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Posts Tagged ‘medicare’

One of the most exhausting and frustrating of caregiving is dealing with medical insurance and Medicare.  

Every policy is different and as you add on various specialists and procedures, well, it even gets more complicated.

Then, there’s Medicare. A whole other enchilada!

Just more to learn about for the already over-committed, over-worked caregiver’s life.

Medicare has taken notice of caregiversand their needs and are “detangling” their information and opening accessability.  

The new site is named, Ask Medicare!  and can be found at:

www.medicare.gov/caregivers

What is the purpose of this site?

•             To build a direct and meaningful conversation between Medicare (CMS) and caregivers;

•             Empower caregivers with information, tools and materials that will help them take action to lead to a healthier life for their loved one and for themselves;

•             Help connect caregivers to Medicare resources and other partner resources

•             Raise community/partner/policy awareness of caregiver issues

•             Foster and support a strengthened caregiver movement

* CMS stand for–Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and is the US federal agency which administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This web page will provide updated, easy to use information and tools to assist caregivers in talking with their loved ones to make a family plan and in making informed healthcare decisions about a variety of topics–from Medicare coverage to technology updates to emotional support.

Knowing what options you have, what benefits you qualify for is crucial to good care.

Here’s what they have to say:

*Ask Medicare was developed in consultation with caregivers and partners to provide answers to common problems and address a wide range of questions about caregiving. We’re reaching out to caregivers who can provide helpful feedback, interact with leaders of this initiative, and ultimately feel confident sharing this resource with their readers.

***

I would have given my eye teeth (what that means, I’m not sure) to have had this access when I was caring for my mom.

Like many of you, I felt like I was “thrown” into the caregiving pool and was trying not to drown. Trying to physically and emotionally care for a person who is already ill, has different insurance than you, is eligable for government benefits that you know nothing about–that you’re supposed to figure out WHILE you’re cutting pills, changing sheets, scheduling doctor appointments, and trying to encouraging and loving–well, it’s more than one person can do.

Add on top of that children, a marriage, and my own personal (sidelined) goals and interests, and it felt like I was heaping more bricks in my wheelbarrow than I could carry. Caregivers had busy, hectic lives before their committed to care for a loved one–and getting clear and concise help is a must.

So go to Ask Medicare! and ask a question. Get familiar with the site. Look around. Share your frustrations and offer suggestions.

This is a great resource for all caregivers, and I hope you’ll get the information and assistance you deserve. Family caregivers are crucial to good care. We keep our loved ones at home and in their communities, we make sure they’re safe and watch out for them as their needs change. We find good care facilities for them when and if it’s necessary.

And we need and deserve all the support we can get.

I’m Carol O’Dell, and I hope you’ll visit my blog again.

I’m the author of Mothering Mother, and a family advisor at www.Caring.com

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Face it, times are tough.

Can you afford to stay in your own home? Are you well enough to manage everything on your own?

Are you recently widowed and wonder if living by yourself is such a good idea?

Are you a boomer or sandwich generationer wondering how to care for/pay for your kids, your parents and save for your own retirement?

You (or your elder loved one) might be the type of person who would rather live in your own home or with someone you know rather than move into a care facility. Besides, care costs are astronomical. Even with medicare and medicaid, there are still a lot of hidden and unexpected costs, not to mention how challenging it is to find a care facility where you enjoy the people and the staff and get the care you need and deserve.

There are many reasons why family caregiving is a great option–it’s easier to take care of your loved ones if they’re living with you, most people prefer being with or near family, you tend to get better care from relatives and close friends, and it’s cheaper.

No wonder 80% of the elderly population rely on family caregiving.

In today’s precarious economy, it might just be a necessity.

I know of several friends and neighbors who had lost their jobs due to downsizing, budget cuts, and forced (or high encouraged) early retirement. Gas is four dollars a gallon and I almost paid ten bucks for a two pound bag of cherries at the grocery store today. I told the cashier I wouldn’t be buying those, thank you very much.

The strapped economy is hitting everyone, particularly the elderly who have to have their meds, pay for rising electricity costs still get to their doctor appointments. These aren’t luxuries. Nursing home costs are staggering, and not all are covered my medicare and medicaid. On average, the daily cost ifor a care facility s $350.00 a day–and memory impaired units range from about $450.-700.00 a day. A day.

But moving in with your adult children might not be ideal either.

Most people want to remain independent for as long as possible.

How do you stay in your own home? 

Plan early. Look into www.aginginplace.org

Consider long term care, but make sure you go with a reputable company who will be in business and honor their contracts for years to come.

  • When you buy what you think will be your last home, consider city, driving distance, doctor’s, care facilities, and senior resources. Can you live there after you can no longer drive? Can you use a community van or are there taxis? Is your home/bedroom on the first floor? Can you manage the maintance of your house and yard? Plan, plan, plan.
  • Buy property and build a smaller house or a garage that could be converted for a caregiver or family member. It’s an investment you’ll get to keep–and when or if you need to sell, it’s only improved your property value.
  • Consder renting a room–to another senior and split certain home or home health care charges
  • Convert a garage or attic and rent to a relative or younger person. You might even consider rent in  in exchange for services–college age, divorcees, and many people would benefit from this arrangement as well as nieces or nephews just starting out in life
  • Build an apartment onto your home–or if you do move into your children’s home, build one onto theirs so you still have privacy and can come and go as you please
  • As time goes on, consider a small group home run by a licensed care worker who only takes in 4-8 persons–ususally, the charges are less although they can do less for you medically, so consider your health and medical needs in making this decision

How to Live with Family Members Without Hating Each Other

  • Establish rules up front–realistically know you’ll have differences and times when you need to talk honestly about what’s bothering you. Make sure you can sit down and do this knowing you’ll be heard and respected–and that you offer the same in return
  • Know that there will be a honeymoon time, aand a time of disillusionment when you wonder if you made the right decision–but also know that this too will pass
  • Accept that change is inevitable. Don’t pine away for what once was–embrace the now and choose to find the good in each day
  • Give each other privacy–still knock and be considerate of quiet, rest, and alone time
  • Be sensitive–if your loved one is acting odd, they might be going through something they can’t share or verbalize–there’s a time to be tender and patient with each other
  • Plan certain meals or times together–but don’t overdo it
  • Hire caregiving or chore help–don’t expect your family to do it all
  • Find ways to be needed and give. Help out–offer to do a consistent job
  • Try not to complain about your health or living conditions–everything may not be perfect, but it still might be better than your other choices
  • Refrain from commenting on their life choices–how they dress, where they go to church (or not), the state of their marriage–do more listening than advising
  • Make friends and connections, don’t rely on your family to be your everything
  • Smile, be easy to get along with, and show gratitude–it’s contagious, so maybe you’ll get some in return
  • If you do have an issue, don’t let it fester. Sit down, say your peace, have a possible solution in mind, and then deal with it and let it go
  • Eventually–about six months to a year after moving in together, you’ll begin to settle in but it may take up to two years for it to feel like home. You might feel lonely at times, lost and undefined.
  • Be sure to reach out to your new community–join a club, a senior citizen center or a church–make new friends–even if it’s hard or scary, it’ll be worth it. We all need friends.
  • Accept your place of honor and dignity–you hold a special place in the family, but you have to know that and own it first before anyone else does. Embody a sense of wisdom, confidence, and respect within yourself–others will begin to sense it when they’re around you.
  • Expect that at some point you’ll have a big fight or misunderstanding. Families do those kinds of things. It’s okay. Forgive each other. Be quick to say, “I’m sorry.” Laugh about it.  Even if there were yelling and pouting involved, so what? People act crazy at times. Who else can you act up with other than your family?

Family caregiving is part of who we are. No amount of money can buy love. If you’re blessed enough to have a brave enough family who are willing to be togehter, love and care for one another in one way or the other, be grateful.

I was a family caregiver. I brought my mother, who had Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, into our home. We built her an apartment onto our home. She lived with us for close to three years. So I know what caregivers face. I know how hard at times, it could be–the physical work, the emotional undertow that gets kicked up, the strain of living together after years of running your own house. All this takes some getting used to.

It’s okay to be mad, hurt, or frustrated with a family member. Families are resilient. They know how to love fierce and forgive easily (or in some cases, eventually). As my friend and fellow author Cheryl Kaye Tardif says, “It’s not about how to live with your family without hating them–it’s about living with your family without killing them! You can hate all you want!”

Emotions come and go. Family committment runs deep.

Life changes and people aren’t perfect, but a family is a great thing to have.

~Carol D. O’Dell

Author of Mothering Mother, available in hardback or on Kindle

www.caroldodell.com

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