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January Wellness Forum Helps Family Caregivers
by Tom Boughner
see also in PL VOICE, March 2012, p.15

Our January forum was all about helping family caregivers with the challenges they face. Here are some highlights: Heaven Gregg, Information and Assistance Specialist with the Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A), introduced two programs available to all unpaid family caregivers from O3A: the Family Caregiver Support Program, which includes support groups and respite care; and a Powerful Tools for Caregivers class that focuses on caring for the family caregiver. More information on these services can be found at http://www.o3a.org/family.htm.

Keri Johns, Director of Home and Community Health, Jefferson Healthcare, explained the role of home health care. This medical service, covered by Medicare/Medicaid and most health insurance, may be prescribed, for example, to aid recovery from surgery, accidents or stroke. Services may be provided by home health nurses or certified nurse assistants, or physical, occupational or speech therapists.

Tom and Sandy Boughner, owners of the local Home Instead Senior Care franchise office, talked about getting outside help with home care, which is the non-medical complement to home health care. Since it is not medical, home care is not covered by Medicare; but it may be covered by Medicaid for those who qualify. Long-term care insurance also covers home care services. Otherwise, clients or their families pay for these services. Home care includes assistance with the day-to-day tasks we perform to care for ourselves and our home when these tasks become too difficult to do ourselves. Outside assistance from professional caregivers can be arranged through an agency or privately. While private caregivers are less expensive, the risks of going that route are considerable.

PowerPoint presentations for the home health and home care talks are posted on www.plhealth.org under Wellness Forums.


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