As a caregiver to an aging adult, rest assured, at some point you’ll need to find a geriatrician, an adult day program, or the like. Happily, there are loads of Federal, state and community agency programs and services geared to seniors -- it’s just a matter of knowing where they are. To help you zero in on great community resources for elderly folks and their families, we’ve come up with a few ideas.
211 Telephone Service
In the search for community resources, one of the smartest strategies is to pick up the phone and dial 211. Information resource specialists can connect you to up-to-date information about senior resources like home health care, Meals on Wheels, and income support programs.
Aging Life Care Professionals
Another good way to find community resources (especially if you are a long-distance caregiver) is to hire someone who can manage care for your loved one and come up with a long-term plan. Aging life care professionals, who often have a background in gerontology, social work or nursing, are typically connected to a whole host of relevant professionals like real estate agents, senior move managers and elder law attorneys. These experts are sure to connect you to the services you need.
Associations and Other Professional Organizations
You can also find experts who work with older folks and their families through professional associations and organizations. For instance, the Aging Life Care Association can direct you to a local aging life care professional, while the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys can help you land a lawyer specializing in elder care law. The American Psychological Association has a handy psychologist locator -- just plug in your city, choosing Aging as the area of specialization. To find a financial planner familiar with estate planning, check out the Financial Planners Association. Finally, if your parents plan to downsize, the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) would be an ideal association to tap into.
Community and Senior Centers
One simple way to find out about what’s going on in the community is to check the boards at community centers, where you’re apt to see countless flyers advertising programs for all age levels. Of course, to target programs for older adults, make your way down to the nearest senior center or independent living community.
Friends, Neighbors and Acquaintances
Friends and neighbors can be one of your biggest allies when it comes to sourcing services for the elders in your life. In fact, you may come across several “finds” through word of mouth, like the sister of a friend who can make lunch for your mother, the lawyer who helped your neighbor draw up a power of attorney, or the handyman recommended by three ladies at your place of worship.
Information about long-term care options is ample on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, including a link to Benefit Finder, a site that locates relevant state benefit programs, and Elder Care Locator, which can guide you through the maze of long-term care options. This site also tackles retirement planning and elder justice and can point you to resources in your state.
Health Care Organizations
Chances are very good that your Mom or Dad’s doctor can direct you to some excellent health-related resources. In addition, if one of your parents has been hospitalized, the hospital social worker can inform you of beneficial services. Likewise, if they live in an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility, staff can inform you as to what care is already available onsite and help you track down practitioners who will go out to the community to, say, give foot care treatments or massages.
National Council on Aging
One way the National Council on Aging fulfills its mission to improve the lives of older adults is through the BenefitsCheckUp website. After answering some online questions, this site lets you know about a few of the more than 1,650 public and private benefits programs that can help pay for your parent ‘s prescription drugs, health care, in-home services, utilities and other needs.
Senior Care Counselors
Finally, consider reaching out to a senior care counselor at a senior living community in your area to find out whether there are options available there for your family. From community events, classes, and activities to respite care to full-time senior living, independent senior living communities and assisted living communities have many resources to offer to the elderly.
Think we’ve overlooked a great way to find community resources for families like yours? Let us know in the comments section below!
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