Be Prepared for Your Caregiving Needs – Tips for Navigating Care

Will you be prepared for your caregiving needs?

No one wants to plan for bad things to happen, but we should be prepared if something bad were to happen. We buy insurance don’t we. So it makes sense to be prepared for our care needs beyond a hospital stay.

I recently sat down with Rita Bentley, LBSW of Senior Helpers, who offered advice for families on how to be prepared when a loved one goes into a care facility. As a seasoned Social Worker, she understands what can help make the transition smooth. Here are a few tips to be prepared for care that she suggested:

  1. Know your insurance benefits. Be familiar with all the insurance you have, including: Medicare Part A, Supplemental Insurance, Ancillaries, co-pays, etc.  Chances are you have a Medicare book. Chances are you haven’t read it. That’s okay. But do read the sections that apply to your current needs. Think of it as a “resource, like a dictionary,” says Rita.
Medicare Options to pay for caregiving: compliments of
Medicare Options: compliments of
  1. If you only have Medicare Part A, know the number of days in a care facility they will pay for. (You’re only covered for a limited number of days.) Be aware that because you have a designated number of days, doesn’t mean you qualify for them. It is a good idea to have Medicare Part B as well.
  1. Know what your next steps of need will be. Have a plan for when you leave rehab: is it to go home? If not, where will you go, how will you pay for it. For example, a private duty nurse is NOT paid for by Medicare.
  1. Know the difference between the different options of care at home, such as a private duty nurse vs skilled services. A doctor can write a prescription for a skilled service: skilled nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, social worker. (Medicare Part A covers these for a limited time period.)

    Senior Helpers for caregiving at home.
    Senior Helpers for help at home.

Non-skilled duties include basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, ambulation, transportation, light housekeeping, etc. These are performed by home health aides. That’s where companies like Senior Helpers come in. They have a range of care with flexible scheduling plans.

Just be sure to know what’s covered and what’s not.

  1. Be sure to listen carefully to everything your social worker tells you. Take notes. Don’t be afraid to ask her/him to repeat something.
  1. Be proactive. Know how the facility operates, what the systems and procedures are for the particular facility. Visit various care communities to pick the one that best fits your personality. Some have a lot of activity, some are quiet. Pick the location where you will be most comfortable. It’s also a good idea to visit in the evening and on weekends when management is generally not in the building. How do they operate during these off times?


  1. It’s rare for someone to be discharged at 100%. You’re lucky if you are at 70% when you leave the temporary care facility. If you realize this ahead of time, you can be prepared. Be sure to have a discharge meeting with the social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist and nurse. Get a full understanding of what care is still needed.

These are just a few tips for helping to move you or your loved one through the maze of caregiving.

Be Prepared for Care Needs.
Know your caregiving needs.

We will continue to bring tips and suggestions to help make the caregiving process as problem-free as possible. The more you know, the better care you can achieve, and the less problems you will experience.

And, of course, remember that a Cravaat® dining scarf can also make your caregiving easier. Instead of an adult bib, you can feel good about the style in which you protect your clothes. You’ll skip all the hassles from stains giving you one less problem to worry about.

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