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Prime Time: Caregivers need support, too

Family support is critical to remaining in one's home and in the community, but often comes at substantial costs to caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society. If family caregivers were no longer available, the cost to the U.S. health care and long-term services would increase astronomically.

Along with the ongoing, day-to-day care and costs of taking care of a loved one, billions of dollars are spent each year on elders returning home from hospital stays. Many families simply do not have a plan in place, and elders go home only to find themselves in the hospital again because they didn't have the support needed for their recovery. Both patients and their families need to be involved in the continuing care process for the most effective transitions from hospital to home.

According to ElderCarelink, caregivers, family members and the patient should address questions such as the following:

-- Will the elder need mobility assistance?

-- Will the elder need equipment and supplies?

-- How long will the elder need assistance?

-- If the elder cannot provide their own care, then who will?

There are several organizations and support services (such as assisted living facilities, in-home care, Adult Day Services and nursing homes) available for post-hospitalization care. However, taking the time to establish a plan for elder care after these hospitalizations is most important. After all, the need for care typically doesn't end when a loved one leaves the hospital.

Northwoods Caregivers provides in-home respite care, homemaking services, transportation services and caregiver support services to Family Caregivers and their loved ones. For more information, visit our website at or call 333-8264.