MAKING A PLAN
Whether your loved one is living with chronic pain or a movement disorder, your caregiving plan will be as unique as your relationship with your loved one. Your plan can be as simple as a list of daily tasks or as challenging as planning for full-time care. Together, you’ll need to create a plan that’s built around your loved one’s unique needs, their specific symptoms, and your plans and goals for your future.
However, there are a few important first steps you should take together no matter what. Taking these steps as early as possible will help set you up for success as a caregiver – and give you the peace of mind you need to ensure that both you and your loved one will always have the support you need.
START YOUR SUPPORT TEAM
You don’t have to do this alone. Make a list of people who are willing and able to help: family members, friends, and community members. Reach out to patient advocacy groups, clubs, and other local resources, too. Let them know your situation. Learn more about building your support team.
COLLECT KEY INFORMATION
As a caregiver, there will be many times when you need to be able to answer important questions and provide critical information for your loved one. Make sure you have ready access to these key resources and documents:
Including your loved one’s address book or contacts list, and their other legal documents
Including health insurance provider, a list of physicians, medical records and treatment history, medications, and your preferred pharmacy. Collect and organize these important resources as soon as possible. Having them available will make it easier and more efficient for you to make smart, informed choices for both of you.
SHARE YOUR GOALS AND NEEDS
If you didn’t already cover this in your first conversation about caregiving, make sure to do it now. Ask your loved one what their goals and needs are in the short-term – as well as for the future. Realize that these may evolve as their health and treatments change over time. Write them down and review them regularly, so you always share the same expectations for what you want and need from each other.
TALK ABOUT TREATMENTS
Whether your loved one has chronic pain or a movement disorder, their treatment needs may be very different and may change significantly over time. It’s important for you both to know and remember which treatments your loved one has tried, how those treatments have worked, and which treatments your loved one is currently taking.
No matter which condition your loved one is living with, taking these steps early on can help you both prepare to live the fullest life possible together. Depending on whether your loved one has chronic pain or a movement disorder, however, there may also be several other unique decisions and plans you may need to make as a caregiver. Keep reading to learn more about caring for your loved one’s specific condition.
Learn more about caring for someone with chronic pain >
Learn more about caring for someone with Parkinson’s >
Learn more about caring for someone with essential tremor >
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