Caring for a loved one is a given. But have you ever thought about becoming an official caregiver?

This title is more than a formality. It's something that can get you paid, and can smooth out the caregiving system for your family member. And it's a serious responsibility, so you'll need to make sure you're prepared for the job.

The decision to become a caregiver for a family member is not a light one, but it can be a rewarding and beautiful experience. We'll walk you through what you need to know with our 2020 guide:

Government Assistance

If your family member is a protected veteran or on Medicaid, they might be able to hire you as a caregiver through a government program.

This could be a federal program, like Medicaid, or a state program. If you live in Washington state, for example, you might be covered under the state's Family Caregiver Support Program. Check out your state programs and see if you can get some benefits for being an official caregiver for your family member.

Asking to Become a Caregiver For a Family Member

In addition to filling out paperwork, you'll need to navigate the social aspect of caregiving.

Before making any plans, you should ask your family member whether they really want you to be their caregiver. Don't assume the role is yours just because you're very emotionally close. Your family member could be uncomfortable with life changes you would have to make for the job, or they might already have a different caregiver in mind.

If this happens, try not to take it personally. The choice of a caregiver isn't always an indication of how close two people are to each other. In fact, some people might want a caregiver with a little more emotional distance if they feel shy about the details of their condition.

Sit down with your family member and take the time to learn what they want and need in a caregiver. You may find that there is more to the role than you thought. In some cases, it can be better to share the position with another family member or a professional.

Preparing For the Job

Once everything's in place for the caregiving process, it's time to prepare yourself for what's to come. Being an official caregiver is different from the now-and-then assistance that you may be used to doing.

Figure out a plan of what to do when you can't be available for your family member. See if there's another family member or friend who can fill in for you or a short-term professional caregiver you can talk to.

You should make sure you're there for your family member's needs while also keeping it sustainable for yourself. Make sure you're still making time to do the things you love. And when you're in doubt, you can use these tips to keep your mind on the right track.

All Set to Give Care

After you've talked to your family member, prepared emotionally, and figured out what financial assistance you might be able to get, you'll be ready for your new role as caregiver.

Drop a comment below to tell us about journey toward caregiving and what you learned along the way. In the end, the best way to become a caregiver for a family member is to keep an open mind and take into account everyone's needs, including your own.

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