Nothing ever prepares you for taking care of a loved one diagnosed with a serious health condition or a debilitating injury. But it’s important to remember that you are not alone. So while it can become a very emotional and, at times, overwhelming experience, you can arm yourself with the resources that will make navigating the often confusing world of healthcare easier.

You may have questions about insurance and prescriptions, or how to balance providing care with other obligations at work and home. You also have to work with physicians on your loved one’s care.

What You Need to Know About Being a Caregiver

Below are resources you may find helpful when providing care for a loved one:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have a very detailed website that outlines every aspect of financial planning you may need, whether it’s help paying for healthcare costs or determining what is covered by your loved one’s plan. CMS also provides a document that outlines what caregiver support is available in your area.
  • The National Alliance for Caregiving provides a detailed list of organizations who offer support to caregivers, such as the National Family Caregiver Support Program, Lotsa Helping Hands and the Family Caregiver Alliance.
  • Services such as respite care provide supplemental support when you need to take time off from your responsibility to your loved one. Whether you need time away to go to a family wedding, take some vacation time to reset or have other obligations outside of your familial role, respite care is there for you. To learn about Kindred’s respite care program, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The care you provide your loved one is invaluable, but it is also important to take care of yourself.

In a study on caregivers, nearly half reported their own health had worsened since they began providing care for a loved one.

Here are a few ways you can continue to care for yourself while caring for a loved one:

  • Make sure your own health insurance is current, and schedule annual appointments such as a general health screening, mammogram, colonoscopy, dermatology visit or dental exam.
  • Monitor your fatigue and signs of depression and seek professional help if you need support working through the physical and emotional demands of caregiving.
  • Reach out to others for help, and accept assistance when it’s offered. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your loved one receives the best care possible, and if you’re tired or need a break, it’s ok to take a step back to rest.
  • If you’re a working caregiver, keep an open dialogue with your boss and your company’s human resources department. Communication is the most important aspect of alleviating stress between your responsibilities at work and at home.

Remember: You’re never alone as a caregiver. If you have questions about healthcare services available to your loved one, call 1.866.KINDRED.

The following videos give a glimpse into the complexities of caring for a loved one. They also show that there is hope and support available, and proof that getting the right care at the right place and at the right time are the keys to a successful recovery.

By Kindred Healthcare