Ben Squires

Caring

5 questions to ask before becoming a carer

5 questions to ask before becoming a carer

Thinking about becoming a caregiver? Deciding to step up and provide care for a loved one is a huge responsibility. Make sure you’re prepared and ask these five vital questions first.

Do I need to hire help?

Just because you’re taking on caregiving duties doesn’t mean you have to be super human. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, whether it’s in the form of a cleaner or someone to take on tasks that you would prefer to outsource. According to Health.com, 40 per cent of caregivers say dealing with incontinence is one of their most difficult task, while 30 per cent say helping relatives bathe is hard as well.

What is my Plan B?

If something should happen to you and your schedule or demands change, it’s important to discuss a back-up plan. As the primary carer, a lot of responsibility will rest on you so make sure you have a Plan B before you need one.

Should I be compensated?

A survey found that 60 per cent of careers adjust their work schedule to look after others, which means either cutting back hours or taking a leave of absence. While you might not want to accept money to care for loved ones, it’s a good idea to have an open discussion with close friends and family about how the responsibilities might impact your life and earning capacity, so that all parties agree on a fair solution.

What is Power of Attorney?

If you are looking after someone with memory loss, you may need to look into a legal document called power of attorney. Talk to family about who should have this responsibilities, and how you will navigate legal issues that could arise.

Who is my support group?

Roughly one in three carers don’t receive any help. Having a strong support network of people you can turn to, even just for a chat, can make a huge difference. You might be surprised by how many people you know are also caregivers.

Related links:

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10 tips for caring for a loved one in long-term care