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By Dr. Tyra Oldham

To begin, it is essential to discuss the generation of people who are single and without children. You may also consider the people who have life partners with children but cannot provide care for themselves. What is important to consider is that these groups need to form a plan of what I call “Care Pair.”  

I have communicated with friends the need for us in the short future to live together to support the entire group and share resources, knowledge and care solutions while still having independence and privacy. This is one step in the Care Pair process.

Why Care Pair?

The future of care is the communion of people who can take on tasks to support the entire group for the health and safety of each member. Imagine a home with a common space and shared kitchen(s) while each person has his/her own rooms for privacy. Each member depending on their health, can perform necessary roles that support the group by doing the following for example: 

      • providing medicines,  

      • driving to places the group needs, 

      • food shopping, 

      • maintenance, 

      • cooking,

      • and bills.

When people Care Pair, they can maintain a higher standard of living and health as they have support for their daily lives. Care Pairing prevents loneliness, which is statistically a threat to a senior’s sustainable life.

The National Council on Aging reported by the National Institute on Aging in 2019 stated, “Evidence reveals that social isolation and loneliness hinder good health — putting older adults at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.”

To Care Pair requires a conversation to determine who among friends, family, acquaintances or even strangers can come together to share resources while still having dignity, privacy and a successful home life. 

Care Pairing is the future for senior living when facilities or retirement homes are not a decision or option.

If you are single or have not determined your care in the future, it is time to start. Consider what your senior options will be. For example, if you have children, who will be your power of attorney, and will they care for you in the future? If you have a partner or are single, consider what is your best living arrangement. To Care Pair requires at least two people and yourself to prevent aloneness and create a safety net solution. Care Pairing is a good fit for many to consider for their senior years.

When to Care Pair?

Care Pairing can be a long-term plan. If you are 50, Care Pair may start when you reach the age of 65 to 80.

To start, begin a property hunt. It may require scaling down slowly as you start the conversation. Next, search for your ideal pairs to begin the discussion of resource sharing. The discussion requires each person to share what abilities they bring to the table.

Next, determine the amount of money to be equally committed each month for property payments, maintenance, food and utilities. The Care Pairs can add an amount for a housekeeper and care aide to support their weekly health. Care Pairing is genuinely ideal for those on a low income. Care pairing can reduce overall expenses, and working together can ease the load.

Some of you may think, I do not see how I can live within a Care Pair. The most important part of aging is considering how to live well in the future.

We all need various types of care and support. This is where creating pairs may be the right fit solution for the future of seniors or middle-aged people, especially for empty nesters. Consider the power of support versus being alone and managing all your needs.

This caregiver sees Care Pairing as the future of care planning and a viable method of safe, healthy and happy living when it is time for support. Remember, even with children, they may not be your care solution. Every person must map a possible means for care, so consider the potential to Care Pair for your future. 

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