Fifty million caregivers provide about 80 percent of long-term care in this country.
"You likely will either be a family caregiver or need a family caregiver at some point in your lifetime," said Deborah Halpern, communications director for the National Family Caregivers Association. "The reality is people have been caring for people since Adam and Eve, but the concept of family caregiving is actually new because people are living longer than they ever have before."
So families and friends need to talk about long-term health plans, and there's no better time than the upcoming holidays. Some things to discuss include:
¢ Who will help provide care?
¢ Who will take care of the finances?
¢ Where do you prefer to live?
¢ What kind of end-of-life measures do you want?
"It's an excellent opportunity over Thanksgiving and over the December holidays when people do get together to plan this. That's one of the reasons why NFCA established November as National Caregivers Month."
Halpern highly recommends the concept of a family conference. She said it should be preplanned and not a surprise.
"No matter how uncomfortable it is, everybody needs to know," she said.