Being a family caregiver can sometimes feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world. But, you don’t have to do it alone. Building the right caregiving team can take some responsibilities off your shoulders and ensure that both you and your loved one stay healthy and happy.
Planning your caregiving team is an essential, but often overlooked, step in caring for an elderly loved one. It is OK to ask for help. Together, you and your care team can help your loved one age in place successfully.
Who should be on your caregiving team?
There are several key components to building a care team for an elderly loved one. Make a list of all of the people you want to enlist in your circle. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Family members
- Doctors and medical professionals
- Caregiver consultant or Social worker
- Counselors or Therapists
- Adult day program staff
- Home Care Providers
- Church members
Drawing on the knowledge and skills of people from the groups listed above can help you provide well-rounded, holistic care for your loved one. Rely on professionals, family, and community members to help put your mind at ease and make informed decisions.
Your family care team
Your family care team can be made up of those close to you who you trust to help with your loved one, including a spouse, sibling, children, and even friends and neighbors. These individuals can take on tasks such as meal preparation, cleaning and shopping, managing bill payments, yard work, transportation and outings, and picking up prescriptions.
The family team approach can help prevent one caregiver from feeling overwhelmed. Spreading responsibilities across multiple people helps lessen the load and prevent burnout to those providing care.
Everyone on your family care team needs to be on the same page. Have regular meetings and conversations about the care provided, how each person feels, and making sure decisions are in the best interest of your elderly loved one. It’s also a good idea to create a calendar and schedule each person’s caregiving responsibilities so that all of the necessary tasks get done.
Your medical care team
The older we get, the more we tend to need medical care. Managing your loved one’s health can be difficult, so enlisting the help of medical professionals is essential.
You should understand your loved one’s medical needs. Get to know their physicians and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Even if you cannot attend all of your family member’s appointments, you may be able to email or call the doctor for updates.
Create a checklist for your medical team to help them get the full picture of your loved one’s health needs. The checklist should include:
- Names and contact information for all medical providers involved in care
- List of medications, dosages, and reasons for taking
- List of upcoming appointments
- Short medical history of your loved one that can be easily added to and provided to doctors as needed
- Advance directives and living wills, especially primary physician and local hospital and emergency room
- Health care power of attorney is provided to all relevant parties
Having this information on hand will help you and your medical team work together. It’s also a good idea to have your medical team’s contact information on hand for anyone caring for the loved one. Hang it on their refrigerator and send it to those who help through texts.
Your support team
This team is for YOU. Caring for a loved one is rewarding, but tough. You can’t carry the weight of it on your own. Your support team will help make sure you’re also taking care of yourself.
Your support team can consist of:
- Friends and family
- Support groups
- Groups or teams, such as an exercise class that meets regularly or a club related to an interest
- Church members
- Community resources
Let those on your support team know that you are caring for an aging loved one. Be open about how you feel and what concerns you. Tell them what it means and looks like to you.
Caregiving can be challenging, but when you build up an open and honest support network, you are never alone.
Do you need some help caring for an aging loved one? VANTAGE can take some responsibilities off your shoulders. Our caring professional team provides nutritious, home-delivered meals throughout Northeast Ohio, as well as in-home care and house cleaning services. Make us part of your care team by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-515-5605.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.