Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Does your family member need care

Perhaps the most important decision that you might face as a potential family caregiver is “How do I know that my family member or friend needs care?”

Everyone’s situation is unique. The caregiving role can be insidious. It may be a gradual process such that over time you find yourself doing more and more until one day you have to make decisions about things you never thought about before. Or, the need for care may be precipitated by a crisis situation such as a fall, accident or acuteillness. Whatever your situation, you will have some decisions to make. A basic rule of thumb is to talk with the family member and adhere to their thoughts and wishes. In some cases, care and support is unquestionably required, but the family member is resisting any help at all. It is very difficult - but important to be able to allow someone to live at risk. Sometimes a person has to go into crisis before a change can be made. As long as they are of sound mind, you can not force someone to do anything they don’t want to do. In this case, the only thing you can do is to prepare yourself by learning about the services available and how to access them. Regular contact and reassurance that you are supporting their right to autonomy can go a long way to dealing more smoothly with an emergency when it arises.

The decisions you make will be unique to your family - there are no right or wrong decisions about care.

There are many factors to consider that might help you with your decision, for example:

  • Compromised physical or mental health
  • Inability to maintain a job
  • Poor hygiene
  • Missed meals
  • Malnutrition
  • Incontinence
  • Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
  • Mental confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Signs of depression
  • Wandering
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor decision-making
  • Unpaid bills
  • Limited mobility
  • Inability to drive
  • Lack of access to transportation
  • Lack of a social network
The decisions you make will be unique to your family

Once you decide that your loved one needs some form of support or care, there are many resources to seek out.