Caregiving for an aging parent may stretch your budget as well as your endurance. That is, if you aren't aware of the many federal, state and local government programs that can help you make ends meet.
Access to assistance is as close as your computer, and, in most cases, you can apply online. Start by visiting two sites:
Benefits.gov: Gather all the information you can relating to your elderly parent's health, disability, income, assets, military service, education level and more. Visit this site and answer every question as accurately as you can. After submitting your answers, the site will respond with a list of government programs, supplements and services, including details and eligibility information.
www.Benefitscheckup.org: This non-profit site run by the
Following is a guide to the top 10 programs everyone who is caring for an aging parent should know about.
There is more to
If your parent's
The AoA administers many national programs and services for elders, including health insurance counseling, legal assistance, protection from elder abuse and help with long-term care.
If your aging parent is a military veteran and has a service-related disability, you may be able to apply for an increase in benefits, particularly if the disability has worsened over time. If he or she needs continuing medical care because of the disability, an application for medical benefits, hospitalization and prescription drugs may be submitted. There are several types and levels of
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1966 provides your elderly parent privacy of his or her medical records. It is a regulation and restriction program on health care providers. The protection should be of concern to you and other family members because, unless your parent signs a form designating each of you as approved to discuss your medical concerns with the physician, he or she cannot do such, even if you prove your family connection. Better sooner than later, access the HIPAA website for the information and forms, or secure the forms from a physician, and file copies with every health care professional involved in your parent's care.
If your parent has a disability, particularly with physical movement, learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act administered by the
Your aging parent is probably taking a few different prescription drugs, perhaps prescribed by different doctors. As caregiver, you should be aware of every one of the drugs, know its mission in the body and, particularly the side effects and conflicts with other medications. You want to watch for a danger known as polypharmacy. The federal
Every senator has a staff specialist on elder affairs, programs and services, probably in major cities of your state plus in
Most representatives in the
There is a federally-mandated
In summary, using these resources, caregivers can gain access to a world of vital information as well as increased income and services for their aging parents. These programs can provide added support that may help reduce caregiver stress.