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The Biggest Misconception About Elder Care (and the Truth)

Are you new to providing care to an aging parent?

Maybe your mother’s health has only recently begun to decline or your father has fallen for the first time and now requires assistance…

If I’m talking to you then there’s a good chance that you may have some misconceptions about elder care.


Because caregiving isn’t something we talk about much.  At least not at dinner parties or at college reunions — yet.

Nope. A person’s best shot of being well-versed in how to care for an aging parent is to know someone else whose going through it, or better still, several someones.  Without this kind of vicarious caregiving, misconceptions abound and can make it difficult to plan care.

Today I want to cover what I believe to be the #1 misconception about elder care.

Are you ready?

Here it is:

Medicare (and the supplemental policy my mother/father has) will cover the cost of long-term care

This one is unequivocally false and it is so big that it might take some time to sink in.

If your aging parent has Medicare and a supplemental insurance policy (sometimes referred to as a Medi-gap policy), then the following are covered:

a) visits to the doctor and/or any specialists and tests;

b) hospitalizations and procedures;

c) short-term stays at a rehabilitation facility; and

d) TEMPORARY skilled nursing services and home attendant services with the correct documentation

What I didn’t include here and what is not covered under Medicare are those things that an older adult may require on an ongoing basis – such as home care.

And that is actually how I would recommend you think about Medicare…

Medicare will cover many of the short-term, immediate and/or emergent health needs of your aging parent, but not the long term needs.

To meet your parents’ long-term care needs you’ll need to:

a) convince your parents to spend their savings and/or any supplemental income they may have;

b) tap into the long-term care insurance policy they may have purchased years ago;

c) find a way to multiply yourself…

This last one isn’t really an option, but many family caregivers proceed as though it is! And something tells me you know who you are


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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Jennifer Isley March 25, 2011, 12:33 AM

    So true! The most asked question about our homecare services is “what does medicare pay for?”

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