The first time I ran into the flurry of Medicare paperwork was when I was caring for my neighbor Joe. That was more than two decades ago, but I still remember how the paperwork baffled me. Fortunately, though his son lived across the country, he was able to take care of most of the red tape. By the time my parents needed help with their Medicare paperwork, I had learned a bit, but I still found it frustrating and confusing.
Now, a National Institute of Health Web site, www.NIHSeniorHealth.gov, is available to help. This site is loaded with information for seniors, and helps people better understand the ins and outs of Medicare and the paperwork involved. There are some inspiring videos and stories from motivated seniors which puts a very positive spin on aging.
The new kid on the block (and perhaps the most useful link from my perspective) is "Medicare Basics for Caregivers." At this time, it's the featured link, however it is also under "M" in the alphabetical search, so you won't lose track of it should they feature another link down the road. The press release announcing this new guide quotes Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging:
"Knowing how Medicare works can help a person make better financial decisions about care...A caregiver who is knowledgeable about Medicare can be an informed advocate for an older loved one who needs to access the benefits the program provides. The new ‘Medicare Basics for Caregivers' topic on NIHSeniorHealth is an excellent source of concise, easy-to-understand information that will benefit both caregivers and their loved ones."
Advocacy is an important role for caregivers. By the time many seniors get deep into Medicare issues, they can find the paperwork overwhelming. If there is dementia involved, things get even worse. Yet, caregivers need to have access to information to help. This new site is a nice step forward.
Published On: June 02, 2009