Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but there’s a good chance it will be overwhelming, as well. It’s probably the toughest, most stressful job any of us could ever have.
A caregiver needs to navigate Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and private insurance plans. And that’s just the financial side. On healthcare side, you have the primary care physician, a multitude of specialists, in-home care, adult day care programs, community resources and much more.
Another factor to consider is the significant time the caregiver spends away from his or her day job. Some—one in five older works—give up their careers to focus on the care of a loved one. Sometimes this leads to depression because it’s extremely difficult and stressful to care for a person, especially a family member, who has multiple chronic conditions and deteriorating health.
“Family members are often the ones who find themselves navigating the complex system of nursing homes, in-home health care, and health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance), all while dealing with heartbreaking changes in the physical and mental functioning of their spouses, siblings, parents or grandparents,” writes Kathleen J. Mullen of the Rand Corporation.
The cost to care for someone with dementia ranges from $41,689 to $56,290 per person every year; nearly 50% of that cost is time donated by family and friends, according to Mullen.
Many times, caregivers can find a happy medium by working with an organization that provides consultative care coordination services. Community organizations, like local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association or state-run aging departments, are a great resource. These organizations can help you navigate the medical and financial sides of care coordination. With some help, your burden can be eased while your loved one benefits from improved outcomes and more efficient, less costly care.
Alfonso Trujillo, an expert in care management for aging adults, is vice president of Care Management at InnovAge
This InnovAge blog is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical needs.