flinn, Brendan. “Millennials: The Emerging Generation of Family Caregivers.” AARP, 22 May 2018, www.aarp.org/ppi/info-2018/millennial-family-caregiving.html.