Texas Talks

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Most people will help take care of an older family member or friend at some point in their lives. According to a 2020 AARP research report, approximately 48 million Americans will provide unpaid care and will spend about 4.5 years providing care for an adult loved one. Sixty-one percent of people providing care are also employed in other jobs.

Discussing aging needs and issues with older adult family members and friends is a great way to begin preparing for the future. The Texas Talks campaign was created to help you feel more comfortable initiating these conversations about aging and planning for the future for situations that might arise.

Texas Talks takes place each year during November and December and families are encouraged to use the holiday season as an opportunity to begin or continue conversations. Four different aging-related topics are highlighted and facts and resources are provided to guide conversations.

Organizations are encouraged to highlight and use the Texas Talks campaign! Learn more about having these conversations and download the toolkit and outreach materials through the Aging Well Resources Order Form. Choose Texas Talks in the program field.

2022 Topics

Family History

Our families have an impact on our well-being throughout our lives. Family can include loved ones related by birth, marriage, or adoption, it can even include friends or people we live with. Having conversations with older loved ones about family history can help you both plan for the future. Knowing about family history can help your loved ones receive person-centered and trauma-informed care, recognize health risks, decide which health screenings to complete, and share stories to the next generations of loved ones.

It is important to recognize that family relationships can be complicated and revisiting the past can be difficult. Allow your older loved one to share as much as they are comfortable with at their own pace. Spread the conversations over multiple days to give them time to reflect and remember other aspects they may want to share. If you and your loved one want to take a deeper dive into genealogy and family history records visit the USA.gov website to learn more.

Get started with Texas Talks. To start the conversation with your loved one go to the Aging Well Resources Order Form, select factsheet in the resource type box and look for the Texas Talks worksheet.

Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed Care

When discussing family history, or topics related to planning for the future, it is important to take a person-centered and trauma-informed approach. A person-centered approach respects people’s personal preferences and skills. A trauma-informed approach respects challenging things that the person may have experienced and how it can impact their life. These two approaches complement each other and empower our older loved ones to trust and share their preferences.

When having conversations about the past, consider the historical and cultural context your older loved ones have lived through. War, segregation, living in different countries, or a global pandemic can shape the way a person views and experiences the world. You will not completely understand the unique challenges your loved one has faced, but it may help you to understand any specialized care your loved one may want and need as they age.

  • To learn more about the person-centered, trauma-informed approach visit Mental Health TX. Trauma Informed Oregon has a helpful training series and the Center on Holocaust Survivor Care has helpful information specific to aging and trauma.

Get started with Texas Talks. To start the conversation with your loved one go to the Aging Well Resources Order Form, select factsheet in the resource type box and look for the Texas Talks worksheet.

Health Screenings

Health screenings help us detect health conditions early on and prevent further disease. Health conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, and high cholesterol are found using health screenings. Detecting these conditions early can sometimes help slow progression and prevent future complications. Health screenings are important to consider at any age and are especially important for older adults as about 85% of older adults have a chronic disease. The U.S. Preventive Task Force provides recommendations on health screenings for people to complete based on age. Have a conversation with your older loved ones about health screenings and encourage your loved one to talk with their doctor.

One thing that can be helpful is to bring up in the conversation with your loved one is their family health history as it can raise awareness about their genetic risk factors. One way to gather family health history is for you and your loved one to talk with biological relatives. During these conversations being understanding is important, especially if family members are hesitant to share information. If possible, ask relatives about major medical diagnoses and the age that health conditions started. This information will help your loved one’s doctor decide which health screening may be best. Visit the CDC to learn more about family health history.

For those unable to contact biological relatives to get health information, there are other options. Your loved one may consider genetic testing if it is recommended by their doctor. If your loved one is not interested or unable to obtain genetic information, encourage them to still have a discussion with their doctor about health screenings.

To start the conversation with your loved one go to the Aging Well Resources Order Form, select factsheet in the resource type box and look for the Texas Talks worksheet.

Traditions and Legacies

Sharing stories can create connections across generations. They provide an opportunity for older loved ones to pass on values, legacies and traditions that are important to them.

When talking with an older loved one about stories from their life, keep in mind that trauma may arise. Be respectful of people’s boundaries when sharing and encourage your loved one to go at their own pace. Here are a few tips to navigate trauma when sharing stories. Encourage your loved one to:

  • Write about it. Writing helps your loved one to process their stories in their own time.
  • Wait to share the story until they are ready. After writing down a story, they can hold on to it until they are ready to share it with others.
  • Tell their stories from the perspective of a character. It may feel safer to tell stories from the perspective of a made-up character.
  • Seek a mental health professional if needed. Visit https://www.hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use to learn more.

Both older loved ones and younger loved ones can exchange stories with each other, rather than having a one-sided conversation. This can help keep everyone engaged. Visit the Story Corps Website for inspiration.

Download Texas Talks outreach materials and explore previous topics through the Aging Well Resources Order Form. Choose Texas Talks in the program box.