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Caregiving for people with disabilities

Posted: October 15, 2020

Last updated date: December 06, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 1 in 4 adults has a disability that impacts major life activities.1 And that number is likely higher for people who are dually eligible to qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. Disability becomes more common with age, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older.2

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The CDC tracks 6 disability types:

  1. Mobility (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs)
  2. Cognition (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions)
  3. Hearing (serious difficulty hearing)
  4. Vision (serious difficulty seeing)
  5. Independent living (difficulty doing errands alone)
  6. Self-care (difficulty dressing or bathing)

If you’re a caregiver for someone with special needs, you may be helping someone with multiple disabilities. You might be helping a family member, friend or child living at home. Whatever your situation, know that there are many resources to help you care for someone with a disability. Read on to become more informed as a disability caregiver.

Caregiving for an adult or child with special needs is not easy

Every caregiver faces different challenges. But one thing most disability caregivers have in common is the large amount of time they devote to the task. On average, family caregivers spend more than 57 hours a week caring for someone with disabilities.3 That’s more than 8 hours a day. All on top of work and other responsibilities, so it’s easy to see why many caregivers can feel overwhelmed.

Resources to help disability caregivers

Caregiver Action Network

An excellent resource with information and educational materials for family caregivers.

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)

The “Family Care Navigator” lists services by state. It’s just 1 of many helpful FCA resources.

ARCH National Respite Network

This site lists resources for family caregivers to get financial help.

Family Voices

Focuses on helping caregivers of children and youth with special needs.

You can have a voice as a caregiver

Make your voice heard. Join other disability caregivers in working to improve public policies nationally and locally. The organizations below make it easy to get involved.

A dual-eligible health plan can make life easier for caregivers too

Dual eligible health plans (also known as Dual Special Needs plans) are for people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. Dual-eligible plans are a type of Medicare Advantage plan. They work together with the members’ state Medicaid plan, which helps make it easier to understand what’s covered by Medicaid and what’s covered by Medicare. UnitedHealthcare dual plans also include care coordination.* That’s a big help when you’re working with multiple doctors, specialists and care services. And it makes life a lot easier for caregivers as well as members.

See UnitedHealthcare plans in your area

Dual-eligible or Medicaid plan benefits can change depending on where you live. Search using your ZIP code to find the right plan to meet your health care needs.

Still have questions

We’re here to help

Contact us at:
1-844-812-5967 / TTY: 711
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

Still have questions

We’re here to help

Contact us at:
1-844-812-5967 / TTY: 711
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.