Did you know that November is Family Caregivers Month?
You are a family caregiver if you are providing care and support to a loved one who is dealing with the effects of aging, disability or illness. It’s estimated that 44 American family members and friends are providing care to an adult which represents about 80% of the long-term care provided in the United States.
Family members and friend provide more care than nursing homes, assisted living homes or home care agencies. The high level of commitment in providing care comes at a personal cost. Caregivers are at high risk for depression, compromised immune systems and heart disease. Family caregivers often incur a loss of wages and benefits due to their commitment to provide the needed support and care for a loved one on a full time or a part-time basis.
While the satisfaction and responsibility of being a caregiver can run high, there are also services and programs to assist caregivers in meeting the needs of their loved ones.
Here are a few free resources available to help family caregivers with the juggle of time, care and money:
Benefits Check Up
BenefitsCheckUp® is a free, confidential, online service to see if you qualify for benefits and take the first steps toward applying for help with prescription medications, medical care, food or heat. Visit www.benefitscheckup.org
Step-by-step help is available in selecting a Medicare plan for the first time or in choosing a new plan during the open enrollment or to obtain answers about how Medicare works and what the program covers. www.mymedicare.com
The Administration on Aging offers this free public service to help connect people to services for older adults and their families. You can also reach Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov
VA Caregiver Support
The Veterans Administration offers this website for caregivers of veterans of all ages, along with a toll-free support line at 1-855-260-3274 or visit www.caregiver.va.gov