Family / Caregiver Issues

Resources to address the challenges facing the family caregiver while providing strategies to assist them.

Getting Your Home Ready After a Hospital Stay

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A post-hospital recovery often means avoiding climbing stairs, installing grab bars and nonstick bath mats in the bathroom, and taking careful measures to avoid falling.

A post-hospital recovery often means avoiding climbing stairs, installing grab bars and nonstick bath mats in the bathroom, and taking careful measures to avoid falling.

If you’ve been in the hospital for an illness or a planned surgery, you know that preparing the house properly for your return can greatly impact your healing and recovery.

The following tips, courtesy of Medline Plus, encourage safety and independence at home:

Make it easy for yourself

Make sure everything you need is easy to get to and on the same floor where you will spend most of your time. If you need to use the stairs, limit using them to once a day, if possible.

*Set up your bed on the first floor (or the entry floor) if you can. You may not need a hospital bed. But your mattress should be firm.

*Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor where you will spend most of your day.

*Stock up on canned or frozen food, toilet paper, shampoo, and other personal items.

*Either buy or make single meals that can be frozen and reheated.

*Make sure you can reach everything you need without getting on your tiptoes or bending down.

*Put food and other supplies in a cupboard that is between your waist and shoulder level.

*Place glasses, silverware, and other items you use often on the kitchen counter.

*Make sure you can get to your phone. A cell phone or wireless phone can be helpful.

Place a chair with a firm back in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and other rooms you will use. This way, you can sit when you do your daily tasks.

If you will be using a walker, attach a sturdy bag or a small basket to hold your phone, a notepad, a pen, and other things you will need to have close by. You can also wear fanny pack.

Get some help

You may need help with bathing, using the toilet, cooking, running errands, shopping, going to the doctor, and exercising.

If you do not have someone to help you at home for the first 1 or 2 weeks after surgery, ask your doctor or nurse about having a trained caregiver come to your home to help you. This person can also check the safety of your home and help you with your daily activities.

Some items that may be helpful include:

*Shower sponge with a long handle

*Shoehorn with a long handle

*Cane, crutches, or a walker Read more


Share Your Caregiver Story

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Caregivers share their stories of struggle and inspiration while caring for loved ones with chronic disease.

Caregivers share their stories of struggle and inspiration while caring for loved ones with chronic disease.

Today, nearly 66 million Americans are caring for an aged, seriously ill or disabled friend or family member. Read the personal stories of these caregivers on Ask Medicare. And if you have a story, share it.

This site encourages caregivers to share their stories and describe the approaches they are taking to address the many challenges of caregiving. Discussing challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them can help other caregivers facing similar situations.

Stories submitted for consideration should be written as a personal account and be approximately 500 words in length. Please include your name, information about the person you care for, an explanation of how you became their caregiver and how long you’ve been serving in that role. When writing your story, please consider the following:

*Describe creative solutions for dealing with common problems

*Share sources of support and respite that you’ve found valuable

*Offer important lessons you’ve learned as a caregiver

*Provide advice you have for other caregivers

Send your story to CMSCaregiverStories@cms.hhs.gov and include your story in the body of the email, or as a word document attachment. Please also try to include a photo of you with your loved one. While Ask Medicare cannot promise that your story will be posted, all stories received will be reviewed, and new stories will be added on a rolling basis. By submitting your story, you are giving Ask Medicare permission to post it on this Web site.


Prepare to Care: Tips for Every Caregiver

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Caring for a spouse or a parent? Then check out this valuable resource center to make your caregiving job easier and your life better.

Caring for a spouse or a parent? Then check out this valuable resource center to make your caregiving job easier and your life better.

If you are a family caregiver, you may be feeling stretched beyond your limits, frustrated, and overwhelmed by the sheer responsibility on your shoulders right now.

You may even be feeling isolated, alone, scared and depressed. It’s been said that caregiving often leads us to lean into love we didn’t know possible. Remember this: you are not alone. You are part of a huge movement of family caregivers–numbering forty million Americans–who in the past 12 months have provided unpaid care to an adult. The challenges you face every day as a caregiver are shared challenges.

For guidance, information, and support in your caregiving duties, check out AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center. You’ll find a caregiver hotline (1-877-333-5885); caregiver guides and checklists on a variety of topics, including transitioning between care settings; articles such as 6 signs of caregiver burnout and 12 resources every caregiver should know about; discussion forums and expert articles on benefits, insurance, and legal and financial matters.

In addition, AARP has published Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families. You’ll find useful tips on starting the caregiving conversation with your loved ones, forming a caregiving team, making a plan, finding support, and caring for yourself.