Caregiving can take many forms, but the bulk of it is not performed by doctors, hospitals or health care professionals. Instead, it is provided by compassionate family members. Whether disabled veterans, children with special needs, elder adults or other dependent loved ones, family caregivers provide an enormous social safety net. They provide this help, often unpaid, day-in and day-out, for millions of vulnerable Older Americans.
This month we are celebrating caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month. Family caregivers manage a wide range of responsibilities on behalf of their dependent relatives, including:
- Cooking, cleaning, and laundry
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, and using the toilet
- Coordinating care with doctors, nurses, and therapists
- Administering medications and informal medical care
These duties often come at personal and professional expense to the caregiver. There are ways, however, to be compensated when it is needed. For example, the elder could work with an elder law attorney to establish a personal care contract arrangement to pay the caregiver. Another way is to secure public assistance.
Depending on where the dependent family member lives, and his or her specific situation, he or she may be eligible for Medicaid benefits that can help with the cost of long-term care. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a federal-state partnership program and benefits vary by state. While the program is designed for financially needy Americans, individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability are automatically enrolled. Medicaid’s long-term care benefits in Florida are available in a number of scenarios but, for the senior, perhaps the most important benefit to know about may be the institutional care program that can help the senior pay for the skilled care he or she may need in the future in a nursing home.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. While family caregivers are the unsung heroes for many families, it is important to make sure they have the support they need to do the best job they can. Do not wait to contact us with your questions and schedule a consultation with our legal team.