Regardless of the number of people in our care or the responsibilities we’ve taken on, it helps to remind ourselves that we can only handle one task at a time. Giving ourselves to each task without the burden of fatigue, guilt, or resentment will help us naturally discover the special meaning it has in our lives.


Take advantage of automatic bill pay and direct deposit of social security and pension checks.

Arrange for yourself durable power of attorney, which gives you the right to manage the financial aspects of your parents’ lives.

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Have homecare nursing and physical therapy services evaluate your parents’ home. Are the lights bright enough? Are throw rugs a hazard?

Obtain a MedicAlert bracelet to alert health care professionals to allergies and special medical needs.

Make a list of your parents’ current support system: doctor, lawyer, accountant, church or temple, friends, and neighbors.

Sit down with your parents and help them complete a Health Care Directive, Advance Care Plan, or Living Will. This is essential to knowing their understanding of their current health and preferences for medical treatment if they are unable to direct their own care.


Below is a sample of resources available for caregivers. In a role that can feel very isolating, it is helpful to know that many people are in the same situation and that there is support., the official US government site for Medicare

Today’s Caregiver, connecting people caring for elderly parents Preventing caregiver burnout

Family Caregiver Support Network

Administration on Aging. National Family Caregiver Support Program

United States Department of Veterans Affairs. VA caregiver support

Caring Connections

Kerstin McSteen is a palliative care clinical nurse specialist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and department editor of The Total Nurse section on


1. Nursing shortage. American Association of Colleges of Nursing Web site. Updated July 15, 2011. Accessed February 22, 2012.

2. Sandwich generation. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Accessed February 22, 2012.