| Thu, Nov 10, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

November is National Caregiver Month: Find Resources to Help Care for a Loved One

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

describe the imageAn estimated 65.7 million American serve as unpaid family caregivers, making families—not social service agencies, nursing homes or government programs—the number one provider of long-term health care in the United States.* Taking care of a loved one can be rewarding, but also time consuming and difficult. There are many resources available to help caregivers take good care of their loved ones—and help take care of themselves.

Caring Locally or from Afar

Whether you live close to your loved one or are caring from afar, do your best to learn about your loved one’s medical, financial, social and emotional needs. Suggest that your loved one give written permission to allow a caregiver to access medical and financial information, and keep a schedule for connecting with your loved one regularly, as well for as checking in with your loved one’s doctors and other caregivers.

LotsaHelpingHands.com is a website where family and friends can create a private online community for updates about a loved one’s needs. Use the common calendar to share tasks and schedules, view important information, like contact numbers for your loved one’s doctors, and keep important information on health conditions.

Find Assistance

Perhaps you need help understanding a complex medical condition, or you simply aren’t able to do everything you need to do to take good care of a loved one. Consider utilizing a support service.

Access to Respite Care and Health (ARCH) connects caregivers with respite help (respite care provides temporary breaks to caregivers). Contact ARCH online or at 1-800-473-2737.

Eldercare can help connect you to resources available in your loved one’s community, like adult day care, respite care, training programs and support groups. Call Eldercare at 1-800-677-1116, TTY 711, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

UnitedHealthcare’s Solutions for Caregivers is a national program helping caregivers find a customized assessment, coordination of resources and caregiver coaching. You don’t have to be a UnitedHealthcare member or live near your loved one to use these services.

Through the Solutions for Caregivers program, you can purchase:

  • An onsite assessment and personalized care plan,
  • Help interviewing home health care aides or homemaker service providers,
  • Coordination of services,
  • Help advocating for your loved one for insurance coverage,
  • Assistance understanding important documents, like power of attorney and advanced directives, and more.

Take Advantage of Financial Benefits for Caregivers

If you provide care and financial support for an older adult, you may be eligible for certain tax breaks or other financial help. Learn more about:

* Sources: National Alliance for Caregivers Study: The EvercareSurvey of The Economic Downturn and its Impact on Family Caregiving (April 2009) and AARP: Valuing the Invaluable, A new look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving (June 2007)

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. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Medicare.gov’s Caregiver Support

AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center

Eldercare’s Caregiver Tips

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