Many of you may remember AARP under their former name of American Association of Retired Persons.) In addition to AARP being much easier to say and remember, it subtly removes that “retired” tag. That is apt, since they provide benefits to many more people than just those who’ve put their careers behind them.
Based in the United States, AARP’s mission is “empowering people to choose how they live as they age.” As caregivers, let’s let that sink in for just a moment. Isn’t that what we’re all about?
As of 2018, AARP claims it has more than 38 million members, which tell me they are providing quality resources and plenty of them, to many, many people.
On the surface, AARP is often known for getting a discount on your rental car, or that stay in a hotel. While that is a benefit to its members, that is really just scratching the surface. Their offerings are as wide as they are deep, so that will have to be the focus of another day. Today, our focus is on Caregiving, and the specific resources dedicated to new caregivers.
AARP Family Caregiving: First Timers
Caregiving is never planned. No one has ever put caregiving on their bucket list and longed for it over time. No, we are thrust into it, usually without notice, and almost always, at a very inconvenient time.
As our population ages, there will not only be a greater need for caregiving, but the diversity that makes up the caregiving world will change dramatically.
The often sudden “dump” of responsibilities is nearly overwhelming. There’s the realization of what is now needed, the pressure to make sure your loved one’s needs are accommodated, and forget about the sheer volume of information you must pull together. Daunting is likely an understatement.
Daunting is likely an understatement.
But there are resources available to help. AARP is a resource-rich hub of information for first-time caregivers to access the information they need.
How We Process Information
It must first be acknowledged that we all experience life and process learned information differently. From a chronological perspective, things happen in a different sequence for all of us. Add to that the aspect of how we each have the need for a different resource or type of support at different times in our caregiving journey.
As a result, a simple step-by-step guide on what to do first-next-last is simply not possible.
What AARP has done is organize the critical information needed by new caregivers in a less chronological and more logical manner. This gives you the ability to choose what’s pressing AT THE MOMENT, or of course, navigate through each area systematically as you can.
Prepare to Care Guides
We just discussed the different ways in which we all consume information, but AARP has taken it a step further through their Prepare to Care Guides. They recognize there are also many different life situations that can add to, and certainly change, the makeup of what makes an effective basket of resources.
They offer a wonderful variety of guides that can cover a broad array of family situations:
Each guide is organized in a fairly consistent manner. Again, looking at what the first-time caregiver could need, from a logical perspective. Most guides are organized something like this:
Regardless of your living situation, this approach to getting organized – both physically and mentally – is a wonderful start.
Your Mileage May Vary
We recognize not every person lives a life that neatly fits each and every one of these sections. However, it is a sound way for you to initiate your thinking and of course, apply what you need, when you need it, and in a manner that works for you.
Deep Caregiving Resources
Whether you are just getting started in your caregiving journey, or a more “experienced” and need specific information for a specific challenge, AARP’s Caregiving portal can provide the guidance you need.
Prepare to Care Resource Guides for Families were developed by AARP to help make your newfound job of caregiving much more manageable. It includes information on how to have vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess your loved one’s needs, and locate important resources.
For more information, you can visit AARP.org, or call 877.333.5885 to request a free copy of a guide that best fits your personal situation.
AARP is a valuable cache of resources. Let us know in the comments below what other “gold mines” of information you have found to be useful. But first, please explore just a few of the many AARP resources that are also available on Amazon: