Aug 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness


Caregivers find that their job involves more than giving care to elderly loved ones.  Many times, the one needing care depends on her/his caregiver for medical and legal issues as well as daily personal care.  What do caregivers need to know?  What questions do they need to ask?  Where can they find answers?

Some online websites offer a lot of support and resources to caregivers for the variety of issues they face in helping the care-receiver.  We’ve done some research on the Internet, and have compiled a list here of the questions caregivers face, giving appropriate credit to the sites when they can be identified.

  • Caregivers need to maintain a list contact names and numbers; they include family, close friends, medical personnel, local and/or mail order pharmacy, legal adviser(s), financial adviser(s), funeral home where a pre-need plan may have been purchased.  This list needs to be updated on a regular basis and definitely when a change has been made or new contacts emerge.
  • Legal Documents: Caregivers need to either have the care-receiver’s legal documents in hand, or know where they are. These include Advance Directives,  Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders, any and all insurance policies, organ donation card(s) and document(s).  At a minimum, the caregiver needs to know where the Last Will and Testament is; the care-receiver may determine he/she wants the caregiver to put it in a safe place; if the caregiver does not know where these documents are, ask.

  • Caregivers should keep good notes.  SCJ recommends a spiral notebook in which notes about the days events can be documented, and other information can be maintained.  Items in the ‘other’ category include listing medications/dosages/administration and keeping that information current as prescriptions are added or deleted.  The notebook should include the basic medical conditions the care-receiver has, any allergies, and any information related to the changing conditions of the care-receiver.
  • recommends a doctor visit worksheet. This worksheet can be edited as needed for the individual circumstances of the care-receiver.  Having concerns in writing frequently helps older adults focus and remember what they want to talk about with their physician.
  • Caregivers should make a copy of the care-receiver’s Medicare and/or Medicaid card. Black out all but the last four digits of the Social Security number and carry the card in a safe place where it can be easily retrieved when it is needed.
  • Caregivers should have a list of valuables that belong to the care-receiver, and gifting information for each item should be identified.  Having this information in writing precludes squabbling over who gets what upon the care-receiver’s death.

Being prepared and preventing problems goes a long way to keeping stress at bay for the caregiver.

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