November is National Family Caregivers Month - But Here Are Some Resources For The Any Time Of Year.

W are going to review a number of resources for family caregivers and for the rest of us who should support this stressful and important role within our family structure.

First, are you a family caregiver or are you looking for ways to help and support a family member who is playing that vital role?  Either way, we have some important information for you.

We have assembled a list of blogs, articles, and other resources that can help you in either capacity.

Let's get started:

1)  10 Tips for Family Caregivers 

Some of these seem obvious, but following my father's stroke, I noticed that they were not obvious at all. My mother, an amazing and caring woman, found herself overwhelmed with new responsibilities and duties.  

She was a very independent person and felt that she had to do many of the jobs herself and she felt like it was impossible to do even little things for herself.

So if you're a caregiver, please read this list and if you have a person in the family providing care to another, then read and share this article.

Again, here's the link: 10 Tips For Family Caregivers

2) Resources Related To Elder Law and Protecting Assets From Nursing Home Costs 

If anyone in your family is facing or already in nursing home care, then be sure to consult our Elder Law website  

This is a complicated area of the law and you can acidentally get a family member disqualified from Medicaid and long term care coverage.  So for the sake of your elderly family member who needs care, and for the family caregiver, be sure to get help in making the right decisions at each step and for protecting family assets both for elder care and for the family.

You can opt in to get a number of bonuses and great resources, and the site is fillled with articles on issues you're facing.  

Click here to VISIT THE SITE and/or click here to SIGN UP for the elder law newsletter.

3) Can Your Family Member Really Live Safely and Independently At Home?

You could have an elderly parent or other family member read this article to get more clarity on this topic.  Click here to learn more about senior living assessments.

As a next step, here's a link to some articles that explain the difference between assisted and independent living  

You can schedule an in person conference with one of our attorneys who work with elder law issues if you live in the Philadelphia Suburban area.  You can schedule by calling 610-933-8069 to find out more about protecting assets when facing long term care in a nursing home or at home.

4) Creating An Effective "Patient/Care Recipient" File Checklist 

If you're a family caregiver, or you help and support a person receiving care, then be sure to start to build a patient file with all of the documentation you'll need.

Here is a brief checklist of information that you'll want to gather and have in a central and easy to access location.

Select a place to store the file that is logical to you – where you can grab it quickly in an emergency or on your way out the door to an appointment.

Keep it up to date. An outdated file won’t do you much good when you are standing in the emergency room!

What should go in the Patient/Care Recipient File?

  • Care Recipient's medical history
    • Diagnosis
    • Physician/Specialist Contact Information
    • Known Allergies and Food and Other Sentitivities
    • Health history (e.g. surgeries, other medical conditions)
  • Comprehensive Medication List (make sure it is assessed for problems with counter indications)
  • Personal, Health, and Long Term Care/Life Insurance Information
    • Private medical insurance
    • Prescription plan(s)
    • Medicare/Medicaid
    • Long-term care insurance
    • Dental and Vision Insurance
    • Personal Home and Car
    • Business and or Umbrella Coverage
    • Life Insurance
  • Legal Documents ( Make sure you have those related to medical care and that you know where the others can be located)
    • Living Will
    • Medical power of attorney for Health Care (also known as
      a Health Care Proxy)
    • Power of Attorney for Finances
    • Trust and/or will
    • Informal or formal memoranda*
    • Irrevocable trusts
    • Deeds
    • Contact information for care recipient’s lawyer

* NOTE - We offer a comprehensive estate planning questionaire that can be used to identify many of these issues.  You can obtain one (if you are a PA resident) by calling 610-933-8069.  

We also offer a memorandum that walks our clients through the process of leaving effective instructions on everything from funeral arrangements to personal effects and how executors and trustees should use their powers. 

5) Finding More Resources To Help 

Family caregivers can often receive valuable help and information from local agencies for the aging.  Here's a quick resource to help you find these valuable partners in your area. Click here to find local agencies.

6) More helpful articles, blogs and resources from The Huffington Post

Like it or not we found a great series of blogs, articles and resources published by the Huffington Post on family caregivers.

Here's the link: Click here to GET ACCESS to the family caregiver library/archives.

We hope that this is helpful to both caregivers and the other family members who should support them.  Without family caregivers, many adults could not otherwise live in their homes with dignity and some level of independence.  But, caregivers are prone and susceptible to depression and the effects of this stressful job and are often unable or unwilling to reach out for help.  

Keep this in mind if you are not a caregiver, but know one, and look for ways to be supportive.

As always, you can reach us at 610-933-8069 with questions related to Elder Law in Pennsylvania.

David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author
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