The holiday season is often a time for loved ones to gather and spend time catching up. It can also be an opportunity for having aging-related conversations with older loved ones.
The HHSC Aging Services Coordination (ASC) office developed the Texas Talks campaign in 2018 to support these important conversations. Resources provided through the online Texas Talks toolkit help older adults and their caregivers make informed decisions and improve quality of life.
This year, ASC is focusing on empowering current and potential caregivers with its Strengthen the Care You Give campaign.
Over the last five years, Texas Talks has covered a range of topics that impact older adults, including transportation, medical issues, recreation and behavioral health. The office releases new topics each fall for caregivers and loved ones to focus on and discuss.
“We were finding that people didn’t often have those conversations, and the older adults involved never received the opportunity to voice their wishes and concerns for the future,” said Holly Riley, ASC director. “Caregivers are often left in difficult positions to make choices for another person. By providing the resources to have those conversations early, it can take a lot of the burden off of them.
“No one wants to talk about the fact that they might be losing abilities, but the pandemic showed us that it’s never too soon to have that conversation. Caregivers should share their own wants too, and really make it a conversation.”
This year’s topics are:
- Texas caregivers
- Long-distance caregiving
- Staying connected and seeking support while caregiving
- Legal considerations and caregiving
“We’re really looking to build awareness about caregiving in Texas,” said Claire Irwin, ASC Age Well Live Well coordinator. “And to do that, we want to provide the shortest path from person to resources, making it as easy as possible.”
Families, worksites and organizations that want to participate in Texas Talks can receive a toolkit with strategies and materials — including email contacts, articles and general guidance — for engaging in aging-related conversations. To further support participation among family members, worksheets are available that offer activities for navigating these discussions.
To learn more about the Strengthen the Care You Give campaign, watch this video featuring HHSC Chief Program and Services Officer Michelle Alletto.