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How to help caregivers
- Ask the doctors and nurses: What will the patient need? Who can help? How does one become a good caregiver?
- Consult a social worker or case manager, especially to understand Medicare and Medicaid rules and what facilities and services might be available.
- Use a support group. Even if a caregiver is a little uncertain about meeting with others, try it a few times. Most people find it enormously helpful to hear how others have met challenges and to share stories with others who have really "been there."
- Get information from the relevant national organizations. All kinds of good information is posted on the Internet, and a librarian can help you get it if you don't have access. Some groups also have toll-free phone numbers.
- Contact a local hospital or hospice to locate support groups and special services that they might have for people who face similar challenges.
- Do some research, either in the library, on the Internet, in getting second opinions. Try to become something of an expert on the particular illnesses affecting your loved ones.
- Call on family and friends — don't do it all alone.
Adapted from Helping Yourself, Help Others by Rosalynn Carter with Susan K. Golant
To learn more about the book "Handbook for Mortals" click here.