Are you one of the 90 million in the U.S. who are providing care to a loved one? For the last 19 years, November has been set aside as National Family Caregivers Month. During this month we take time to recognize the caregivers who take care of their aging, ill, or disabled loved ones. Celebrating Family Caregivers this month enables us to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, educate family caregivers about self-identification, and increase support for caregivers.
Caregiving is tough. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why we take this time to not only recognize the many family caregivers but also share information and resources. Caregiver Action Network is the organization that chooses the theme for National Family Caregivers Month annually and spearheads it nationally. This year’s theme is “Be Care Curious.” Family caregivers want their loved ones to have the best care possible – at the doctor’s office, at the hospital, and at home. We encourage family caregivers across the country to ask questions, explore options and share in the care decisions that affect the health and well-being of their loved ones. This theme helps highlight the various ways caregivers can “Be Care Curious” to help themselves and their loved ones.
Be care curious about:
Your Loved One’s Goals
You know your loved one better, and spend more time with them, than anyone else does. Talk to them about what their goals are for treatment and their care in general. It can be hard to talk about goals when facing a disease. But these talks help make sure your loved ones are getting the care they want.
Is your loved one responding well to treatment? If not, ask your doctor if there are other options. New treatments are available every day. Whether it’s a different dose, a new medication, or a new procedure, speak up and ask your doctor if there are options you and your loved one should consider. If they are not responding to treatments, hospice may be an option as well.
The internet is a great research tool, but it can also be full of conflicting, and even dangerous, advice – so don’t stop there! Be curious about that article you just read. Is it from a reliable source? Talk to friends, family, and doctors to ask as many questions as possible to learn about your loved one’s condition.
The Care Plan
If your loved one is in the hospital, be sure to ask what happens next. Will they need home care after being discharged? Are there new medications or procedures you will need to manage at home? Will you be trained on what to do and how to do it? A lot of care happens at home and you need to be prepared to provide that care.
Don’t be shy about asking questions about insurance coverage. Is your parents’ Medicare plan the best option or should you change plans during open enrollment? Was a medication switched for a medical reason, or because your insurance no longer covered it? If coverage was denied, what can you do to change their minds?
Family caregiving is stressful, but the more you know, the more confident and capable you will be when providing care. Remember – knowledge is power! Heart ‘n Home provides support to patients and their caregivers. We have experts in hospice care who can help answer the questions you may have as well as help teach you how to care for your loved one. Heart ‘n Home offers support to caregivers and terminally ill patients so that they are able to spend more quality time together. Heart ‘n Home has many resource documents to help caregivers better care for their loved ones. If you have questions about hospice care or would like more information on how to best care for your loved one, contact us today.
So this November, during National Family Caregivers Month, take time to
about your loved one’s care!