Caregiver resources: caring for the caregiver

A life of caregiving can last days or years depending on the situation. No matter the length of time, all caregivers face the same challenges, and at some point, may neglect their own health. Through it all, it’s important to find people and resources who can give you support. Our wellness guide offers tips and ideas to help you care for yourself.

Self-care for caregivers

Caregiver wellness tips

 

As you learn your new routine as a caregiver, don’t forget to make time for your own wellness. Cooking healthy meals, getting enough sleep and making time to exercise are important for your health and can help you provide better care for your loved one(s).

 

During this time, it’s important that you feel supported and cared for as well. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to find the right help and resources. The CenterWell team welcomes your questions and is happy to assist you with your transition.

 

Managing caregiver stress and burnout

 

Caring for someone you love can take a toll on your mental health. In addition to the stress of health complications, you’ll likely be navigating several changing dynamics in your relationship with your loved one. Whether you’re caring for your spouse, parent, child or someone else, it can be challenging to take on a new role.

 

To avoid stress and burnout, make sure you take time to develop your own routine. Set aside time to enjoy a cup of coffee to yourself, chat with a friend or take a walk. These stress management tools can bolster your wellbeing while you care for your loved one.

 

If you need help managing the stress of being a caregiver, don’t be afraid to ask for others to help shoulder the responsibilities as well.

Caregiver tips for navigating Medicare

Medicare 101

 

Health insurance can be confusing, and when navigating your loved one’s Medicare plan, it's important to know the basics and understand what is covered.

 

Medicare Parts A and B are what’s known as Original Medicare. This covers hospital and medical insurance. Original Medicare is free for people aged 65 and older, younger individuals with disabilities, and people with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

 

Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs and can be added on to your loved one’s plan, as well as a supplemental Medicare coverage (Medigap), which covers some of the out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

 

Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an all-in-one plan provided by private insurance companies. These plans cover everything that Original Medicare covers, as well as additional benefits, depending on your provider.

Reimbursements

 

Your loved one’s doctor will handle the Medicare billing process for you. However, you may on occasion be billed up-front for your loved one’s care and have to file for Medicare reimbursement. Our team can help walk you through the claims process and ensure you have everything you need to file a reimbursement claim.

Caregiver tips for doctor visits

Preparation tips

 

Preparing for your loved one’s doctor visits can help you maximize your time with their physician. To eliminate stress, keep a list of any questions you have for their doctor as you care for them between visits. It also helps to keep all important documents together for easy reference — including insurance information, previous doctor’s instructions, recent lab results, prescription information and a list of any relevant specialists.

 

If your loved one is a new patient at CenterWell, you can even download new patient paperwork and fill it out before coming in for their first appointment.

Prescriptions

 

As a caregiver, you’ll likely be managing your loved one’s prescriptions as well. Make sure you understand how to administer each medication according to their doctor’s instructions, as well as any side effects to look out for.

 

Your loved one’s prescriptions may or may not be covered by their Medicare plan, so be sure to ask their Medicare agent if you are unsure.

Caregiver tips for handling legalities

Power of attorney

 

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives one person the power to act on behalf of another person. This can apply to legal decisions about their property, finances and medical care.

 

Depending on the severity of your loved one’s health condition, you may need to speak with a legal advisor about filing a power of attorney. This document can provide peace of mind for you and your loved one, knowing that their care and finances are secure if unpredictable health events should occur.

 

Caregiver FMLA rights

 

Did you know that as a caregiver, you have legal rights in the workplace that protect your job? The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 gives employees the right to take time off to care for an ill dependent, including your child, spouse or parent.

 

If you have any questions about your rights as a caregiver, or the resources available to you, don’t hesitate to reach out. The CenterWell team is here to support you and your loved ones through this time.

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