Any helpful hints or advice for starting care for me?

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I am nearly 74, female, and have had arthritis all of my adult life. The disability level is about 85%.My husband, who has been doing his best to provide for my needs is getting to the point where we will be seeking in home help several hours/days weekly.
We have private health care insurance, and as far as we know, do not qualify for government assistance.
How did you go about learning the ins and outs, what mistakes did you make, how would you change what you did if you could?

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There are a plethora of agencies which may or may not be good. I would prefer to interview individual caregivers as agencies may send someone different every day and there is a world of miscommunication out there. Please get references and investigate them. There are good caregivers if you research well enough.
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I'm assuming you have a Medicare supplement. If it's half-way decent, you'll get a lot of no-charge help. I love SunFlo's suggestion that you ask family/friends. In-home healthcare or companionship is alll over the place now, and many people at least know people who are using it.

With your doctor's order, you can get a wheelchair (for each of you if you both qualify), hospital bed, oxygen, in-home nursing care, home doctor visits instead of going to the office, podiatrist home visits every six weeks...all (and more) paid for by Medicare and your supplement. Mom gets each one of these things and pays nothing. She has both parts of Medicare and a Blue Cross Blue Shield supplement. Your doctor can fill out paperwork so you can get a handicapped sticker or plates through your Dept of Motor Vehicles.

There's Meals on Wheels, of course. In our area, the suggested donation was $5 per day (5 days a week). The Council on Aging also had her qualified for a housekeeper twice a month for two hours; cost $14 per visit. She also qualified for a $1,000 annual stipend from an arm of the Council on Aging for in-home caretaking. In our area, the going rate is $22/hour.

There's lots of things out there. (Mom didn't qualify for a whole LOT because she owns a home and has significant assets. So the things she does qualify for, everyone who does their homework can qualify for.)

I wish you well. And you are a very smart lady!!
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I would start by asking friends, neighbors, churches who they know or recommend for in home care. First, you and hubby should make a list of the support, help, needed --errands? Cooking and cleaning? Personal care, bathing, mobility assistance? Etc.

Another place might be visiting an AL or care center, even senior centers and ask around. You may learn of CNAs or home nurses that have taken care of someone else's loved one and that elder then required more care or other. Anyway, you might luck into finding a caregiver that someone else had good experience with and can give you a personal reference. Another idea might be to touch base with your local hospice center and see if they can recommend or provide a caregiver list to you.

Interview several and consider a trial period to make sure your personalities and his/her skill sets meet your needs and expectations.

I've heard of some wonderful long term relationships between caregiver and families so I'm wishing you the same good fortune.
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Are you on Medicare and you have secondary insurance? Have you talked to your doctor about what your care needs are? She can script some in home care generally. Talk to your doc first and post back!
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Search around the site. Go to the Elder Care tab and click on Arthritis where questions and answers will display. Or go to Money and Legal and click on Paying for Care.
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