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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12

Family and Caregiving: The Challenge of Caring for Our Elders

Icebreaker: Think-Pair-Share

Part 1
Ask participants imagine that they have suddenly time-traveled to the age of 84 and have them free-write quick responses to the following questions:

● What is your life like as an 84 year old?

● What are your biggest priorities?

● What do you like most and least about being an octogenarian?

Have participants pair up to share their responses, then discuss the following:

● What are the most frustrating challenges you face on a regular day at your current age?

● What can you do now that might be more difficult when you are older?

● What support do you expect to have from family members or other loved ones as you age?

Ask for volunteers to share their responses and thoughts, then discuss the following with the whole group:

● What kind of say would you want over your care? Would you prefer to be cared for by family or a paid caregiver? What kind of support should we expect to receive from government institutions as we age?

Part 2
Repeat the activity, but this time ask each participant to imagine that they have suddenly become the caregiver for an 84-year-old family member. Have them free-write quick responses to the following questions:

● What is your life like as a caregiver?

● What are your biggest priorities when taking care of an elderly family member?

● What do you like most and least about being a caregiver?

Have participants pair up with new partners to share their responses, then discuss the following:

● How has your life changed now that you are a caregiver?

● What are the most frustrating challenges you face on a regular day?

● What support do you receive from family, and does it meet you and your family member’s needs?

Ask for volunteers to share their responses and thoughts, then discuss the following with the whole group:

● How do you think your elder will feel about your taking care of them? What can you do to take care of yourself while you are being a family caregiver? Would you prefer to hire a paid caregiver to care your family member? What public services and support do you wish were available from government?

About the authors

Allison Milewski

Allison Milewski has developed media education resources for a range of award-winning filmmakers and national media organizations, including PBS LearningMedia, Independent Television Services (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcasting, HBO Documentaries, and Tribeca Film Institute. She is also the founder of the international media education program, PhotoForward.org.