With the advancement of nutrition science, medical research and healthcare technology, seniors today have been blessed with longevity uncommon in past generations. However, many people need assistance due to age, illness, or injury.  Access to caregivers depends heavily on residential location and financial resources. Some Medicare recipients are fortunate enough to have family members care for them and want to know if Medicare can help.

Benefits for Medicare Recipients Who Need Care at Home
Original Medicare is structured to cover costs incurred during hospital stays (Part A) and medical office visits (Part B). Medicare recipients may be eligible for part-time skilled care if they are homebound and meet specific criteria. If you qualify for home health services, Medicare Part A benefits include medically necessary part-time or periodic skilled care delivered by a nurse, physical therapist or speech-language pathologist. The home health agency servicing you must be Medicare-certified, meaning they are approved by Medicare and accept assignment. If Medicare approves the claim for home health services, the authorized fees may be covered.

Custodial Care for Day-to-Day Living
Medicare benefits do not include custodial care, which is help with the activities of daily living, when that is the only care needed. This includes bathing, personal hygiene, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring to or from a bed, chair or wheelchair.

If you have long-term care insurance, check your policy, or contact your policy administrator to inquire about help for your family caregivers. Some long-term care policies include a caregiver training benefit so an immediate family member can be reimbursed for the cost of attending formal training on how to administer elder care at home. Long-term care policies may also cover homemaker support services, such as meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping and supervised intake of medications.

Family Caregiver Support
Family caregivers are vital to the health and well-being of many Medicare recipients. Explore community and local resources that may offer to help guide you to find the support needed while undertaking this rewarding, but challenging, job. The site provides tips on how to manage the process and reach out for community support to avoid stress and burnout. It cannot be overstated how important it is for caregivers to take care of themselves so they can continue to take care of others. For example, if your charge is able to attend adult day care a few hours per week, it might serve as a much-needed break for both of you. Caring for a loved one is an important job, so reach out to these resources to identify solutions readily available in your area.

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