Do you have a loved one who is either eligible for or already receiving Medicare? They may be able to take care of themselves now, but eventually they may need your help. It’s good to be aware of what’s involved well in advance, so you can prepare for the time when you may need to step in.
Things to Keep in Mind While Considering Medicare for Your Loved Ones
- First of all, you should know that Medicare will not share information with you unless your loved one gives permission. The needed form is called Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information, and it’s best to fill it out and submit it well before it’s needed.
- Ask your loved one for details about their current situation, including overall health condition, special health care needs, and medications; finances; and expectations of future needs.
- Assess your loved one’s current Medicare coverage. Try to ascertain if it’s adequate for the present and future, or whether your loved one would benefit from alternate or additional coverage.
Helpful Medicare Resources
As a caregiver, don’t try to do it alone. You can and should get help. Here are some places you can go:
- The official government Medicare website is www.medicare.gov. You can find a lot of information about Medicare in general, and financial assistance programs if you need them. The site also has information and advice for caregivers.
- If you want to find information on local organizations that help with adult daycare, respite care, and caregiver support groups, try www.eldercare.gov.
- A free online community for sharing information and encouragement is www.lotsahelpinghands.com.
And remember, if you find yourself in the position of care giving for a loved one, be sure to take care of yourself too. Eat healthily, get enough exercise, take time off sometimes and enjoy yourself. Under certain circumstances Medicare also provides respite care if you need to take a break.