Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Caregiving Resources

Information for family caregivers and those caring for aging or chronically ill adults

Caregiving 101

Most people take care of others throughout their lives, in ways big and small, on occasion or habitually. But the decision to look for a regular caregiver, or to become a caregiver for another adult on an ongoing basis, is a big deal. Sometimes that decision follows a catastrophic event - a new diagnosis, or an accident - but more often it grows slowly, with the increasing realization that "it's time".

However it happens, here's some useful advice and things to think about, as you ponder being a caregiver for a family member, friend or loved one:

Many parts of a caregiver's job can go un-remarked, which is why the Atlas of Caregiving project documents the wide range of activities caregivers engage in. The Atlas' list of various aspects of caregiving may help you think about (and arrange for) care now, and anticipate future needs. While everyone's experience is different, it may be also useful to read about them, to see what you have in common. 

Caregiving can be short-term, when recovering from an injury or illness:

When thinking about what caregivers do, we tend to focus on health concerns and activities of daily living. But many people also need help with managing their finances - and that could be a major part of a caregiver's duties.

Caregiving is universal, as these videos in English, Spanish, Hmong, Khmer, and Somali, made for the Minneapolis Twin Cities region, explain.

Caregiver Tutorials

Checklists and tip sheets can be essential tools for a care plan. The Family Caregiver Alliance has many videos on key caregiver skills (managing medications, nutrition, home safety, hygiene, transfer skills, self-care) organized into playlists. 

Here's one video from that series, about keeping track of medications:

Checklists, tip sheets, and How-Tos are also invaluable. Besides these links, you might want to look at the checklists included in the other tabs for this guide.

Caregiving has its own jargon, with sometimes-confusing terminology. AARP's glossary gives useful definitions:


​Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional. 

About PlaneTree Health Library

PlaneTree Health Library's mission is to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free health and medical information. In operation since 1989, it is a free, public, patient and consumer health library and  501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It does not take advertisements; recommendations are independent of any commercial relationship.

Visit our online information guides linked from our main website at:

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators / copyright holders.