Caregiver Support Resources
More than 65 million Americans provide care or have responsibilities for an adult who is chronically ill, disabled or needs help with daily living activities, and one in 10 caregivers lives more than an hour away from the person they're helping. In honor of November's National Family Caregivers Month, here are some tips that can help you manage the responsibilities of long-distance caregiving:
- Get Informed. Learn what you can about the condition of the person you're helping, including medical, physical, financial, social, emotional and safety needs. This information can help you anticipate potential issues and prevent a crisis.
- Contacts and Resources. Create a notebook or folder with vital information about health care, social services, contact numbers, financial accounts and other important information. Ask about written permission to receive medical and financial information.
- Find Trusted "Eyes and Ears." Seek help from people in the immediate community: a next door neighbor, a doctor or perhaps a case manager. Ask them to check in on the person you're caring for and to be your eyes and ears. Encourage them to call if they see anything that concerns them.
- Make a Medication List. Include all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Get doses and schedules. Update the list regularly and keep a copy with you.
- Review Health Care Coverage. If you're helping a loved one on Medicare, now's the time to review their health coverage and find the Medicare plan that best meets their needs. The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) to enroll or change Medicare plans is from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
- Get in Touch and Stay in Touch. Schedule regular calls with doctors and other caregivers to get up-to-date information about the condition of the person you're caring for. Consider conference calls, so other relatives can participate in a single conversation.
- Consider Contacting a Program That Can Help. The Solutions for Caregivers program provided by UnitedHealthcare can help when you are separated from the person for whom you are caring. Their nurses provide an objective assessment of the situation, develop a care plan and discuss recommendations with the whole family.
Caregiver Support Services
View our Take Care of the Caregiver online seminar by Barbara K. Moeller, RN, PHN (aired May 15, 2012).
If you need help understanding a complex medical condition, or you simply aren't able to care for a loved one by yourself, you may need to consider using a support service.
Access to Respite Care and Health (ARCH) connects caregivers to organizations or groups that provide temporary breaks to caregivers. Contact ARCH Opens a new windowonline or at 1-800-473-2737.
Eldercare can help connect you to resources available in your loved one's community, such as adult day care, respite care, training programs and support groups. Call Eldercare at 1-800-677-1116, TTY 711, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Solutions for CaregiversOpens a new window is a national program designed to provide the support caregivers need, and help alleviate the financial and emotional costs of caregiving. Through the Solutions for Caregivers program, you can purchase:
- An onsite assessment for your loved one, followed by a personalized plan of care
- Case management hours that can be used toward:
- Help interviewing home health care aides or homemaker service providers
- Help advocating for your loved one's insurance coverage
- Assistance in understanding important documents, such as power of attorney, advanced directives and more.
- Connecting you to community resources to assist with legal, financial, medical or safety needs
To learn how Solutions for Caregivers can help you visit them online at www.WhatIsSolutionsForCaregivers.comOpens a new window or call 1-877-765-4473 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday - Friday.