To get the information you need, you will need to talk to your loved one and do some research on your own. You may have to bring up some uncomfortable topics with your loved one, such as end-of-life issues and finances. While it may be difficult to have these discussions, it is important that you talk to your loved one before they have a health crisis to ensure that they get the best possible care.

If you are caring for a loved one with Medicare, you should know:

  • How does Medicare work? How does your loved one get their Medicare benefits? What doctors and services does your loved one’s Medicare provider cover?
  • What are your loved one’s health care needs? What conditions do they have? What medications do they take? What conditions and surgeries have they had in the past?
  • Where does your loved one keep important information? Where do they keep documents like their emergency contact list, the names and contact numbers of their doctors, birth certificate, Medicare card and bank statements?
  • What are your loved one’s health care preferences? In the event that they can no longer communicate their wishes, what kind of treatment would they want? Have they legally appointed someone to make decisions on their behalf?
  • Are your loved one’s health care needs covered? Can your loved one pay for current health care needs? Will they be able to in the future? If they need it, will they be able to afford long-term care (at home or in a living facility)? What kind of health care and prescription drug coverage does your loved one have?
  • What help is available for your loved one? What kinds of services does your loved one’s health plan cover? Where else can you find services to help your loved one?
  • Where can you as a caregiver go for help? What is your right to assistance? What support services are available in your area?