The Proactive Caregiver - Discover What it Takes to Become an Advocate for a Loved One

Its about being willing to fight for them with doctors, hospitals, lawyers and yes... even financial institutions. Find out why its critical to plan NOW.

Most individuals will need care and support at some time in their life. As someone who may become a caregiver or currently fulfilling that role, you don't want to dwell on this, but it's always best to be prepared.
No one wants to think that their loved ones might need special support as they age. But without being proactive, you risk potential financial issues and an uncertainty about what to do in a time of emotional stress. You have to take personal responsibility for your loved ones - the government won't. Following is a list of considerations:

Have a discussion with loved ones before a major decision needs to be made. Make sure you understand their desires and how you could best care for them.

At The CareGiver Partnership, caregivers tell us how frantic, frazzled and frantic they are because of the amount of hours spent caring for someone and the physical, mental and frequently mentioned financial issues. If possible activities should be coordinated with other family members or loved ones so each knows what their role and responsibilities will be.

Inclusivity is key because when issues arise, emotions can run high. Having an agreed plan, in advance with roles and responsibilities clearly outlined is so important. Don't talk around your loved ones - talk to them. It's their life and well-being so let them state their desires and expectations and then determine how to meet their needs.

After gaining agreement, commit the roles and responsibilities to writing including what your loved ones expect, what will happen during an "event" and who will be responsible. A written plan ensures clear communication, agreement and understanding.

Gather important documents, facts, dates, medications, medical providers' names, etc in one place. Today, there are a number of very useful websites designed to house all this information for all family members and other caregivers to view and modify. One we like is Me and My Caregivers - This site allows you to:

Easily locate important information - quickly.
Provide access to your entire caregiver team including your children, an agency caregiver, nursing home, assisted living center or medical provider.
Monitor conditions - great for long distance relatives.
Set reminders such as taking drugs or appointments. These can be printed out.
Jot down questions for medical appointments and to print them out in advance.
Provide each person on the caregiver team their own secure name and password and give them access to only those areas that you wish them to see.

Important information to consider having readily available, in advance in one place includes:

Key contacts: including family members, doctors, lawyer, banker.

Finances: general financial information; list of bank accounts, investments, insurance and other sources of income (such as Social Security, annuities, pensions, etc.); billing information.

Medical and health records including insurance contracts, past & current illnesses, procedures, medications, allergies, dietary concerns, health insurance information; preferences for in-home or out-of-home care.

Legal: will and living will; power of attorney; life insurance policies; lawyer contact information; location of important legal documents (e.g., birth and marriage certificates).

Housing: deeds and leases; mortgage information; property tax receipts; list of maintenance needs and expenses; home and personal property insurance.

Transportation: list of transportation needs; sources of public transportation; local transportation resources for people with disabilities.

Find key resources. Determine whether your family caregiving team needs any additional information, resources or professional advice to make the best possible decisions. Start by visiting our caregiver resource library. Following are just a few examples of the more than 300 Caregiver Resource Links in the library, the most extensive list on the internet in one place, continually updated. The Community for Caregivers
Many resources that exist to determine how caregivers can best take advantage of programs, services and products that will enhance their lives and those for whom they provide care.

Aging Parents and Eldercare
The Web site includes articles, comprehensive checklists and links to key resources designed to make it easier for family caregivers to quickly find the information they need to care for a loved one.

Alzheimer's Health Care Association
Our ultimate focus is on providing quality care to the nation's frail, elderly and disabled, who are served by the long term care professionals who comprise AHCA's membership. The AHCA, its affiliates and member providers advocate for individuals who because of social needs, disability, trauma or illness require services provided in a long term care setting, while also advocating for the continuing vitality of long term care provider community.

American Association for Homecare
AA Homecare works to strengthen access to care for the millions of Americans who require medical care in their homes. They represent healthcare providers, equipment manufacturers, and other organizations in the homecare community.

Ask Transitions
Elder Care Consulting.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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