When the health of a loved one starts to decline it is not uncommon for other family members to find themselves at an impasse when it comes to how to care for their loved one.
The demands may start out small, and care may be easy at first, but as the needs become greater, tensions and resentment may grow when it comes to issues such as communication, money, and time.
So what do you do if you suddenly find yourself in a difficult situation such as this with your family members?
We have some tips to help you try to prevent issues such as this happening within your family.
- Hold a meeting: You should call a family meeting in order for everyone to be able to share their viewpoint on your loved one’s care needs, and what their expectations are. It helps to have other viewpoints- Even if they oppose yours- someone else may have a thought or idea that you may not have had yet and vise versa. Gently remind everyone to keep an open mind, you all have the same common goal which is the health and safety of your loved one. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open.
- Accept that there is no such thing as fairness when it comes to caring for an elderly family member. Someone is always going to shoulder more of the responsibility than anyone else. It may not be fair, but that is just the way it is. The family and work demands of other caretakers is not going to be equal, and someone inevitably someone will have more responsibility. Anger and resentment robs you of precious time and memories.
- Keep a running list of all the support your family member will need, and be specific! Who will be in charge of meals? Managing the checkbook and bills? Grocery shopping and picking up medications? Transportation to doctor’s appointments? Try to keep a running schedule and everything exact so there is little to no miscommunication. Make sure you have a method to give reminders and accept whatever help other family members are able to provide.
- Identify and contact available help in the community. Here are a few to start:
- Agency on Aging will provide you sites and resources for help. If you have a place of worship, try reaching out to their Senior Ministry to see what support they offer.
- Caring.com offers a list of 12 great caregiver blogs that may have information and stories that you can relate to. The most important thing is that you know that you are not alone.
- Caregiveraction.org offers message boards where you can “meet and chat” with others in similar situations.
- Caregivingcafe.com also has an abundance of information available to caregivers.
When It Comes To The Tough Healthcare Questions:
It is inevitable that an important discussion you will eventually need to have with your loved one is the subject of Medicare.
Some good questions to ask your loved one to help get the conversation rolling are:
What Type Of Coverage Do They Need:
While Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers a broad range of services, they do not cover everything. Your family member will want to decide if they want to stay with Original Medicare, or if they want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap). Medicare Supplement plans can be purchased to complement Original Medicare while Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same basic benefits of Original Medicare, but may also offer some additional benefits such as dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. There are many pros and cons to these decisions but knowing what your loved one needs in the way of medical care is a good start to begin to narrow down the options.
Who Is Their Primary Care Physician?:
If the Primary Care Physician is one that your family member wants to stay with, then you will want to make certain that whatever plan you choose covers visits with their doctor.
What Prescriptions Do They Take:
Compile a list of your loved one’s current prescription medications. You will want to ensure that their medications are covered by whatever plan you choose. Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage, and so participants needing prescription drug coverage will either need to enroll in a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage. Not ensuring proper prescription drug coverage now could be costly in the long run.
How Much Can They Afford A Month:
This might be one of the hardest parts of the conversation to have. How much can your loved one afford? Will you be helping with costs? Could they qualify for any special programs the state offers to help with costs?
With the right information, you can help reduce your caregiver stress, find tips and tricks to help keep your life in balance, find ways to save money, and most importantly, get the best care for your loved one.
If you need assistance working out the nitty-gritty details of Medicare with and for your loved one, our Trusted Medicare Coaches are here for you. We can assist you when it comes to searching for plans available in your loved one’s area, ones they can afford, and ones that will cover all of their medical needs. We take the hard work out of it for you.
Would You Like To Know More? Speak With One Of Our Licensed Insurance Agents Today