The story

Kim Mickens, 49, has always been the caregiver among her eight brothers and sisters. So when her mother, Delphine Mickens, was told she had Alzheimer's disease, Mickens took care of all the arrangements for her mother's care -- among them, she chose a nursing home not far from her place in Baltimore.

But Mickens didn't like the way her mother was treated, so she moved Delphine to a second facility. That one didn't work out either. Mickens eventually concluded that the only way Delphine was going to receive acceptable care was to move her mother in with her.

Moving Delphine into her house wasn't so easy: She needed medical equipment including a wheelchair, medication and round-the-clock care. "She can't walk," Mickens says. "So we bathe her, we feed her, we do everything for her." Because Mickens works two jobs, she also needed someone to provide in-home care.

Because Delphine is in her 80s, Medicare covers a lot of the costs -- but Mickens didn't know where to start; the logistics were overwhelming.

Medicare personnel helped her get some of the medical supplies she needed and also recommend a new Web site called Ask Medicare. Designed to give easy access to people taking care of elderly relatives, Ask Medicare provides information and links to services that are important to caregivers. Read full article »

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