Grandmother with her caregiver granddaughter.

Caring for a Loved One – Five Questions to Determine if you are a Caregiver

by Christine Steinmetz, J.D., Hotline Attorney

Grandmother with her caregiver granddaughter.The Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors receives many calls each week regarding caregivers. There comes a time in many people’s lives when they are unable to take care of themselves and may need to seek the help of others. It may be as simple as having someone come in and help prepare meals or go food shopping. Or, it may be a need for full-time care or even court involvement, such as a having a conservator or guardian appointed.

The post is the first in a new series regarding caregivers. The purpose of this post is to help you understand the roles and responsibilities of a caregiver. Many people prefer to age in place and want to remain in their home. If a person finds that their health is declining, they may seek the help of someone else to assist them with their day to day needs. 

Many of us at some point in our lives will be a caregiver. A caregiver is defined as someone who provides direct care to another person. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you determine if you are a caregiver to a loved one:

  • Are you taking care of their personal needs such as bathing, personal care, toiletry, and medication?
  • Do you find that you are cleaning their home, buying food for them, or preparing meals?
  • Do you help them with their finances, such as going to the bank for them, paying their bills, writing checks, or dealing with their financial institutions or financial professionals?
  • Do you transport them to and from the store or doctor’s appointments?
  • Do you find yourself coordinating doctor’s appointments, medical treatments, and visits with family members and loved ones? Hiring medical help?

These are just a few questions. However, if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you are a caregiver. In the past, many of the roles of a caregiver were performed by trained health professionals. However, today people spend less time in the hospital than they did in the past. This means the caregiver is often a family member, partner, friend, or neighbor who is providing care on a day-to-day basis. A caregiver provides both the emotional and physical support that is crucial to a person’s well-being.

You may notice that there were no questions regarding the caregiver being paid. Although some people may hire paid caregivers, many caregivers are unpaid family, partners, friends, or neighbors that provide care out of love and affection. There are caregiver’s contracts that can be drafted and will be discussed in a later post.

In our next post, we will discuss the steps to take before you need a caregiver’s services. If you are a caregiver or have questions regarding caregivers, please contact the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors at 800.347.5297 and our hotline attorneys will be happy to answer your questions.

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