I am a caregiver. What do I need to know to be of assistance to my loved one?
A caregiver is an individual providing help, support, and/or assistance to someone who is either temporarily or permanently unable to function, or someone who can function but not optimally.
Most caregivers are unpaid and often times a family member, friend or neighbor. Formal caregivers are paid care providers or volunteers associated with a service system.
It’s important to know that nearly one-quarter of all people 65 and older in the United States are functionally disabled or in need of some form of long-term care. In most cases, friends and family are the sole sources of assistance. Because these friends and family members are unpaid, caregivers work either full or part-time, in addition to providing care to the individual in need of assistance. On average, caregivers provide 21 hours of support per week. The average length of care is 4.3 years.
If you are a caregiver, there are several things you need to know about your loved one. You may have to bring up some uncomfortable topics with your loved one, such as end-of-life issues and finances. While it may be difficult to have these discussions, it is important that you talk to your loved one to ensure that they get the best possible care. A complete review of their medical history, current Medicare health plan, and future wishes are crucial to assisting your loved one during this time.
If you are caring for a loved one with Medicare, you should know:
- How does your loved one get their Medicare benefits? What doctors and services do your loved one’s Medicare provider cover?
- What conditions do they have? What medications do they take? What conditions and surgeries have they had in the past?
- Where do they keep documents like their emergency contact list, the names and contact numbers of their doctors, birth certificate, Medicare card and bank statements?
- In the event that they can no longer communicate their wishes, what kind of treatment would they want? Have they legally appointed someone to make decisions on their behalf?
- Can your loved one pay for current health care needs? Will they be able to in the future? If they need it, will they be able to afford long-term care (at home or in a living facility)?
- What kind of medical and prescription drug coverage does your loved one have?What kinds of services does your loved one’s health plan cover? Where else can you find services to help your loved one?
If you find that you need assistance in reviewing and assisting your loved one with an annual review or comparing plans that continue to meet their medical and financial needs, please contact a licensed sales agent at Medicare Pathways. You can contact us at 866-466-9118 to discuss the options for your loved one. You can also run a quick quote by clicking here.