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Your Caregiving Questions — Answered

AARP's experts offer advice on caring for a loved one.

Question from Matt: My mom still lives by herself and deals with her mail by just piling it all up. When I visit, I have to sort through it all and often find important stuff buried. I'd like to have the mail redirected to me but she is very opposed to that idea. Any suggestions on how to bring her around, please?

Elinor: Matt, while it might be easier for you, if all her mail just goes to you it could end up being very disruptive in her life — and therefore yours. I hope you're able to see her regularly so you can stay on top of her bills. Consider this an opportunity for you to maintain regular visits, keep up on how she's doing, and spend some quality time with her after you've gone through that pile of mail.

Amy: Matt, also keep in mind that these things happen gradually — start as Elinor said spending time with her and sorting. Your mom may feel she is losing control of lots of things and doesn't want to lose control of her bills and mail. A friend of mine found with her mom that bringing in a "professional" to do this was less threatening than if she did it for her mom, so you might also consider that.

Question from Cathy, N.H.: We'd like to get some home care set up for my dad, but he's on a limited budget. From the little I know about Medicaid, I don't think he'd qualify. Who's going to pay for his care?

Elinor: Cathy, not only does he potentially not qualify for Medicaid, but Medicaid mostly pays for nursing home care. So to see what home care programs he may be eligible for, talk to your local aging office (eldercare.gov) or use AARP's Benefits QuickLink.

Amy: Sometime home-based services are also offered on a sliding-fee scale based on what your loved one can afford — so be sure to ask about that.

AARP Host: That's all the time we have for now, everyone. Unfortunately we couldn't answer all your questions, but feel free to connect with other caregivers in our Online Community.

We'd like to thanks Elinor and Amy for joining us today. Any parting words, hostesses?

Amy: It was my pleasure to participate — hope this was helpful to everyone!

Elinor: What a rich set of questions. You all are fabulous caregivers! Keep up the great work.

Amy: If I can be of further help to anyone, feel free to tweet me at amygoyer or send me a direct message in the AARP online community. And keep up with my caregiving adventures in my blog and columns as well.

Elinor: And check out my monthly caregiving column, aarp.org/ginzler for more information, tips and resources.

AARP Host: Thank you, all!

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