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How to Manage Your Caregiving Duties

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

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Elinor Ginzler: I think we would all agree that moving is a big deal, even when it's the right thing to do. It's a really good idea to think this through and talk it through thoroughly before acting. You need to understand their situation to determine the best options. Start by assessing the situation and by talking with them a lot. But, there's no one right or wrong answer. The better you understand the situation, the better everyone will be.

See also: How to assess your loved one's situation.

Comment From Patricia: Does Medicare offer help for assisted living payments?

Elinor Ginzler: Patricia, many people believe that Medicare will cover assisted living. Unfortunately, that's not true — 80 percent of assisted living is paid for privately. In some states, some people on Medicaid might be able to use their Medicaid benefits to cover assisted living. Medicare is not a coverage option for assisted living.

Comment From Marta E. Bayer: I will like to be a caregiver/companion in home, and assist with their daily living activities. I need a part-time job (10 hours a week). What do I do?

Elinor Ginzler: Marta, it is a great job, and very rewarding. To give yourself a good set of skills, check out your local community college — many offer programs that teach people how to be in-home aides and provide a certificate when you complete the courses. Good luck!

Comment From Guest: My husband is 59 1/2 and has a herniated disk. The spine doctor says it will be a minimum of a year before he can go back to his work, if ever. He is willing to recommend my husband for disability, but when I go on to the Internet to research, it appears to be very complicated. Is there a resource to help us? We do not have money for a lawyer.

Elinor Ginzler: You should not need an attorney to apply for disability. You will need cooperation and documentation from your husband's doctors. Check out benefits check-up for information on filing for disability and other benefits that might help you out.

Comment From Marie Mokarry: I've been caregiving for four years, since my husband had three subdural hematomas and a seizure. He can take care of himself but cannot be left alone overnight. He doesn't like to do much except watch TV. I'm responsible for his meals, pills, transport to doctors, security, etc. No children. Married 25 years. Very depressed about the rest of my life. Any suggestions?

Elinor Ginzler: Marie, it sounds like both you and your husband would benefit from finding an adult day center in your community. Medical adult day centers provide health management and social stimulation in a supportive environment. You get a break and he gets a day of more than just TV.

Many thanks to all for joining me today.

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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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