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Creating a Caregiving Team

Amy Goyer, AARP's home and family expert, is a caregiver to her parents. There was a point in time when she needed to develop a caregiving team. Trying to care for her parents kept her from taking care of herself, so she made a list of everyone who helps her so she could support her parents. 

If you're building a caregiving team out of family members, make sure you hold regular meetings with them to discuss the care plan. Determine how much it will cost to care for your loved one or to hire senior care services. It may also help to set up an agreement in writing. 

Oftentimes, friends and other family members will ask you if they can help provide care. When they offer, make sure you have a list of items and/or tasks for which they can be responsible. Even taking a trip to the grocery store can really take some of the stress off of caregiving. 

It's a good idea to figure out the legal issues of caring for your parents. They may need powers of attorney for health care as well as finances. A will or living will can help with determining who handles finances and other legal documents. 

There are a number of community resources available so contact a local government agency or center to find staff that can help. Churches sometimes offer services to older people and many community-based offerings are free. 

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