What You Need To Know About A Caregiver Care Plan
Whether you plan on caring for an aging parent in the future or currently do so, a caregiver care plan can make all the difference.
A care plan outlines your loved one’s needs and various ways to meet them. It promotes better health, safety, and quality of life for seniors. As for you, it can prevent caregiver burnout.
Care plans differ from a plan of care, which your loved one’s doctor or medical team typically provides. A caregiving plan helps you prepare for non-medical needs, arrange outside support, and avoid scheduling issues. This can lead to better communication and less stress and feelings of overwhelm.
Here’s how to create a caregiver care plan for your loved one.
1. Consider Your Current Situation
Before you take on the role of the family caregiver, there are a few things you should ask yourself:
- Does your current schedule allow for the time commitment caregiving requires?
- Will you be able to afford to care for your loved one financially?
- Can you manage your parent’s personal care, or will you need to hire a trained caregiver?
- Do you have a strong support system?
It’s best to involve your family as you create a caregiver care plan. They might offer helpful insights you may not have noticed or even volunteer to help with some of the responsibilities.
2. Identify Your Loved One’s Needs
Pinpointing your parent’s primary needs is crucial to your caregiver care plan. The following questions can help you structure your thoughts:
- What kind of care does your parent require?
- Will you be the primary caregiver?
- When will your loved one require help, and how long?
- Will you need extra help from a paid caregiver?
- Do you have special skills, training, or caregiver certifications to meet your loved one’s needs better?
3. Start A Dialogue About Your Loved One’s Care
Communication is the foundation of better care. It’s critical that you, your parent, and other family members practice respectful, open communication. It may not be easy, especially when it comes time to discuss challenging subjects such as:
- Family support
- Shifts in your loved one’s health or wellbeing
- Mobility restrictions
- The need for more specialized care
It would be best to address these topics with your parent first. After that, you can involve other family members in your discussions.
4. Assemble A Caregiving Team
A caregiving team is crucial to support you and your loved one. The extra support ensures your loved one’s needs are consistently met, even when you’re unavailable. It also gives you an opportunity for respite care when necessary.
Your care team should designate one person for each area of your loved one’s care. They won’t be responsible for every task that falls in their category, but they will ensure that each one is completed.
5. Develop Your Caregiver Care Plan
Once you have a focused team and a reliable support system, you can move on to creating a plan. Not only should it account for your parent’s needs, but it should also address anyone else involved in their care.
A caregiver care plan should have:
- Contact information for your loved one’s medical providers
- The caregiving team’s contact details
- A schedule for your loved one’s care
- Your loved one’s medication schedule and instructions
- Key medical information, such as health conditions or allergies
- Assigned responsibilities, such as “Laundry: Lynda, Thursday afternoons”
- Instructions for an emergency
Areas To Address In The Caregiving Care Plan
As you create a care plan for your loved one, make sure you consider the following areas.
- Can your loved one hear or see well?
- Does your loved one require specialized care for wounds, catheters, or other medical devices?
- Does your loved one have health conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis?
- What prescriptions does your loved one take to manage these conditions?
- Does your loved one need reminders to take their medication?
- Does your parent have depression, anxiety, psychosis, or another mental health problem?
- Do you think your loved one should get help from a mental health professional?
Activities Of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Does your loved one struggle with incontinence? How often?
- Can your parent move easily and safely?
- Does your parent need help with bathing, shaving, dressing, transferring, toileting, and other personal care activities?
- Can your loved one use their phone?
- Does your parent have swallowing problems or other issues that make it difficult to eat?
- Can your loved one seek assistance in an emergency?
- Can your loved one cook, manage light housework or yard work, or driving?
- Is your loved one’s home free from fall hazards?
- If there are stairs, can your loved one use them safely?
- If your parent lives alone, can they call 911 quickly?
- What degree of home and property maintenance does your loved one need?
- Can your loved one manage their finances without your help?
- Do they remember to pay bills?
- What are your parent’s monthly income and expenses?
- Where does your loved one get their income?
- Does your loved one have a savings account? If so, how long will it last?
- Does your parent receive other forms of financial aid?
- Where does your loved one save financial records such as their home title or insurance plan?
- Does your parent have long-term care, supplementary, or life insurance?
- Does their plan cover the cost of non-medical care?
- What insurance does your loved one have, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or a private policy?
- Does your loved one’s current plan cover medical exams or procedures that their doctor requested?
- Does your loved one have a will, trust, estate plan, advance directive, or another plan in place?
- Has your family arranged a healthcare proxy or power of attorney?
- Can you and the caregiving team access these documents?
- What are your parent’s hobbies?
- Is your loved one apart of a religious organization?
- Does your parent engage in social activities or have people over to their house?
- Do other relatives live near your loved one?
- Is there someone from your loved one’s religious organization than can help with transportation to services?
6. Carry Out The Caregiver Care Plan
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to implement it. Make sure everyone involved in your loved one’s care has a copy and provide new versions whenever it’s updated. You should routinely consult with your loved one’s caregiving team and check on your parent.
As you receive new information about your loved one, including any changes, you can modify your plan, so it continues to fit their needs.
Remember, a care plan is supposed to make your role as the family caregiver easier. As you make revisions, don’t forget to account for changes in your life as well. If you can’t manage the workload as well as you initially thought, or it starts interfering with your physical, mental, and emotional health, then assign the task to somebody else.
Example Of A Caregiver Care Plan
To help you visualize the process, let’s go over an example of a care plan.
Suppose your loved one needs help with meal preparation, money management, transportation, medication, social activities, and routine activities like scheduling and planning. In that case, you would start by noting specific tasks within each area and brainstorming who could help, which would look something like this:
- Meal preparation
- Meals On Wheels 5 days per week so you can work
- Family-provided meals 3 times per week
- Meals from friends and neighbors once per week
- Meals provided by you three times per week
- Ready-made meals as backup
- Money management
- Family helps with monthly bill payments and checkbook balances
- You drive your loved one to doctor’s appointments
- Rides from a friend, taxi, or rideshare as backup
- Medication management
- Prepackaged prescriptions provided and delivered by the pharmacy
- Scheduling activities
- You schedule appointments, keep communication lines open, manage your parent’s service schedule, arrange for relatives and volunteers to enter the house, and monitor who performs which task and when
Once you have this, you can break it down further and assign each task to a different family member or the care team, which could look like this:
- Family-provided meals
- You cook Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
- Your spouse cooks Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
- Your loved one keeps pre-made meals and takeout as backup
- You, your spouse, and your children help each Saturday
- You or your spouse, provided each Saturday
- Your spouse or delivery every Wednesday
- Doctor’s appointments and other transportation
- You, your spouse, a child who can drive, or a friend or relative
- Taxis and rideshares as backup
Of course, your plan could look different. But this template is an excellent place to start and can make it easier to become an organized caregiver.
Meetcaregivers Can Help You Make A Caregiver Care Plan
Becoming a family caregiver isn’t always easy. But with a well-thought-out caregiver care plan and team on your side, you’ll be ready to overcome any obstacles that come your way.
For more information or to learn about hiring a caregiver through our agency, call 1-888-541-1136 or reach out online.
- “Making a Caregiving Plan.” Making a Caregiving Plan | Help for Cancer Caregivers, www.helpforcancercaregivers.org/content/making-caregiving-plan.
- May-Chibani, Leslie. “InfoCenter.” CareGiving MetroWest, www.caregivingmetrowest.org/InfoCenter/Skill-Building-for-Caregivers/How-to-Develop-a-Care-Plan.
- Palmer, John. “Creating A Caregiver Plan In 7 Simple Steps.” Elder Care Direction, Elder Care Direction, 3 Apr. 2019, www.eldercaredirection.com/creating-a-caregiver-plan-in-7-simple-steps/.