Caring in Uncertain Times

Photo Credit: Génesis Gabriella CCO Public Domain

We are pleased to share this post by Jacqueline Boyd from The Care Plan.  Jacqueline is a tireless advocate for healthcare needs of the elderly and LGBTQ+ community providing guidance and planning for her clients. 

by Jacqueline Boyd

“How will changes to the Affordable Care Act affect my insurance coverage?”

“Will my 85-year-old parent be able to get coverage with so many preexisting conditions?”

“Should I push to get my gender affirming surgery now?”

“How can I access HIV care if funding is cut and my medical services are no longer covered?”

These are a sampling of questions posed by members of The Care Plan network over the last few months.  The Care Plan serves individuals from all walks of life and advocates on their behalf. We keep a measured eye on the political landscape for our family caregivers and LGBTQ+ clientele. It is our goal to provide our clients resources to move forward with a greater degree of comfort and clarity.

For the estimated 9 million Americans who identify as LGBTQ+—who are at higher risk of chronic illness, HIV, substance abuse, suicide and many other disorders—access to affirming health care is critical.  Likewise, approximately 44 million Americans are providing unpaid caregiver support to another person.

Across the country, people are searching for answers about how to navigate care in a time of uncertainty.  For those who coordinate care for themselves or a loved one, here are some basic tips for navigating the waters ahead:

1. Stay Informed
Seek out objective news sources to stay abreast of changes that could affect you or your family. The reality is many people are overwhelmed by the amount of news available. We recommend choosing a credible outlet that provides information on both local and national levels. You can also identify your favorite health writer and follow them on social media. Some of our favorites are The New York Times, Huffington Post and Medicare.gov.

2.  Advocate
Prepare to defend your resources and speak up for those of others. Raise your voice to create sustainable solutions on a national or local scale. Many of the proposed changes are likely to fall to state governments to sort out, particularly Medicaid expansion coverage. If you have the energy, take time to reach out to representatives or join an advocacy group on the issues you feel passionately about. AARP is well versed on state-level legislation and can provide resources and direction on advocacy.

3.  Connect
Gain strength by finding informal sources of support. Whether it is prioritizing time with family and friends, showing up for community events, or getting creative about caring for a loved one, take the time to connect. If appropriate, take the opportunity to gather the people closest to you to take the next step: to become family-of-choice, and verbalize what that means. Connection with people who care about you will provide a support system in the face of any number of challenges.

4.  Plan Ahead
There is no time like the present to address long-term care plans. If you don’t have a Power of Attorney, a will, or an estate plan, now is your opportunity to put financial and legal protections in place. Find out how the loved ones in your life feel about accessing health providers, what role they want you to play in their care, and what critical decisions you should be aware of.

The Care Plan is available to partner with you in addressing current and future challenges. At a time with more questions than answers, the power of human connection can heal and move us all forward.  For expert guidance or questions on the road ahead, contact Jacqueline at 630-479-0083, or write to [email protected].

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