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How to Manage Your Caregiving Duties

Independent Living expert Elinor Ginzler hosts an online chat and answers your pressing questions

Elinor Ginzler: Medical power of attorney appoints you to make medical decisions for your mother, should she become unable to make or communicate medical decisions for herself. Medical care usually refers to treatment by physicians and other medical professionals — often in the hospital setting.

If she is still able to talk reasonably now, this is the time for you to talk with her about what kind of care she wants and what living situations she would be interested in should she need help in the future. The more you talk together before a crisis, the better off you will be if there is a crisis.

Comment From Donna Jones: Does Medicare provide any monetary assistance for assisted living or memory-assisted places?

Elinor Ginzler: What a great question, Donna. It is so important to understand that Medicare does NOT cover assisted living residences of any kind. It only covers short-term stays in nursing homes after being in the hospital. Many folks don't know this.

Comment From Angela: Can I get paid for caring for a parent? I worked in CNA dementia care for five years, been retired two years.

Elinor Ginzler: It is unlikely that you can get paid, but there are a couple of possibilities. If your parent has long-term care insurance, the policy might cover paying family.

Comment From Joanne: Elderly people can be very stubborn. How do you deal with a person who won't cooperate when I'm trying to do what's best?

Elinor Ginzler: Let's face it — all of us can be stubborn. And it is hard sometimes to figure out the best way to work with an aging family member. Think about if there is someone who's best suited for taking on this conversation. And as the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

See also: 6 ways to work on someone's denial 

Comment From Maryanna Olds: What is the best way to help my 81-year-old mother, who is caring for my dad, who is in a rehab facility and is dying of lung cancer? They live two hours away and I work a full-time job.

Next: How to juggle caregiving and other obligations. »

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Wendy Breiterman, director of Global Work Life Strategies at Johnson & Johnson, reflects on their initiative to offer flexibility for employees who are caregivers.

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