What support options are there?
Those who care for relatives can take advantage of various relief offers. (Image source: ERGO Group)
At the end of 2021, a total of 4.96 million people in Germany were in need of care – 3.12 million of them were mainly cared for by relatives. In addition to work, household and raising children, this can quickly lead to enormous physical stress. But the psychological challenges should not be underestimated either. Dirk Görgen, care expert at DKV, knows how caring relatives can deal with it, where they can find help and what financial support options there are.
Overwork in caregiving relatives: self-protection is important
A sudden need for care in the family is a heavy blow for everyone involved. Most relatives do not want to tear the person in need of care out of their familiar environment and therefore care for them at home. “Anyone who cares for a person over a longer period of time will eventually reach their mental and physical limits,” says Dirk Görgen, care expert at DKV. Lifting, positioning or supporting can lead to back and joint pain in the long term. “But nobody should take the mental stress lightly either,” says the DKV care expert. “Those who recognize overload, whether physical or mental, early enough can avoid serious illnesses.” If head, back, neck, jaw or shoulder pain, cardiovascular problems or stomach and digestive problems, it is advisable to consult your family doctor. This also applies to persistent nervousness, restlessness, irritability and mood swings, memory or concentration difficulties.
Accept offers of relief – use downtime
To ensure that caregivers do not develop physical and psychological problems in the first place, Görgen advises taking time off regularly. “It helps to relax and protect your own health,” says the DKV care expert. One possibility, for example, is preventive care, to which people in need of care from care grade 2 are entitled for a maximum of six weeks per calendar year. “The long-term care insurance then covers the costs for replacement care – regardless of whether it is an outpatient care service, voluntary caregivers or even close relatives,” adds Görgen. Short-term care in a nursing home can also provide relief. It is available to people in need of care from care grade 2 for up to eight weeks per year. A combination of short-term care and respite care is also possible. “This increases the budget for respite care from EUR 1,612 to a maximum of EUR 2,418 per calendar year,” is the nursing expert’s tip.
Create time for hobbies and social contacts
Those who care for a relative often withdraw from their social environment because there is no time to meet up with friends. “Social contacts and hobbies are very important as a balance,” emphasizes Görgen. “Self-help groups or discussion groups with other people affected can also be helpful.” Those interested can find corresponding offers in the database of the “National Contact and Information Center for the Stimulus and Support of Self-Help Groups (NAKOS)”. In order to create the necessary leeway in terms of time, caregiving relatives can, for example, regularly take advantage of professional day and night care from care facilities. Visitation and care services by voluntary or professional carers can also provide more time to compensate.
If you receive home care from a recognized care service, you can claim care insurance. From care level 2, she pays a lump sum depending on the care level. In addition, the so-called relief amount of 125 euros per month supports you from care level 1. This is intended to enable carers to take breaks from everyday care. With this they can, for example, finance the accompaniment of those in need of care to the doctor, household-related services such as shopping assistance or preventive care. If there is a degree of care, the care fund or the care insurance grants further grants for care aids. This can be a care bed or measures to improve the living situation, for example the installation of stair lifts. The Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) is also currently promoting age-appropriate conversion or the purchase of converted living space with Loan 159.
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About the DKV
For more than 95 years, DKV has been a leading force in healthcare with its needs-based and innovative products. As a specialist, it offers comprehensive health and long-term care insurance coverage as well as health services to private and statutory insured persons. The organization of high-quality medical care is also one of the core competencies of DKV. In 2022, the company generated premium income of EUR 5.1 billion.
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This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by the management of DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors can lead to the fact that the actual developments, in particular the results, the financial situation and the business of our company differ significantly from the forward-looking statements made here. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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