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Family Caregiver Guide

The goal of this guide is give family caregivers the tools necessary to develop a family caregiver plan.

You can download the full Family Caregiver Plan Worksheet HERE. We we will reference excerpts of the document throughout this article.

One of the most common questions when consulting with family caregivers is simply, “Where to begin?” For most of us dealing with healthcare providers, legal documents and insurance companies is outside of our normal life experience. Like most things, good execution starts with a good plan.

The first step in the caregiving journey is to have a candid conversation (if able) with your loved one (The Care Recipient). In this conversation you will want to discuss care GOALS and identify the PEOPLE that can help you achieve those goals.

You can use the worksheet below to help guide the discussion.

Family Caregiver Goals

After establishing goals and a team of people that can help support the care recipient we start to identify the Areas of Need.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Quick Guide

The goal is to understand what activities of daily living (ADL’s) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) your loved one can no longer complete on their own. Generally, this involves the family caregiver gathering information from a variety of sources including physicians, hospital social workers or professional care managers.

A family caregiver can get a general sense of the care needs by spending time with the care recipient and taking note of what they are struggling with. It is important to not only consider what their current status is but where they will be in the future. You should recognize that their current condition will change and the needs assessment should be updated periodically.

Family Caregiver Needs Assessment
Family Caregiver Needs

Financial Assessment

Along with the immediate needs identified in the "Needs Assessment" its very important to understand the current financial status. Finances will play a large role in determining the plan of care. Each individual has their own financial considerations and a plan of care can be developed for everyone. But it is important to understand exactly what the financial situation is and take the diagnosis or health challenges into account. Depending on the capabilities of the caregiver and the family support additional support services may needed.

You can download an Asset Calculation Tool - HERE.

Common Considerations:

  • Retirement Savings

  • Long term care insurance

  • VA Benefits

Professionals to Consult:

  • Elder Law Attorney

  • Financial Advisor

Forward Plan

After completing the worksheet you should have a general idea of what the needs are, financial resources, who is available to assist with those needs and the gaps in care that exist. You can now make a list of follow up and action items.

We will work through a few examples of how to turn the results from the needs assessment into actionable insights that can improve outcomes.


It is identified that your loved one is struggling to pay bills and manage personal finances. You are able and willing to assist with this responsibility. You should also evaluate if it is necessary to seek a Durable Financial Power of Attorney so you can act on your loved ones behalf. An action item may be to schedule a consultation with an Elder Law Attorney.

Second Example:

You identify your loved one needs assistance getting in / out bed and has had several falls. Your loved one lives alone and you and your family are only available to be with your loved one in the evenings. It is clear you need to come up with a solution for that gap in care. Your action items might include bringing in a medical bed that can be raised/ lowered or evaluating the need for home care and assisted living.


Providing care for someone you love is a difficult task. It often becomes complex and confusing. Hopefully, the tools in this article help clarify the needs of your loved one and help guide you in your family caregiver plan. Questions will inevitable come up, feel free to reach out to our experts on the discussion forum. We are here to help!


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