A First Step in Caregiving

Needs Assessment = Care Plan
The first step in organizing a care plan is making a list of needs.
As a care partner for an impaired elderly person, several questions must be answered:
What are his/her needs?
• What kinds of care are needed to allow the elderly/impaired person to remain in the community?
• Who is going to provide the care? (Personal care, Household care, Healthcare and Emotional care) When? How?
• Should the care-receiver remain in his/her own home, live with the children or other relatives or move to other surroundings (retirement apartments, residential care, intermediate care, skilled nursing facility or other)?
• How can living arrangements be changed to help the person stay in the home or become more independent?
• If outside services are needed, does the impaired person have the resources to pay for them? How can they be obtained? How can we find reliable help?
• Can care be given to the person in need without denying attention to others (spouse or children) for whom the caregiver also has responsibility?
• Do you as the caregiver feel you are equipped to handle your new role?
Answering the above list of questions you are developing your list of needs for the care receiver. But you must also consider the caregivers needs and availability. Both care partners needs must be addressed to have a successful Care Plan.

The questions do not have easy answers and the solution may vary in every situation. The care of an impaired older person can create stress that affects the ability of the caregiver to continue giving necessary levels of care. The stress experienced may be physical, financial, environmental and/or emotional in nature. The caregiver must watch for signs of stress and depression and be willing to adjust care plan to relieve stress levels but accessing additional avenues of support and/or community resources.

For a Needs Assessment Worksheet and additional tools for caregiving or aging, visit www.CaregiversLibrary.organd http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/portals/0/checklistsandforms_needsassessmentworksheet.pdf

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