A few tips to support you in providing the best care you can
- Each situation is unique. Understand your own limits. If the care needs are more than you can provide consult a physician or health care provider.
- Start with a medical exam to learn about the older adult’s diagnosis and treatment options. Write down questions before the visit so you cover everything.
- Prepare a Personal Health Record to keep track of important information.
- Consult with the physician if memory loss is becoming an issue. Memory loss can be caused by many things. Contact the Alzheimer’s Association for more information and resources.
- Identify and manage risks through the Live Well at Home Rapid Screen©. Use technology to manage the care, such as emergency response devices, pill dispensers, web cameras, and more.
- Learn about what Medicare and other insurance will pay for by calling the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.
- Consult a professional. This includes a long-term care consultant, a geriatric care manager, or a caregiver consultant.
- Find Support. This includes caregiver education programs, support groups, respite care, and adult day services. Faith-based or voluntary organizations may offer help with
chores, grocery shopping, or companionship services. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® for help finding these resources.
Tips to ease the move from one care setting to another
At times an older adult may need care outside of the home. This includes a hospital, emergency room, or nursing home, before returning home. These moves can be stressful
for older adults and caregivers.
Plan ahead to reduce stress and manage the situation.
- Know the person’s health history. Use a Personal Health Record to retain health history, insurance, legal documents, medications, and more.
- Know your rights. See the Patient Bill of Rights During Transitions of Care.
- Know what Medicare and other insurance covers (and what it doesn’t). Contact the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.
While in the hospital.
- Ask questions whenever you don’t understand something. Talk regularly with the doctor or health care provider about the diagnosis, treatment options, and plan. Tell them how the older adult is feeling.
- Clarify the older adult’s hospital status. Ask if your family member or friend has been officially admitted to the hospital, or if he or she is under observation status.
- Connect with the social worker/discharge planner early in the stay to begin to coordinate follow up visits and arrange in-home support. All facilities have an obligation to arrange for a safe discharge plan.
After the move home.
- Know the "red flags" or warning signs that a condition may be worsening, and what steps to take. Report concerns to a health care professional.
- Review discharge information, including appointments to make and medications.
- Contact the primary care physician. See them within a week of discharge.
- Form a team of family or friends to help with care tasks, errands, meals, and more. Find ways to take breaks from caregiving, if even for short periods of time.