Becoming a caregiver can be a challenging experience — for both new caregivers and those experienced in the role. We’re here to make the process a little easier with tools and resources to help you care for your loved one. Read on to learn more.
Caregivers — a closer look
Caregiver support starts with recognizing that you are, in fact, a caregiver. Here’s a quick breakdown of an unpaid caregiver’s average time per month:
13 days on tasks like shopping, food prep, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation.
6 days of feeding, dressing, grooming, and hygiene.
13 hours doing research for care, illness, and medical information.
Here are some additional numbers to consider:
96% of caregivers help with daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing.
66% of caregivers monitor care.
63% of caregivers talk with doctors and medical professionals.
50% of caregivers act as an advocate for the recipient with government agencies and services.
The average duration of a caregiving role is about four years.
Besides household chores and rides to the doctor, it may be necessary to help your loved one enroll in a Medicare plan. To help enroll a loved one in Medicare, or even to manage their current Original Medicare, Medigap, or Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to have the following pieces of information handy:
Social Security number, if enrolling in Original Medicare.
Medicare number, if already a Medicare member (you can find this on their red, white, and blue Medicare card).
Other insurance plans and policy numbers.
Contact information for health care professionals like doctors, specialists, nurses, or pharmacists.
List of current prescription drugs and dosages.
Information on current health conditions, treatments, and symptoms.
History of past health problems.
Emergency contacts, such as close friends, neighbors, clergy, or housing manager.
Find the best plan for your loved one with our FREE Caregiver’s Checklist
Our FREE Caregiver’s Checklist simplifies Medicare to help you choose the best plan for your loved one. From breaking down the Medicare basics to providing useful to-do lists and organizational tips, it has everything you need to understand Medicare and your role as a caregiver.
The cost of caring for a loved one can be high — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Fortunately, there are several caregiver support programs that allow family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid for caring for them, including:
The Medicaid Self-Directed Care program lets qualified people manage their own health services. It also lets them hire family members as caregivers in some states.
Long-Term Care Insurance allows family members to be paid as caregivers. But some policies won’t pay family members who live with the person they’re caring for. Contact your family member’s insurance agent for more information. You can also ask the agent for a written confirmation of benefits.
Take time to care for yourself
We understand that it takes a lot of effort to do this job well. And it’s OK to get tired and frustrated once in a while. However, the challenges and stress from providing unpaid care for another person can sometimes build and build and, eventually, have a negative effect on the health of the caregiver. This is called caregiver burnout, and, like any illness, there are symptoms.
What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout is the state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can occur when a caregiver has reached their limit and does not have enough support or a healthy way to deal with the stress.
If you or somebody you know starts exhibiting some of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from caregiver burnout:
Loss of interest in things that the caregiver used to enjoy
Sudden emotional outbursts
Problems at work
Problems with a spouse
Sudden change in weight
Increased use of drugs or alcohol
If these symptoms sound a little too close to home for you or somebody you know, it may be time to get a little extra help. You can find a list of caregiver support groups and resources at USA.gov.
Talk to Highmark’s Medicare experts today
Our Licensed Medicare Advisors can help with caregiver support, too. Schedule a one-on-one consultation at our Medicare Reservations page to learn more.
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