Giving and Receiving Care
A caregiver is someone who gives care to a person for many reasons. There are caregivers who come from agencies, but most caregivers can be anyone from a family member to a friend or a neighbor. The main reason for caregiving is to keep a person safe and healthy in their home.
Caregiving needs can be both planned and unplanned.
Unplanned caregiving needs can arise in times of:
These duties do not have to rely on one single caregiver. If possible, a caregiving team can share the duties where it makes sense. See the section on becoming a caregiver to learn more.
Your doctor can help you identify your caregiving needs.
Being a caregiver
Caregivers can be a family member, friend or neighbor. Many people start out as a helper until the member’s needs grow. Take time to plan as there are many things to think over. The main goal is to keep a member healthy and safe in their own home.
What type of care is needed?
The amount and type of caregiving depends on where members need the most help. Sometimes the support is needed for personal Activities of Daily Living (ADL) like:
Sometimes the member needs more help with things that are less personal, such as:
ADL and IADL and are some duties of caregiving. When you become a caregiver, think about the needs of the person you are caring for such as:
Levels of Caregiving
Sometimes caregivers need to do more than helping a member with private or home tasks. In some cases, the caregiver needs to know the member’s benefits. In other cases, the caregiver may need the member’s approval to make healthcare choices.
The need to get answers to questions on the member’s behalf may involve Protected Health Information (PHI). This calls for certain consent and signed forms. Some examples of these forms are listed below:
Caregiving things to think about
A caregiver must learn the amount of time that is needed for the person getting each type of care. Some caregivers are needed to help someone get better from surgery or sickness. Others will need to be on hand for much longer to manage a disability or to keep the member safe in their home as they get older. Some other questions to keep in mind are:
Talking about the need for care
Talking about starting caregiving can be hard. Some people may feel that they are losing their freedom. Others may not want to ask for help. Here are some tips to help:
Caregiver support may be available to those who have Medicare Advantage or who have both Medicare and Medicaid, also known as D-SNP (Dual Eligible – Special Needs Plan). Check the member’s Summary of Benefits to see what kind of coverage they have, or if you do not know, contact us to learn more.
Some plans may also offer respite benefits for the caregiver. This lets the caregiver be able to take time away and provides a trained caregiver for the member. If you have specific benefit questions, contact Member Services using the number on the back of the member’s ID card. To find local caregiving resources, go to the bottom of this page and select your state.
Taking care of the caregiver
Caring for an adult who needs support can be very rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Caregivers can forget to take care of themselves. Many people become stressed and find it hard to balance caregiving with their own lives.
Here are some tips for you to stay healthy:
Take time for yourself: Self-care is important! Take time to maintain a healthy diet, get enough rest, and attend to your own needs. Keep a balance between your life and the person receiving care. Take breaks and attend to your own health. Spend time with friends or family to talk or just be around each other. You are a caregiver to both yourself and the other person.
Remind yourself of the positives: Choosing to become a caregiver is not an easy decision, but it is an important one.
Understand you cannot control everything: A member’s caregiving needs can change over time even with a good plan in place. Remember that you can only control certain things, and you must adapt to unexpected changes.
Seek outside resources: You are not alone. If you see a decline in your own health, reach out to an expert. Your own insurance plan may offer mental health benefits. Here are some other things you can do to get more information and support: