Many family caregivers receive little guidance or support to perform tasks that healthcare professionals get paid to do. Fortunately, Medicare provides programs to ease the burden.
What is a caregiver?
Medicare defines a caregiver as an individual who assists and supports someone who is elderly or has a temporary or chronic illness, disability, or frailty. A professional can be hired to provide this care for eligible Medicare beneficiaries. A caregiver can also be a relative or friend who offers this care at no cost.
Caregivers may include:
Caregivers at nursing facilities or assisted living facilities
Senior services agencies
What services does caregiving include?
Caregiving can involve one or more of these services:
Skilled care. Assistance offered by licensed healthcare professionals for help with medications, wound care, and therapies.
Companion services. Keeping company, offering supervision, and facilitating fun activities.
Homemaker services. Assisting with housekeeping, meal preparation, transport, and errands.
Personal care services. Helping with dressing, eating, exercise, and other daily living activities.
When might a caregiver be needed?
A person may need a caregiver for a variety of reasons. Typically, the needs are serious and long-term, such as chronic or acute illness, age-related frailty, or cognitive impairment. A caregiver can also be of help in long-term recovery from an injury.