Forming Your Caregiving Team
It is important to identify your care support team - the people in your life who would be willing and able to help you if you have a planned or unexpected surgery or illness. We refer to those people as your caregivers. Some are family members, some are very good friends, and some are neighbors. Caregivers come in all forms, but it’s important for you to identify them in advance and make your wishes known.
• Make a list of the duties and errands you’ll need help with.
• Next, list the people who would be willing to help. Especially consider those you see frequently and those who offer to help without being asked.
• Consider assigning roles to people who have experience, knowledge or affinity in an area. The care support team may consist of some or all the following people:
Primary caregiver/emergency contact person: Think of one person who can oversee your day-to-day arrangements when you are unable to do so. Then think of a secondary person in case something should happen to your primary caregiver.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney: Consider a person to be your medical durable power of attorney who will make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This may be the same person as your primary caregiver.
Drivers: These people are available to take you to appointments, the lab, or to the store.
Medicine manager: Identify a person who can take charge of your medicines at home to help organize, make schedules, fill and pick-up prescriptions, and ensure you are taking your medications as directed.
Cooks and special helpers: Various people who can go grocery shopping, make/bring meals, run errands, do housework, and/or laundry can be assigned this duty. Most of these jobs can be done when convenient so it allows for more flexibility.
Exercise partner: A person who will help you do your prescribed exercises and try to keep you motivated and active. Spiritual companion: This person is a great listener and may not be part of your day to day activities.
Comedian: Think of a person or persons in your life who makes you laugh. Children and teens are often great at this! Keeping your spirits lifted is critical care!
Creating a care support team is critical to your recovery. Some roles may change but maintaining open and ongoing communication will make caregiving more manageable.
For more information about resources, for questions about your specific caregiving situation, or to see a list of upcoming support groups and classes, please visit www.henryford. com/familycaregivers. You can also email CaregiverResources@hfhs.org, or call 313.874.4838.