As a caregiver for a spouse or a parent, it is important to make sure you have important information stored in a safe place. For the next several weeks we will include lists for you to print out. These lists will provide research that you will need to take action with so that your caregiving role will be easier. If you have professional assistance or Hospice, this information will be of great value in many ways for them to learn more about your loved one.

You will be able to print out each list so you may create a notebook which will contain all the information you need to know about your loved one. This is especially helpful if you are a long distance caregiver. However, it is equally important to be knowledgeable about all the information you will learn about.

Types of Checklists:·

  • Action Plan For Caregivers
  • Checklist For Families Providing Basic Needs
  • Deciding How and When to Step In·Providing Basic Needs
  • Medical History List Which Includes Medications
  • Personal Documents·Your Loved One’s Preferences
  • Emergency Documents·Hiring Care on Your Own
  • Providing Basic Needs·Incontinence
  • Evaluating Care Options·Medication Do’s and Don’ts
  • Proper Lifting Techniques·Taking Away The Keys Providing Basic Needs
  • Adapting to New Living Arrangements Providing Basic Needs
  • Financial Payment Sources Housing Needs Assessment
  • Home Care Services·Home Safety
  • Preparing the home·Nursing Home Assessment
  • Funeral Planning A Caregiver’s Action Plan

By setting up a plan of action, your role as a caregiver will run smoother. You will be able to take control of your life while caring for your loved one. Remember that by taking action, you have begun taking responsibility for your own personal well-being. This is the most important factor in remaining balanced so you can care for your loved one with more love and effectiveness.

The following is a checklist that you may choose to follow. You may find only some suggestions useful. You may also add ideas that come to mind as you read through them.

  • I will seek all the help I can find.·I will allow my family to help.
  • I will involve my family in decisions.
  • I will share the burdens of caregiving with others, especially other caregivers.
  • I will research all aspects of their illnesses, the courses of action and will remain well informed. I will allow a sufficient amount of time to do the research properly. I will check out as many options as I am able to do. I will research all costs involved and who pays for it.
  • I will set short and long term goals for my carerecipient and myself. I will learn what I need to do and the reasons for it.
  • I will write everything down in an organized manner. This includes dating all my notes, records, goals, ideas, phone numbers, questions, answers, promises, appointments, chores, and decisions. I will keep them in a planner or in one location so I will know where everything is when I need it.
  • I will work at understanding the emotions I will go through such as: confusion, anger, guilt, hurt, anxiety, depression, fear, etc, knowing fully that these feelings are all part and parcel for the role of caregiver.
  • I will stop trying to be perfect and in control of everything. I will be realistic about what I can and can’t do. I will be assertive and set boundaries when necessary.
  • I will be prepared for the unexpected as well as the expected. I will remember the only guarantee in life is that there are no guarantees.
  • I will take care of my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs.
  • I will remain in contact with the outside world.
  • I will plan for the future to the best of my capabilities with the given situation at hand.
  • I will work at learning better tools to communicate with the person I am caring for, even if communicating becomes difficult.
  • I will recognize and admit when I am in denial.
  • I will define my objectives into one concise statement when it comes to decision-making and problem solving.
  • I will list all constraints such as time, money, etc. that come up in my role as a caregiver. I will list all possible solutions by evaluating their pluses and minuses.
  • I will do whatever is necessary to find the proper care for my carerecipient so that they receive the right care and the proper quality of life they deserve.
  • I will recognize when I am burned out and get the professional help I need.
  • I will remain clear, focused and loving as I commit to doing my best to serve my loved one with compassion and understanding.

This Caregiver’s Action plan, as you can see encompasses the majority of issues you will encounter as a caregiver. Again, work with the list as you see fit. Make the choice to fulfill your role as best as you can with love and care.


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.