When you’re consumed with family caregiving, it may be difficult to think about a future without your family member—or have time to prepare for your own future.
If you can think about life after caregiving, you can get a jump on your next phase. Can you begin to ramp up your skills, research a job change or volunteer a few hours a week at an organization where you might want to put in more time later?
Issues to Consider
Using your skills for other opportunities.
How can your caregiving skills serve you when you’re ready for a new “job”? Think about what you’re qualified to do from your caregiving experience and what interests you. You certainly know about health care and other age 50+ issues. Would you consider training to be a patient advocate, medical claims assistant, an aging life care professional (formerly called geriatric care managers), a home health care aide or a senior care mover who helps people move from one setting to another? You have to be organized when you’re a caregiver. How about becoming a professional organizer or a personal assistant? Or, have you always longed to own your own business? Consider an “encore career.” It’s where people age 50+, usually retired, work part-time in a nonprofit or government position, often receiving a stipend. Is a career coach the best route?
If you don’t plan to work or prefer to live elsewhere (near your grandchildren, some place you’ve always loved), think about where you want to be.
Are your skills up to date? Why not take a class? Many are offered online. Do you want to be in a certification or degree program? Many community colleges are part of The Community College Plus 50 Initiative that has courses and programs for older adults in civic, service and volunteer areas.
Network like mad. Is there a local association or organization you could join? Do some web work and find out what they’re doing by speaking with a member of the group. Connecting with people in your industry is key.