Texas Talks

Most people will help take care of an older family member or friend at some point in their lives. Talking with older family members and friends about the potential needs associated with aging can help everyone prepare for the future. The Texas Talks campaign was created to help you feel more comfortable initiating these conversations and planning for future situations that might arise.

Texas Talks takes place annually 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 fact sheets and resources are provided to help 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.

2023 Topics

Texas Caregivers

Most of us will be a family caregiver or receive the help of a family caregiver at some point in our lives. According to the RAISE Family Caregivers Act (PDF) informal or family caregivers are unpaid people of any age who provide “a broad range of assistance to, an individual with a chronic or other health condition, disability or functional limitation.” In Texas (PDF) an estimated 3.1 million caregivers provide unpaid care at an annual estimated value of $41 million.

The Texas Health and Human Services Strengthen the Care You Give caregiving campaign and website helps Texans identify with the role of the family caregiver, highlights issues associated with caregiving and builds awareness of available services and supports. The campaign website, TexasCaregivers.org, provides information and resources that are helpful to caregivers including:

  • Self-care tips and resources to support caregivers mental health wellness such as taking a scheduled break, finding peer support or learning of ways to connect with support.
  • Training and Planning resources to help strengthen the care provided to loved one now and plan for the future.
  • Support and Resources highlighting a range of supportive services for caregivers and care recipients, including resources for specific populations.

Begin discussing possible caregiving needs with your loved ones now with the help of Texas Talks. To start the conversation with your loved one go to the Aging Well Resources Order Form, select worksheet in the resource type box and look for the Texas Talks worksheet.

Long-distance caregiving

If you live over an hour away from a loved one that may need care in the future, you could be a long-distance caregiver. Planning can help make the transition for you and your loved one a bit easier. Here are helpful tips for future long-distance caregivers from the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer's Association, and AARP:

  • Start a discussion with your loved one about help they may need in the future such as managing finances, applying for benefits, finding in-home care services or organizing paperwork.
  • Assess the community where your loved one lives to identify the available resources so you can easily refer back if and when they are needed.
  • Encourage open communication and check in regularly. Ask your loved one what they need help with and offer some suggestions of things you could help with (e.g., calling about in-home care, finding resources for home delivered meals or looking for opportunities to socialize).
  • Make the most of in-person visits. When you do get the chance to visit in-person ask your loved on make a list of things you can help with while you are there.
  • Build a team. If your loved one is open to it, consider collecting contact information for their friends, neighbors and doctors. That way if you have a concern, you have a list of people close by you both can call.

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

Staying connected and seeking support while caregiving

A majority of caregivers feel their role gives them a sense of purpose but for some it can be isolating. An important part of caregiving is seeking support and connection for yourself and your loved one. Starting conversations with a loved one early to plan for future caregiving needs can help create a network of support for the caregiver and their loved one. Here are some resources that can help keep caregivers and their loved ones connected and supported:

  • Discuss boundaries. The American Heart Association has a helpful resource (PDF) that discusses how caregivers can define and keep their boundaries.
  • Seek support from fellow caregivers. Peer support and support groups are available for caregivers and their loved ones. Explore the options in the self-care section of the Strengthen the Care You Give website.
  • Seek mental health support. Mental health professionals provide a non-judgmental space for anyone to share their concerns, feelings, hopes and wishes. Visit Mental Health TX to find a mental health professional.
  • Connect to neighbors. Know Your Neighbor encourages Texans to form and maintain new connections with neighbors to help reduce the risks of isolation and loneliness. Visit Age Well Live Well Be Connected to start making connections.

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

Legal considerations and caregiving

As a caregiver you may need to help your loved one make medical decisions, financial decisions or both. Planning can help make this process easier. Start a conversation with your loved one to identify who they would want to make decisions for them if they are unable to. Having advance care planning documents in place can help:

In some cases, more help is needed. The American Bar Association stresses that decisional capacity is not “all or nothing” so it is important to gather information, talk with your loved one and seek help. Supported decision-making agreements allow people who may struggle with managing their affairs to remain in-control of their lives and make their own decisions with support. To learn more, visit Texas Law Help. For those that must consider guardianship, which is the legal process for determining if a person is not able to manage their own affairs, visit the guardianship page on the HHS website to learn more.

Start the conversation with your loved one. Go to the Aging Well Resources Order Form and, select “worksheet” from the Resource Type box then select “search”. Look for the Texas Talks worksheets from the options provided. You can also view past Texas Talks topics on the order form by choosing Texas Talks in the Program box.