Caring for a loved one is a huge responsibility. Although you may be prepared for the stress associated with the commitment, there are some duties you'll want to prepare to face. It's best to have all areas covered to ensure your loved one receives the best possible care. Ask yourself, are you prepared for these 5 significant caregiver duties?
A healthcare proxy is a document that legally designates someone to make healthcare decisions on behalf of your loved one. Before your relative becomes unable to make her own decisions, make sure she has created a healthcare proxy. The proxy should be someone the patient trusts to make important health-related decisions. State laws vary on the exact criteria for creating a healthcare proxy. You may need to consult an elder law attorney to ensure the document is drafted properly.
A living will, also known as an advanced directive, allows your loved one to make his own choices regarding the care he does or doesn't want to receive at the end of his life. When the patient's wishes are in writing, they can't be overrode by the healthcare proxy or other family members. Living wills are simple and easy to create. You can even create on online for your loved one.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney allows your loved one to designate someone to handle the finances while the patient is alive. With power of attorney, you can write checks and pay bills on behalf of your loved one.
Caregivers need a reliable form of transportation to safely get the patient to and from doctor visits or other important appointments. Depending on your loved one's condition, you may find yourself traveling to and from doctor's offices frequently.
Your loved one may need help with daily tasks, such as bathing and getting dressed. Sometimes it is hard for a parent to turn to their child for assistance with personal hygiene and grooming. Unfortunately, getting in and out of the shower can become dangerous alone. Ensure the bathroom is as safe as possible with railing and a safety seat, if needed.
Other caregiver responsibilities may include:
- Preparing meals
- Incontinence care
- Medication reminders
Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging. For more resources on understanding the full scope of a caregiver's responsibilities, refer to our eBook: The True Cost of Being a Caregiver.