Caring for a loved one can be a full-time job where even the best multitaskers may quickly find themselves overwhelmed. With many different aspects of care to consider, it may become increasingly necessary to divide the role of caregiver.
Having the support of others who share a common connection to a sick or aging individual, ensures that no one person is weighed down with the responsibility of care. Additionally, it gives the sick or aging person a chance for more personal, well-rounded care from the people they’ve already built relationships with.
With the holiday season upon us, there will likely be family gatherings where important conversations can take place about each person’s ability to handle some aspect of a loved one’s care. Everyone has different skills, attributes or abilities that can contribute something helpful to caregiving. In this article, we’ve put together some things to consider that can help you assemble an effective care team.
Who has the authority for making decisions about care?
The person selected as the Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) makes the medical care decisions and ultimately directs the care. Though this role is assigned, there may be another individual who can help assist with other duties beyond decision making. Perhaps someone with a knack for communication can take notes of the doctor’s instructions and keep the rest of the care team up to date, or an organized individual can volunteer to coordinate appointments and care schedules.
Who can help manage the financial aspects of care?
The person selected as the Financial Power of Attorney makes the financial decisions on a sick or aging individual’s behalf, however, there are other roles that can help regarding the management of finances. If there’s an accountant in the family, perhaps they can help balance the checkbooks. Or if a relative is in a good position to financially assist with healthcare costs, maybe they can contribute to paying some of the medical bills.
Who can assist with the day-to-day care?
There are many practical caregiving tasks or errands that need to be taken care of. Think about what needs to be done and see who is most capable of doing it. Maybe the family cook can get groceries and prepare meals. Perhaps the person who lives near the pharmacy or the doctor’s office can pick up prescriptions or drive patients to and from their appointments.
And, outside of medical needs, it’s important to continue a sense of normalcy in a patient’s life. For example, someone could commit an afternoon a week to helping a sick or aging loved one participate in a favorite hobby or social club.
Everyone’s family dynamic is different, and it’s important to keep in mind that there is no one way to have a care team. There may be some overlap within these roles, with one person handling multiple aspects care, ranging from simple hands-on tasks around the house to more decision-oriented duties about medical care.
Other care teams may be made up of community members and hired caregiving professionals instead of family or blood relatives. Whatever the situation, it’s important that all parties communicate with a sense of humility to assess how best to provide their loved one with the most effective care.