Caregiver Support
Caregiver support

Taking Care of Mom and Dad?

Being a caregiver has its challenges! Here’s some help!

You’re living your life with your family and career. Suddenly, you must take care of Mom or Dad (or a grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt) – congratulations, you are now a caregiver! Becoming a caregiver can be overwhelming. Below, I share resources and tools to help you make the best decisions and provide the best care for your loved one.

First, the Legal Stuff

If you are going to be making decisions on behalf of your loved one, you will need two important documents:

  1. A Durable Power of Attorney
  2. A Healthcare Surrogate

As you start to deal with health insurance and doctors and hospitals, some will ask if you have these documents and can produce them if needed; others will want a copy on file.

I recommend using an actual attorney and avoid quickie templated solutions. You want to make sure that if anything happens, those documents will hold up in court.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

Get Organized

I learned quickly that I was having to explain too much, repeatedly, trying to remember what medications to give when, how many times a day and at what dosages, and that nurses in hospitals and rehab centers didn’t always pay attention to notes in the record regarding allergies and sensitivities. So I created the following three documents. Many nurses and doctors said, “I wish everyone did this!” So, here they are.

  • Beneficiary Information Worksheet – Used for having insurance information, contact information, allergy and medicine information, and any special notes in one handy document. Get a FREE editable copy when you subscribe to our newsletter. We NEVER share your information with anyone. Your privacy is our utmost concern.



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Get this MUST HAVE document, asked for by doctors and nurses for easy admitting and safety of the beneficiary!
  • Medical Condition Placard – You don’t want sensitive information available where anyone can see it (Medicare #, healthcare member number, date of birth, etc.). However, having allergy information and special needs information displayed where any nurse or doctor attending will see it, can be a life saver. It was for my Mom. Download below!
  • Medication Schedule – Simple and straightforward. Use it to organize prescriptions, doses and times needed to be given. Great for when a homecare nurse visits, if a family member comes to give you a break and take care of Mom or Dad, when going to a hospital or facility. Download below!

In my experience, I took all three with me whenever Mom was being hospitalized, went to the ER or had to do rehab.

HMO or PPO?

Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may have to change their insurance plan. My mother had many complex needs, and her HMO was very restrictive. In order to get two procedures and services she required, I had to switch to a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) away from her HMO (Health Maintenance Organization).

The simple differences are:

  • HMO: Uses a PCP (Primary Care Provider – your personal doctor) and you must stay in network. If you need a specialist, you must acquire a referral, which is not always given.
  • PPO: A PPO doesn’t require a PCP nor referrals. You can go to any provider in the network. And if you must use a provider out-of-network, the PPO will cover a portion and you pay the balance. You don’t get stuck with the entire bill.

You will want to do a thorough healthcare needs assessment and then speak with your Medicare Advantage professional. He or she can give you good guidance on what policies would be best for your specific needs. If you’re in Florida, contact us, and we will be happy to help you.

HMO or PPO?

Extra Help (formerly LIS for Low-Income-Subsidy)

My mother took 14 medications daily, with some being awfully expensive. Her prescription benefits would run out early and she would fall into the donut hole. Then a dear friend, who is a Medicare Advantage professional (and played an instrumental role in my choosing to become on as well) told me about Extra Help.

In a nutshell, it provided an additional $5,000 for prescriptions drugs, lowered copays on generic and brand name medications, and removed any penalties (if you have any). You have to meet certain income and asset requirements. If you do, it may also pay your Part-B premium, returning $148.50 to your social security check for 2021 (premiums change annually).

Speak to your Medicare Advantage professional or contact us to see if your loved one qualifies, and for assistance in enrolling.

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

My mother was hospitalized so often when I became her caregiver that I could not buy hospital indemnity insurance. Why? Because depending on the carrier and policy, they do a look back of 3 to 6 months. If your loved one was hospitalized within that time period, they weren’t eligible. Had I known about hospital indemnity, I would have purchased it and avoided the costly copays that add up.

Each insurance policy has a daily copay, which can vary from $75 to $395 per day for the first 3 to 6 days hospitalized (depending on plan). So if it were a $200 copay for the first 6 days hospitalized, and you were hospitalized all 6 days, you would owe $1,200 for that benefit period. Hospital indemnity can provide (you choose the amount and length of time) $250 or $300 per day hospitalized for each day you chose on the policy. If you chose 6 days, it covers your entire copay. The money is paid directly to your loved one (the beneficiary) to be used however you see fit.

Speak to your Medicare Advantage professional or contact us to see if your loved one qualifies, and for assistance in enrolling.

Final Expense Insurance

My mom and dad preplanned their final arrangements and had everything paid for, with just a few expenses that must be calculated upon death, which were:

  • Opening the grave
  • Headstone
  • Transportation (if you want to bury your loved one in another state or country).

These added up to $3,500. Had they not preplanned their final arrangements, it would have cost closer to $15,000 (depending on choice of casket).

Most families are not prepared for such an expense. If your loved one and family fall into this category, you will want to look into Final Expense insurance. You can choose how much coverage you need, and it’s paid to you in lump sum to use as necessary.

Speak to your Medicare Advantage professional or contact us to learn your options and for assistance in enrolling.

Final Expense mom and daughter
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