As a family member ages, we often don't notice the subtle changes in functioning. When a crisis situation occurs, we then must think back to past behaviors and functioning to determine how the situation became so critical.
For a caregiver, checklists can help you to think about your family member in a practical and functional way. If you decide to work with an Information and Referral Specialist or Caregiver Specialist, having completed the checklists beforehand will help you to help the professional. If you decide to access services yourself, completing checklists can help you to determine what services may be needed and the level of care that will best suit the needs of your family.
If you are concerned that your family member may have dementia or Alzheimer's, there is a separate checklist to guide you.
What is a Caregiver Specialist?
What is an Information & Referral Specialist?
Ask yourself these questions about your family member.
Now that you have answered the questions, take a good look at your answers. If you see a lot of areas where your family member needs assistance, you may want to talk to a professional to help you make wise choices. There is no magic number of problems that should prompt you to get assistance. Each family is different and each person has a different level of tolerance. But use these checklists to help you to see if there seem to be multiple problems and to alert you to whether or not functioning seems to be declining instead of remaining stable. If things are becoming harder to handle and/or if your family member is getting worse, check out your options either with a professional or through resources identified within this website.
Caregiver Specialists are there to help. They have been hired by the local Councils or Departments on Aging. Area Agencies on Aging have Caregiver Specialists as well. Call and discuss the results of your evaluation with them. If even that seems like to much to handle, they can assist you with getting help for your emotional and mental health needs as well. They will help you help both your family member and yourself. Remember to be completely honest with them. Don't be embarrassed to share with them how you are feeling and coping with your situation and any specific problems you may be having. Anything you share will be held in confidence and they will not judge you or the situation you find yourself in. They want to help you which is why they have chosen this career.
are Available to Help You
You may also want to consider the following questions:
|I feel capable of handling this situation myself.|
|I have family that can help me.|
|I have friends that can help me.|
|I have a faith community that can support and help me.|
|I am willing to ask others for help.|
|I am feeling the stress of this situation already.|
|I need someone to help me.|
What do your answers tell you? This should help you to decide what to do next. Take the answers provided in these checklists and have them handy as you explore other areas of this website. Use the answers to find services and assistance to help you help your family member and yourself.
The American Medical Association has developed on online checklist for caregivers to help assess the need for the caregiver to seek support. This may also be useful in deciding if you, the caregiver, need help.
Personalized assistance is available in every state through the Older American's Act and the Family Caregivers Support Program. States may vary slightly in the way assistance is offered so it is best to check with the Area Agency on Aging serving the county in which the person needing assistance lives. Ask for contact information for a Caregiver Specialist or an Information and Referral Specialist. You can also check with any local Senior Center in the area. They should know what is available locally. And, there is always the State Aging Agency which will have statewide information available.