Tips for navigating Medicare - helping elderly parent


The title says it all!

What a total cluster of paperwork, bureaucracy, forms, and applications!

I ask: “How can a person of 75+ years, from the era of “carbon paper & the mail system” navigate this on their own??.. I can’t figure it out, and I’m 43 and have the Internet!”

Any tips from those of you helping your parents??


Have you tried calling Medicare and speaking with someone there?

Also what about the local senior center or church or hospital? They should all have resources to help.


Are you speaking of the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage? I went to a meeting to learn about this for my mother in-law and have never seen so many intelligent, well-educated, but totally confused seniors.

Here is a link to a site for the Council on Aging: It gives a good explanation of things. The Medicare site is helpful, too.

There are so many plans, and it can be so confusing, depending upon what drugs your parent takes. There are good charts available that show the different plans. The advice about visiting the local senior center is excellent, as it is likely your best bet to start. They can be helpful for other Medicare-related questions, as well (and you can generally get in without waiting forever, as with government agencies…)

Good luck!


I recently found the Government Web site for Medicare . It has a lot of helpful information - not a cureall. It is possible to register in there and track ones account, bills, entitlements etc.

I haven’t used it much so far except to track a couple of messed up bills; so can’t comment on its completeness.

If you encounter a real mess a letter to your Congressman will frequently get matters clarified. Each has an assistant whose main job is to ride herd on Social Security.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit