• You may not be able to choose what happens to you and your family, but you can choose how you respond.
  • When dealing with doctors and medical personnel, give input and ask questions. You’re an important member of the healthcare team.
  • Assertive caregiving takes work, but it pays off for everyone involved. Keep yourself well-informed about your loved one’s condition.

Caregiving can make demands on you that you never would have expected. But even when a difficult caregiving situation is thrust upon you, you have choices in how you respond. Your caregiving duties may indeed limit the range of options available to you, but you can still live a full, rewarding life, even if it’s not one you would have expected.

Next Step

Caregiving brings about changes in your relationships. Learn how to respond.

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Start by making a conscious decision to be an effective, assertive caregiver. Taking ownership of your role goes a long way toward preventing feelings of victimhood from interfering with your caregiving.

A big part of assertive caregiving is addressing future concerns now, instead of waiting to respond to a crisis. Write down your caregiving worries, alongside their causes and realistic things you can do now (if any) to address them. If you haven’t done so already, get your loved one’s and your own advance directives in place as soon as possible.

Some otherwise assertive caregivers become passive when dealing with medical professionals. Remember that as a caregiver, you’re an important member of the healthcare team. Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition, provide input, and ask questions.

Like you, doctors and nurses have a number of responsibilities competing for their time and attention; the squeaky wheel often does get the grease. Being assertive doesn’t mean challenging every little annoyance. Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Even when you don’t get what you ask for, you make your needs clear to yourself and others. By defining them, you preserve your own sense of worth. (It’s very hard to feel hopeless and assertive at the same time.) By being “pushy,” you also contribute to the well-being of other caregivers and help doctors understand caregivers’ needs. Remember that millions of caregivers are facing similar challenges.

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and National Family Caregivers Association.


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Family CareGroups

Caregiving gets easier when family and friends pitch in. Family CareGroups give you simple tools to organize tasks and keep everyone coordinated.

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Family CareGroups

Learn more and purchase this book by Suzanne Mintz, President and Cofounder of the National Family Caregivers Association.

It’s filled with important and useful suggestions for family caregivers from a family caregiver herself.

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Tools for Planning

Use the following tools to get yourself organized and prepared for caregiving.

Goal Setting

Personal SWOT Analysis

Tasks, Worries, & Attitudes

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