| Tue, Sep 24, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Caring for a loved one? Learn how to get caregiver support.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

caregiver supportYour role as a caregiver—whether you’re a spouse, family member or friend—can be both rewarding and challenging. There may be times you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Being a caregiver means you may have stress, loss of sleep, and poor personal health. It is important to learn ways to take care of yourself if you want to keep taking care of a loved one.  

There are several reliable resources that may help you with your role as caregiver. One option is the Well Spouse Association, a community of caregivers who understand the challenges of providing care for a chronically ill and/or disabled spouse or partner.

While seeking support through online communities, you may also want to consider taking the advice of Medicare.gov.

Identify local support services.

Local agencies can help connect you to services and benefits such as adult day care, respite care (temporary breaks for caregivers), training programs, and other caregiving services, like Eldercare Locator.

Make connections with others.

Sharing experiences with others can help caregivers manage stress, reduce feelings of isolation, and recognize that they are not alone. Caregivers should find someone they can talk to about their feelings, like a fellow caregiver, clergy, friend, family member, or therapist.

Ask for help.

Speak up when you need support or assistance. Help can come from community resources, family, friends, and professionals. Consider getting help to manage meals, transportation, social activities, and services to assist with other daily needs. Visit Lotsa Helping Hands, a service for creating private online communities where family and friends can stay informed and easily provide assistance to caregivers, share a common calendar, and find additional resources.

Take care of your own health.

Managing your own health is important to make sure you are healthy enough to help others. Eat properly, get regular exercise, and set aside some time each week to do something you enjoy. Continue to get regular check-ups and see your doctor if you experience any health problems.

Another good resource is Ask Medicare. They offer practical advice and information on enrolling in Medicare, choosing a prescription drug plan, finding state and local resources to support caregiving tasks, accessing in-home services, and have an e-newsletter with the latest Medicare updates.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Support for Caregivers: UnitedHealthcare

Caregiving: Get resources, stories and newsletters.

Wellspouse.org: Get the support you need from other caregivers.

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