When it comes to caregiving, plan to succeed.

Caring for a loved one is not only challenging, but it requires a team effort to manage affairs effectively. For many caregivers, well-intentioned family and friends don’t always understand the degree of effort, time, dedication and resources it takes to care for a loved one. Your Area Agency on Aging has a care manager to connect you with useful information and resources. In the meantime, here are a few things you can implement:

Establish Your Own Care Management Plan
  • Get educated. Educate yourself about your loved one’s disease or disability. This knowledge will positively impact the quality of care you provide. Equally important, it will make you a better advocate when talking with health care providers.
  • Keep a record. Note your loved one’s ability to function independently both physically and mentally. Take stock of the physical environment: Is it user-friendly or can it be adopted to the loved one’s needs at a reasonable cost? Include contractor information and estimates if available. Note your financial resources, health related or end-of-life documents, etc. List the names of family and friends to call if something should happen to you.
  • Communicate. Hold a family meeting to inform family members about the loved one’s care and needs. Ask for support and be decisive about what you need. If necessary, invite an impartial mediator to buffer conflicts. Identify one person who will help keep the family informed about the loved one’s condition and needs.
  • Make emergency information easily accessible. Clearly display all emergency numbers, physician contact information, medication regiment (schedule and dosage), special dietary requirements and contact information for the person designated as your emergency back-up.
Taking care of your own needs is vital to offering your best to your loved one. To support you along this journey and to help you establish your care management plan, we’ve provided the following resource materials:

Define Your Needs
Advocate for Yourself
Communicate Confidently with Doctors
Life Planning Worksheet
How to Choose a Nursing Home
Develop an Assisted Living Checklist