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In the last 3 years, I've been caregiver to my aging mother (dementia), my ex-husband (lung cancer), my brother (liver disease), my son (Crohns) and my mother-in-law (diabetes, congestive heart failure, renal failure, dialysis). Three of my five patients have passed away and I was fortunate to be with them until the end. This is a great forum for sharing my experiences, but I'm also thinking of starting my own website and blog. My question is.. what caregiving information, support or resource do you need most? Is there a gap that's not being filled? I personally think what I needed (and still need) most days is immediate answers during times of crisis and an occasional break. What do you all think?

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A checklist or set of questions to ask yourself before you start caregiving - do you have what it takes to be a caregiver? Will you be able to see it through? Do you have access to the appropriate and necessary resources? We all think we do, but do we? Are we ignoring the warning signs that we might not be up to it?
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All of the above, especially a resources quick access directory with FAQ, would be great. Resources to help caregivers with family dysfunction issues that impact caregiving; how to get family members to share in the work (and how to cope when they don't respond); respite, time-off and the importance of taking care of yourself first; tips for avoiding caregiver burnout and what to do when it happens to you; when to admit it's time to quit caregiving, and how to do that right; how to rebuild a life after your caregiving role ends. These would be my suggestions. Good luck, it's needed.
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The most important issues are related to finances.
What the caregiver can expect to be covered by medical insurance (most have caps on coverage)
What is skilled nursing and what determines if a person qualifies for skilled nursing ( nursing home, assisted living or other).
What qualifies a person for hospital care.When will they be kept after emergency care or sent home from the hospital under the care of caregiver.
Who gets paid for caregiving, why and how.
The differences in power of attorney (clarify).
When to call an ambulance.
How to evaluate an emergency situation (such as a fall).
What drugs are safe for the elderly ( even some over the counter drugs are not are not safe for the elderly).
How long are memory drugs useful and for what age group.
Identification of common skin ailments in elderly.
Interpretting pain signals.
I could go on forever.
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"I personally think what I needed (and still need) most days is immediate answers during times of crisis and an occasional break." You've summed it up right there, it's maddening trying to negotiate the system and get answers. That's why Aging Care is a godsend, even for those of us who don't live in the USA.
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