Creating a Plan to Care for a Loved One

Many of us will one day be responsible for caring for a family member or other loved one. In many cases, it’s difficult to know where to begin. With that in mind, we’ve created this checklist of questions that you should ask yourself and/or your loved one as you create your plan. The questions are broken into subgroups that cover important topics you will want to discuss, along with suggestions and tips every step of the way.


Questions to Get You Started

What Kind of Long-Term Care does Your Loved One Want?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to your loved one about his/her health and information from recent health exams.
  • Begin thinking about how you will plan for care together.

Have you located important passwords, documents, and other information related to financial accounts, wills, and investments?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to your loved one about why you need this access.
  • Begin collecting the information.
  • If your loved one has a safe deposit box, make sure that you have access or a plan to get access if you need it.

Who Else Will Help Plan for Care or Help Care for Your Loved One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to those who will help with planning early in the process to let them know what you are doing.
  • If you are planning alone, create a list of everything that must be done and determine where you need help. Create a list of everyone who you believe can help you, including relatives, friends, and outside resources.
  • Talk to the people on your list to determine if they are suitable and comfortable with helping.
  • Look into local resources to see if there’s help for home care, adult day care, meal delivery services, and more.

How Will You Cope with the Challenge of Caring for Your Loved One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Do not feel bad – in almost all cases, caring for a loved puts strain on the individual responsible. Stay positive, accept this reality, and do your best to find solutions.
  • Talk to someone you trust about the situation if you feel comfortable.
  • Come up with a plan for managing stress. Research support groups and other activities that may help you.
  • Make sure that you stay healthy. Proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep are important.

Questions to Determine the Right Care

What Kind of Care Does Your Loved One Need, Both Now and Years from Now?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Learn about different options for long-term care. Consider starting at the US Department of Health and Human Services’ LTC website.
  • Find out if your loved one prefers home care or a LTC facility.
  • You may want to speak to a professional about your options.

Is Home Care Right for Your Loved One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Learn about home care and the different options available to your loved one.
  • Find local providers and speak to a few.

Is Assisted Living Right for Your Loved One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Learn about assisted living facilities to become knowledgeable about what they offer.
  • Plan a visit to local facilities.

Is a Nursing Home Right for Your Loved One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to your loved one and to his/her health care provider.
  • If the answer is yes, begin researching options, then plan a visit to local nursing homes.

Does Your Loved One Have a Health Condition, Physical or Mental, that may Require Specialized Care?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to your loved one and to his/her health care provider.
  • If the answer is yes, begin researching options for the specialized care that your loved one needs, then plan a visit to local facilities.

Questions About Costs and Insurance

How Much Will It Take to Pay for Your Loved One’s Care?

Tips and Suggestions:

How Much Will Medicaid and Medicare Cover?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Find out if your loved one is eligible for Medicaid. Start at the official Medicaid website.
  • Look into your loved one’s Medicare coverage.

Does Your Loved One Have Private Insurance?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Talk to your loved one about his/her private insurance.
  • Find the documentation and identification card for the policy.
  • Learn about the coverage that your loved one’s insurance provides.

Does Your Loved One Have LTC Insurance? Does Your Loved One Need It?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Find out if your loved one is currently insured. If yes, find the documentation for the policy and determine if coverage is sufficient.
  • If no, learn about long-term care insurance, then if appropriate compare quotes from multiple insurance companies.

Legal Questions

Can Your Loved One Continue to Make His/Her Own Decisions?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Consult with an eldercare or family attorney for advice.
  • Talk to your loved one and other family members or important people in your loved one’s life.

Does Your Loved One Have Any Final Wishes?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Research options for funerals and other options such as cremation services.
  • Talk to your loved one and discuss options. Locate important documents.

Does Your Loved One Have Advanced Directives? Does Your Loved One Need Any?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Learn about options for advanced directives.
  • Talk to your loved one and locate important documents.

What Should You do About Power of Attorney?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Research power of attorney, options, and procedures.
  • Consult with an estate attorney for advice.
  • Talk with your loved one and discuss options. Locate important documents.

Does Your Loved One Have a Will? Can You Help Create One?

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Research power of attorney, options, and procedures.
  • Consult with an estate attorney for advice.
  • Talk to your loved one and discuss options. Locate important documents.