Caring for a loved one is a huge responsibility. For many caregivers, there doesn’t appear to be enough time in the day to take time out to research new advances in medicine, new medications, choices, and much more. I cannot stress the importance in doing this work. While it may appear that it interferes with your daily routines and responsibilities, think about the time it will save you in the long run when you are forced to do this work. By being aware in all the areas that are necessary, you and your loved one will benefit greatly by your preparation.

Finding Information:



Other Sources:

·Associations and Organizations
·Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Professionals, Therapists
·Support Groups, Therapists
·Senior Centers
·Area Agency On Aging
·Elder Law Attorneys
·Assisted Living Facilities or Nursing Homes
·Childcare Facilities
·Friends and Family
·Legislators – Politicians
·The Person You Are Caring for

Making Informed Decisions:

Frequently, most likely, you will be thrown into the position of having to make a snap decision. Will you have enough knowledge to make a good decision?

I remember when my mother was rushed to the hospital. Tests revealed her salt levels were just a point or two above critical. Her symptoms were almost like a dementia, not recalling short-term events and remembering things from the past very clearly. The doctor warned me that they would have to delicately bring her salt levels back into balance or she might suffer permanent damage. There was a great deal of talk about her having to go into a rehabilitation facility.

Thus began my in depth research for nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities by myself and with her social worker from the hospital. Having to make a decision without prior discussion as to what my mother would have wanted was heart wrenching. Knowing what was available and the choices available made it easier and comforting. What if this occurred while I was out of town on a business trip or vacationing? How could I have dealt with it then?

Caregivers tend to adjust and fall into a pattern when things are stable but what if an emergency crisis arises? What then?

The best thing you can do is to sit quietly for a few minutes and clear yourself of the emotional trauma that may have taken hold of you. Ask for guidance and direction from God or the Higher Power to help you make the best choice.

Write down the decision that you are faced with. List two columns. Head one column “pros” and the other “cons.”

In filling in the columns ask yourself the following questions?

  • Do I understand what is involved?
  • Do I need more information from doctors,
  • a professional, and your family?
  • Is there anyone who can help me make this decision?
  • Will the decision be for the highest good of the carerecipient as well as yourself?
  • Will the needs of your loved one be met?
  • Will anyone be hurt or at risk as a result of the
  • Must I make an immediate decision or can it wait?

Gather as much information from whatever resources you need to make a wise decision. Most of all keep your loved one informed and involved in the process if they have their mental faculties in tact. By weighing the pros and cons, you will be able to make a clearer more informed decision.

Remember to trust in your judgment. Know that all your decisions will work out for the highest good of those concerned. This will cut down on the guilt feelings you may experience as a result of the decisions. The phrase I keep in mind is that we are in the right place, at the right time for the right reasons. There is no right or wrong way when you approach your decision methods in this fashion.


Richest Blessings,



  • 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.