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Whether you are caring for a disabled child, an aging parent or a frail spouse, someday you will no longer be able to do so. What happens then? It’s imperative that as a caregiver you plan for your successor.

The supports you have put in place over the years may be invisible to the person for whom you are caring. They may even be invisible to others who are helping you and to the person who takes over – if anyone does.

Create a written plan

Do not jeopardize your family member’s life

  • by not writing everything down,
  • by not having a written plan
  • and sharing that plan with others.

No one knows him (or her) like you do.

Create a plan NOW

Do not put it off. Suddenly, unexpectedly, you may need help yourself. You may no longer be able to remember everything or have the energy and focus to write it all down. You may not even be able to communicate.

The keys to a workable plan are information, flexibility and redundancy: layers of backups for every “what if” you and your family member can think of.

Where do you start when planning?

Make a list of:

  • health care providers
  • health conditions
  • medications;
  • a copy of health care directives,
  • financial information and
  • any Durable Power of Attorney or Trust;
  • contact information for relatives, friends and other people who are important to or help your family member.

Then talk with them about making a plan, a plan with backups for everyone, shared information and the preferences of the person being cared for.

Read more for:

Journal of Intent for Special Needs
Care Plans for Special Needs
How to be a caregiver
Becoming a caregiver for a family member
Expert advice for the next generation of caregivers




Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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