Ask for help and create a caregiving team

Ask for help and create a caregiving team

Caregiving is ideally a “team effort,” with multiple people taking on different roles and responsibilities when it comes to those in your care.

Building a caregiving team or network of eyes and ears, can provide important support for you as well as for the people in your care.

If you're caring for a family member who is ill or injured, or looking out for a parent who is aging at home, you are a caregiver. Being a caregiver is a tough role to fill on your own, particularly if their health (or yours) declines.

Building a caregiving team or network of eyes and ears, can provide important support for you as well as for the people in your care. It is also helpful when there is one person designated to coordinate the responsibilities of the team.

Caregivers learning to say “Yes” to help

It is okay to ask for support but you need to remain positive and be specific about how family members and even friends can assist with the caregiving responsibilities. Here are some tips for building a caregiver team that will work well together.

  • Start by creating a list of the areas you need help with.
  • Communicate with those who wish to help and if possible, let them choose the area they wish to help you with.
  • Divide responsibilities into those that can be met by family members or friends, and those that need support from health care providers or paid service providers (e.g., property maintenance). Make sure each family member has input in decision making and arranging for care.
  • Do your best to ensure the assigned caregiving roles fit the needs and preferences of both the family members and the care recipient.
  • Keep caregiving roles flexible and be aware that needs and roles may change over time.
  • Implement a buddy system. Everyone involved in caregiving should have a partner.

Get to know your parents' neighbours

Are your parents continuing to live at home as they age?

If you don't know your parent’s neighbours already, make a point of introducing yourself to them. Explain any concerns you have about your parents, and with their permission, exchange phone numbers so you can call each other if need be.

If your parent’s neighbours are trusted friends, consider giving them an extra house key in case they need to check in on your parents when you can't be there.

Caregiving checklist

Use this caregiver checklist to help you keep track of everyone’s caregiving responsibilities.

Caregiving Responsibilities

Who Can Help



Phone number

Home maintenance (e.g., painting, light repairs)



Laundry (e.g., washing, ironing, shopping for supplies)



Groceries and meal planning

e.g., friends, grocery delivery service


House cleaning



Grass cutting, snow removal, and/or gardening

e.g., neighbourhood teenager


Safety checks (e.g., daily confirmation that the person is safe)



Pet care (e.g., walking, grooming, feeding, vet appointments)

e.g., neighbourhood friend


Daily Living Needs



Transportation to and from appointments

e.g., family member


Bathing and showering

e.g., home care service


Meal preparation



Home safety and adaptations (e.g., removing fall hazards, checking smoke detectors, installing bathtub grip bars)



Social interaction and companionship



Health Care



Arranging doctor / care provider appointments



Communicating with health care providers (asking questions, taking notes) and explaining this information to the care recipient



Medications (e.g., placing orders, picking up, monitoring use)









Paying bills



Accessing benefits (e.g., Registered Disability Savings Plan, Federal Caregiver Tax Credit, Compassionate Care Benefits)



Banking (e.g., knowing the location of all banking and investment accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and any outstanding loans)



Financial planning (e.g., managing investments)



Paying taxes


Sale of assets (e.g., home, vehicle)



Assisting with paying for medical equipment or services






Organizing important documents for access by primary caregiver and a back-up or substitute decision maker



Will (e.g., up to date and securely stored)



Powers of Attorney (e.g., up to date and securely stored)



It’s important to preserve your own health and well being and to avoid caregiver burnout. For more information about caregiver help, take a look at our Elizz article entitled Share The Care – 7 Caregiver Rules.

You will also find a wealth of additional support for caregivers (and for those in your care) on our Elizz services page. 




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