The support you need to help the ones you love

younger women embracing a senior women while looking at a digital tablet

As a caregiver, you need support too

Becoming a caregiver can be a challenging experience — for both new caregivers and those experienced in the role. We’re here to make the process a little easier with tools and resources to help you care for your loved one. Read on to learn more.

Caregivers — a closer look

Caregiver support starts with recognizing that you are, in fact, a caregiver. Here’s a quick breakdown of an unpaid caregiver’s average time per month:

  • 13 days on tasks like shopping, food prep, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation.
  • 6 days of feeding, dressing, grooming, and hygiene.
  • 13 hours doing research for care, illness, and medical information. 

Here are some additional numbers to consider:

  • 96% of caregivers help with daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing.
  • 66% of caregivers monitor care.
  • 63% of caregivers talk with doctors and medical professionals.
  • 50% of caregivers act as an advocate for the recipient with government agencies and services. 

The average duration of a caregiving role is about four years. 


Managing your loved one’s Medicare insurance

Besides household chores and rides to the doctor, it may be necessary to help your loved one enroll in a Medicare plan. To help enroll a loved one in Medicare, or even to manage their current Original Medicare, Medigap, or Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to have the following pieces of information handy:

  • Social Security number, if enrolling in Original Medicare.
  • Medicare number, if already a Medicare member (you can find this on their red, white, and blue Medicare card).
  • Other insurance plans and policy numbers.
  • Contact information for health care professionals like doctors, specialists, nurses, or pharmacists.
  • List of current prescription drugs and dosages.
  • Information on current health conditions, treatments, and symptoms.
  • History of past health problems.
  • Emergency contacts, such as close friends, neighbors, clergy, or housing manager.

Find the best plan for your loved one with our FREE Caregiver’s Checklist

Our FREE Caregiver’s Checklist simplifies Medicare to help you choose the best plan for your loved one. From breaking down the Medicare basics to providing useful to-do lists and organizational tips, it has everything you need to understand Medicare and your role as a caregiver.

You can request your FREE Caregiver’s Checklist at

Financial support for caregivers

The cost of caring for a loved one can be high — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Fortunately, there are several caregiver support programs that allow family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid for caring for them, including:

  • The Medicaid Self-Directed Care program lets qualified people manage their own health services. It also lets them hire family members as caregivers in some states. 
  • The Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program offers veterans a flexible budget. This allows them to choose goods and services they find most useful, including hiring a family member or neighbor as a personal care aide.
  • Aid and Attendance benefits for veterans works in conjunction with a Veterans Affairs (VA) pension. These benefits help cover the costs of a caregiver who may be a family member. Contact the VA pension management center in your area for rules and conditions.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance allows family members to be paid as caregivers. But some policies won’t pay family members who live with the person they’re caring for. Contact your family member’s insurance agent for more information. You can also ask the agent for a written confirmation of benefits.

Take time to care for yourself

We understand that it takes a lot of effort to do this job well. And it’s OK to get tired and frustrated once in a while. However, the challenges and stress from providing unpaid care for another person can sometimes build and build and, eventually, have a negative effect on the health of the caregiver. This is called caregiver burnout, and, like any illness, there are symptoms.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout is the state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can occur when a caregiver has reached their limit and does not have enough support or a healthy way to deal with the stress.

If you or somebody you know starts exhibiting some of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from caregiver burnout:

  • Loss of interest in things that the caregiver used to enjoy
  • Sudden emotional outbursts
  • Problems at work
  • Problems with a spouse
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden change in weight
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased isolation

If these symptoms sound a little too close to home for you or somebody you know, it may be time to get a little extra help. You can find a list of caregiver support groups and resources at

Talk to Highmark’s Medicare experts today

Our Licensed Medicare Advisors can help with caregiver support, too. Schedule a one-on-one consultation at our Medicare Reservations page to learn more.

This site works best with the latest version of Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company, and Highmark Senior Solutions Company are Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. HM Health Insurance Company is a PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company, Highmark Senior Solutions Company, and HM Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal.

Health benefits or health benefit administration may be provided by or through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health  Company, Highmark Senior Solutions Company, or Highmark Health Insurance Company, all of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  All references to “Highmark” in this document are references to the Highmark company that is providing the member’s health benefits or health benefit administration.