Caregivers – There is Hope!
Serving Families and Individuals in the Anniston, Gadsden, and Talladega, AL Areas
If you are a caregiver to a loved one, you know how difficult it can be. For most, the role of caregiver is forced upon them with little or no notice. As an Alabama caregiver, you probably know better than anyone that good help and clear guidance is hard to find. Information about things such as public benefits, home health care, nursing home care, social security, hospice, etc. is often lacking. It can be overwhelming and confusing trying to determine exactly what your loved one is eligible for and just how much it’s going to cost.
Many caregivers are forced to leave their jobs or to cut back on the amount of hours that they work. As a result, they incur “costs” in the form of lost wages. However, there are also hidden costs in being a caregiver to a loved one such as reduction in quality of life, depression, fatigue and increased stress.
For more information, get a copy of our ABC’s For Caregivers Guide by visiting www.AlabamaCaregiverGuide.com or call us at 256-792-3193 to schedule an appointment to learn your options – there is no cost or obligation.
There are things you can do as a caregiver or potential caregiver to make your life much easier. First of all, you should have the talk or the critical conversation with your loved one about their wishes. Here are some of the main topics to discuss:
- What are your wishes for emergency or end-of-life medical care (i.e. life support, feeding tubes, blood transfusions, organ donation)?
- Are there any lifesaving procedures you would NEVER want?
- Who do you trust to make medical decisions and communicate with your doctors if you are unable to speak for yourself?
- What are your thoughts on long-term care? If it seems you were becoming too sick to live at home, what are your thoughts on assisted living or a nursing home?
- If at all possible, would you prefer in-home assistance?
- If you needed nursing home or in-home care, how would you want us to pay for it? What if Medicare or Medicaid is not an option?
- Do you have a Will, Trust or other estate planning documents in place? Where can we find them and are they up to date?
- Who have you named in your "legal helper" roles (i.e. Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy)? Where can we find the documentation we need to handle your affairs in an emergency?
After having the critical conversation, it is important to make sure that they have they have an updated Alabama Estate plan that includes a Will, Financial Durable Power of Attorney and an Advanced Medical Directive. These three documents are crucial to a proper estate plan. However, just having the documents is not enough. Make sure that the documents are up to date and actually reflect their wishes.
Once you insure that their estate plan is up to date, look into the costs of care and determine how to go about paying for it. According to LongTermCare.Gov, the average cost of long-term care in the United States is $6,000 per month for a semi-private nursing home room and $3,500 per month for assisted living. Care.com cites the cost of a home health aid ranging from $19-$30 per hour, with most supplemental in-home services costing families over $30,000 per year! Medicare only pays for a short period of time and does not pay for long term nursing care. Medicaid does pay for long term nursing care but it can be very difficult to qualify. Click here to learn more about medicare versus medicaid. (link to paying for long term care page). Advanced planning is the best way to plan for these expenses.
For more information, get a copy of our ABC’s For Caregivers Guide by visiting www.AlabamaEstatePlanningGuide.com or call us at 256-792-3193 to schedule an appointment to find out your options – there is no cost or obligation.
As a caregiver, your life may already feel pretty crazy, but, nothing is worse than the chaos and frustration of facing a serious medical emergency without the right documents, financials or information in place. In a crisis situation, there is simply no time to be hunting for insurance cards, looking for important phone numbers or gathering information you need to make the very best decisions for your love one. Make a list of account numbers, prescriptions and dosages, passwords, location of important documents, lists of doctors and other advisors.
It is also important to make sure you become aware of all of the resources at your disposal. There are great resource including Care.com, medicaid.gov, longtermcare.gov and other websites that have information. You can also enlist the help of other family members to give you a break, run errands, pick up prescriptions, etc. instead of trying to do it all yourself.
Finally, you also need to make sure that you take time for yourself. It is not hard to experience caregiver burnout. This will only make things more difficult and make you resent the very loved one you are trying to care for. Take a walk, go to a movie, have dinner with a friend and just get away from time to time. For more information, get a copy of our ABC’s For Caregivers Guide by visiting www.AlabamaCaregiverGuide.com or call us at 256-792-3193 to schedule an appointment to find out your options – there is no cost or obligation.
Content copyright © Adams Miller Law, LLP.