We have created this post as a resource for caregivers that highlights 20 useful websites in a number of different categories that offers a collection of information on caregiving, resources for caregivers, tools, motivation and diversions to both educate and encourage the family caregiver. We hope these tools will simplify the job and improve efficiency by utilizing services and benefits that the care recipient or caregiver qualifies for.
(Related: Can Parents Live With Their Adult Children?)
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, BENEFITS, INSURANCE
SOCIAL SECURITY – apply for benefits for retirees, survivors, some disabilities, low-income families, some children & parents; get or replace your Social Security card; retirement estimator; services for the homeless; forms & publications, & more
MEDICARE – health insurance for people 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities, and any age End-Stage Renal Disease; eligibility; apply online; find doctors & facilities; find & compare health & prescription drug plans; Medigap; dialysis facilities; terms & definitions; Medicare explained in plain English! It also has “Ask Medicare,” a section with answers to important medical questions, as well as caregiving support & resources.
VA CAREGIVER SUPPORT – caregiver support, services, home equipment & modifications, tips & national support line for those caring for a veteran; veteran benefits & services, vocational rehab & employment, healthcare info, suicide prevention, burials & memorials, and more.
ELDERCARE LOCATOR – services for older adults and their families; search for them by zip code or by category – Alzheimer’s, caregiver, elder abuse prevention, in-home services, legal assistance, transportation, volunteerism, and more.
AREA AGENCIES ON AGING & NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AREA AGENCIES ON AGING (n4a) – services for older adults including health & wellness, caregiver support, area resources, care coordination for recovery from a hospital stay, benefits counseling on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplement Insurance, volunteer opportunities and more.
SNAP FOR SENIORS – lets you search for services, housing & providers by zip code or state.
NEEDYMEDS.ORG – an online information resource of programs to assist persons who cannot afford their medications or health care. It lists pharmaceutical companies’ assistance plans, PAP’s (Patient Assistance Programs), which can help the patient receive medications for free or at a discounted price upon meeting their eligibility requirements. This can be a great help when health insurance or Medicare does not fully cover all of the patient’s meds. It also lists low-cost or sliding scale clinics.
PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION – provides assistance to patients with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening diseases on issues of job retention, medical debt crisis or insurance access. Assistance takes the form of mediation and arbitration services. PAF does not offer financial assistance. If you need help with co-pays, call their Co-Pay Relief Program at 1-866-512-3861. A case manager can also take the patient’s details and look for companies that offer help getting the meds that he or she needs.
COPAYS.ORG – part of the PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION, they provide co-pay assistance to insured (including Medicare Part D) medically and financially qualified patients diagnosed with several diseases or conditions. You can reach the CPR team (Co-Pay Relief Program) at 1-866-512-3861 for them to guide you through the enrollment process or enroll securely online.
INTERNET DRUG COUPONS – hundreds of Manufacturer coupons for prescription and non-prescription drugs, brand name and generics.
(Related: 2014 Pension Rates)
HEALTHCARE REFORM – Affordable Care Act explained; changes, timeline, how they affect individuals, business; tools to compare hospitals, home health, nursing homes & dialysis facilities; learn about prevention, staying healthy & raising healthier kids; coverage & pricing options; and more.
eHEALTHINSURANCE – health insurance carriers & plans to view & compare; online & telephone assistance from a broker; no fees; advocacy should you need to deal with the insurance company regarding claims, billing or anything else; individual & family plans; long- or short-term policies; medical, dental, travel, life and Medicare plans, and more.
BENEFITS.GOV – government assistance through benefit programs for things like job training, nutritional assistance, health care & education, for instance. You must answer questions, then your answers are compared with over 1000 programs to check for eligibility.
BENEFITS CHECKUP – over 2000 public & private benefits programs for seniors with limited incomes & resources, including prescription drugs, nutrition, energy assistance, legal & tax relief, in-home services, transportation, Social Security, volunteer services and more.
MANAGING CAREGIVING TASKS, TIPS, INFO
FDA DRUG DATABASE – drug info including recommended dosages, interaction, drug safety, generic drugs, approved prescription drugs, drug recall, fraudulent products, as well as medical devices, vaccines & much more.
CAREGIVER.COM – for, about & by caregivers; information & support about caregiving issues; tips from caregivers; nutrition, recipes, tips on getting care recipient to eat; links; dates of conferences around the US; submit your stories & ask other caregivers for wisdom / suggestions; and more.
CARING.COM – information on health issues such as MS, epilepsy, sleep problems; “Steps & Stages” provides expert guidance and community support for Alzheimer’s caregivers; forums for caregivers; blogs; financial matters such as estate planning, guardianship, paying for care, power of attorney; in-home care & senior living topics; well-organized sections; caregiver wellness, and more.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR CAREGIVING – message board for questions & answers; caregiver signs of stress & what to do about them; policy & law; the healthcare maze; practical advice on managing caregiving; respite, support, literature, websites; and more.
LOTSA HELPING HANDS – organize helpers & volunteers through a private web-based service; coordinate daily tasks with family, friends, neighbors such as transportation to medical appointments, coverage; share medical information securely with designated family members; sections for well-wishing, blog, journal, photos; caregiver can post requests for help for helpers to fill – no overlaps; more.
CARINGBRIDGE SUPPORTPLANNER – an online calendar for family and friends to organize helpful tasks and coordinate care. These can include meal planning, transportation, child minding, pet sitting, household chores or giving the caregiver a break.
GIVE FORWARD – create a page to support a friend or family member by raising funds for medical expenses online. Promote your page through email or Facebook. Friends and family can donate securely online until the end date of your fundraiser. The beneficiary will receive a check for the amount raised – minus the website’s 7% fee.
PERSONAL HEALTH RECORDS – lets you create & maintain your health information or that of a loved one, which can be shared with doctors, caregivers, family, or others involved in providing medical care.
AAHCP – American Academy of Home Care Physicians: a directory of doctors in the USA who make house calls. ”Specialties include internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, and more.”
CAREGIVER & PATIENT COMMUNITIES, WELLNESS, COPING
TREATMENT DIARIES – keep an online diary of your caregiving experience as a way to cope; share your diary or keep it private; read other diaries from people going through similar circumstances to yours to find support, tips, ways to cope.
THE COFFEE KLATCH – online talk radio providing interviews with the most respected world renowned experts in many fields dealing with children with special needs; created for parents of children with special needs to find accurate information and resources so that they can make better and more informed decisions about the care of their children.
BENSFRIENDS – network of patient communities that support and provide information on rare diseases. Its “mission is to ensure that everyone in the world with a rare disease has a safe place to go and connect with others like them.”
CARINGBRIDGE – create a secure personal website to connect with family and friends while experiencing a health event. Stay in touch with other loved ones by posting updates on the patient and reading their messages of hope and encouragement.
CAREGIVER ACTION NETWORK FORUM – ”a place for family caregivers to post questions and to seek advice” on any topic related to caregiving. CAN has lots of additional information as well as a forum for caregivers, so explore the website.
THE CAREGIVER SPACE – a free social network that provides all family caregivers with resources, support and a chance to connect with each other in order to reduce stress, isolation and exhaustion so that they may better cope with the demands of their caregiving journey.
CAREGIVING – offers a wealth of information & support for family caregivers through instructional webinars (on coping, stress reduction, and many other pertinent topics), coaching, books, personal blogs, forum and insightful posts that help and guide family caregivers.
EXPERIENCE LIFE! – nutrition, wellness, life wisdom, activities to stay healthy; practical articles with realistic goals & plans to achieve them; very pertinent topics such as sugar in foods, anxiety, depression fighters, how foods can affect your mind & metabolism; fitness; tlps to think more positively; overcoming resistance to change & barriers to self-care; and more.
DIVERSIONS, EXPLORE, LEARN
MUSEUMS IN THE USA – links to museums all across the US, great for a mental getaway! This is great for taking a break from it all for a little while – for free & no packing!
VIRTUAL LIBRARY MUSEUMS PAGES – links to museums all over the world; another website for your mind – & spirit – to wander & to recharge.
MUSEUMSTUFF.COM – museums in USA and the world; fabulous website with loads of museums to visit – if only virtually. Sometimes, all we need is to see something beautiful & inspiring to remember that there is another side to life, that good things abound despite the challenges we face. Art can be a mental cleansing breath!
PANDORA – radio station that plays music you like online, on the go, at home.
YOU TUBE – videos about music, shows, travel, how-to, news, pets…laugh & amuse yourself, escape to the theater or to the islands! Learn how to apply make-up or how to mix a great cocktail! Learn to knit! Sing along to your favorite musical or let yourself be serenaded by your favorite crooner!
– See more at: http://www.caregivingcafe.com/top-20-websites-for-caregivers/#sthash.X7zDvAIt.dpuf
Christopher J. Berry is a Michigan elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.theeldercarefirm.com/ or call 248.481.4000