Family Caregiver Resources to Better Support Elderly Loved Ones

It can be frustrating when you are providing care for a senior loved one and don’t know where to turn for caregiver resources. Family Hire has some great quick tips. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has reported that family caregivers are "routinely marginalized and ignored within the health care system." With about 18 million family members providing care for elderly loved ones, this report is alarming, as it points to the possibility that these seniors are at risk for harm due to possibly inadequate, uninformed family care.

Here’s what can be done to be sure you’re seen, heard, and given the proper information and caregiver resources to help keep your senior family member safe:

Search for and access resources such as disease-specific associations, the local Area Agency on Aging, and a dependable professional home care agency for supplemental/respite care.

It’s equally important to clearly understand HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. There is a common misconception that because of HIPAA, family members are not able to access their senior loved one’s medical records. The truth, however, is that as long as the older person has assigned a family member to serve as durable power of attorney for health information, it’s the obligation of doctors and hospital staff to share all medical records with that member of the family.

The bottom line? Make sure that you stand up for yourself and your elderly loved one. Richard Schulz of the University of Pittsburgh recommends, "Advocate for your rights and make sure your caregiving contributions are recognized and supported to the extent they can be. You're an important person in the health care system."

Call on Family Hire for even more recommendations on providing the very best care for your senior family member.

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