For drawing an Atlas CareMap, the three key starting questions are: Who all do you care for? Who else cares for them? Who cares for or supports you?
Our working definition of “providing care” or “caregiving” is: everything you do to assist a relative or friend due to that person’s illness, disability, injury or frailty, and that you do for your own health.
We leave it to you to decide whether some action is just normal interaction, or something extra “due to that person’s illness …”.
Here are some categories of types of care:
Care Coordination, such as:
- Keeping family and friends informed
- Managing family and paid home care aides
- Managing community services (paratransit, meals on wheels, etc.)
Financial, such as:
- Providing direct financial support
- Providing reassurance of financial support when needed
Healthcare Management, such as:
- Arranging appointments
- Communicating with health professionals
- Visits with health professionals
- Buying prescriptions and supplies
- Managing insurance and payments
- Researching conditions and treatments
- Researching healthcare costs
Household Chores (sometimes referred to as IADLs), such as:
- Getting / Moving / Using things
- Managing bills and savings
- Transportation to/from home
Medical Activities (sometimes referred to as nursing tasks), such as:
- Assisting with consumption of medications and supplements (including injections, IVs, oxygen, etc.)
- Helping with exercises and therapies
- Managing medications and supplements (including organizing, reminding, and tracking)
- Preparing and maintaining medical equipment
- Preparing special meals
- Tracking symptoms and body measurements (weight, blood pressure, etc.)
- Wound management
Personal Help (sometimes referred to as ADLs), such as:
- Bathing and toileting (including assistance with incontinence)
- Dressing and grooming
- Getting in/out of bed, chair, etc.
- Moving around the home
Social / Emotional, such as:
- Providing companionship and emotional support
- Planning and supporting participation in social activities
Other, such as:
- Everything else!
For the third question — Who cares for or supports you? — we expand this to include actions that allow a caregiver the time, space or money to care for someone else. For example, a sibling gives money so that the caregiver can leave work to care for a parent, or a neighbor mows the lawn so that the caregiver has more time to care for a child.