· Get insurance help: If you have questions about Medicare, Medicaid or long-term care, your State Health Insurance Assistance Program is a great resource that provides free counseling on all these issues. Call 800-633-4227 or visit shiptalk.org to locate a nearby counselor.
You can also get help online at medicare.gov/
campaigns/caregiver/caregiver.html and through the Medicare Rights Center, which staffs a hotline at 800-333-4114 to help answer questions.
· Use technology: If your mom lives alone, consider renting her a medical alert device, which is a small, pendant-style “SOS” button that she wears, which would allow her to call for help if she falls. These are available through companies like lifelinesys.com and lifefone.com for about $1 per day. Or check out home monitoring systems at mylively.com, beclose.
com or grandcare.com.
There are also a number of great websites you can draw on for caregiving information and support, like aarp.org/caregiving, caregiver.org and caring.com, along with alz.org/care, alzheimers.
gov and thiscaringhome.
org for caregivers of dementia patients. And if you’re sharing care responsibilities with others, sites like lotsahelpinghands.com, caresolver.com and caringbridge.org can help you coordinate together.
· Hire help: Depending on your mom’s needs and budget, you may want to hire a part-time “home-care aide” that can help with things like preparing meals, doing laundry, bathing or dressing, or if she needs health care services, a “home health aid.” Costs can run anywhere from $12 up to $40 per hour, depending on where you live and the qualification of the aide.
To find someone, ask for referrals through friends, doctor’s offices or hospital discharge planners, or visit medicare.gov/homehealthcompare.
If you need additional guidance, consider hiring a geriatric care manager (caremanager.org) who can help you manage and facilitate your mom’s care. Care managers generally charge between $100 and $200 per hour.