November is National Family Caregiver Awareness Month. In honor of the millions of humble heroes who provide care for their elderly loved ones, children with special needs, disabled veteran relatives, and everyone else in between, advocates and supporters are gathering around the country to celebrate family caregivers and raise awareness about their tremendous society-enriching contributions.

Did you know National Family Caregiver Awareness Month is also an opportunity to promote public education? In the spirit of the celebration this month, let us share five ways family caregivers can better help their dependent loved ones.

1. Develop Goals Together. Family caregivers provide intimate care, and can also facilitate growth. Ask your dependent loved one about their dreams, both big or small. Help them develop goals, keeping in mind what is realistic right now, and work on achieving them. Meaningful goals, no matter how slight, can help them gain a greater sense of purpose.

2. Do More Research. Whether you are in desperate need of information, or you are casually looking to learn more about your loved one’s condition, doing your own research is key. Taking the initiative can increase your knowledge-base and range of options, and allow you to ask the right questions when visiting with your loved one’s doctor. Always be careful to ensure that you are only exploring reliable sources when researching online. 

3. Pursue Options. If your loved one is not responding to a current treatment, or if you would like to explore new possibilities, do not wait to talk to your loved one’s doctor about his or her treatment options. Ask about new medications, medical procedures and therapies, especially those that fit your loved one’s specific needs.

4. Take the Lead. Taking the lead as a family caregiver is far more advantageous than being a passive consumer of healthcare services. For example, if your loved one is discharged from a hospital, make sure you are properly trained on how to manage his or her at-home care needs. Do not hesitate to push for answers and become an advocate for yourself and your loved ones.

5. Estate Planning. One of the best ways to ensure the well-being of a dependent loved one is to make sure that they are supported in case something happens to you. A sound estate plan can accomplish this in a number of ways, in addition to creating optimal circumstances in the interim. 

We know this question may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact our law firm to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.