Even when their need for specialized care is great, most older people prefer to stay at home. Often adult children and other family members take on the caregiving responsibilities — providing rides, picking up prescriptions and helping out around the house. Eventually, they may even be managing high-tech medical treatments, assisting with daily activities and dealing with end-of-life issues.
See also: Community resources for caregivers.
But too many times, caregivers try to do it all. Those who seek and accept outside help with tasks are less likely to burn out and better able to provide long-term support for their parents.
Community-based services can include everything from help with household chores to round-the-clock care provided by a nurse, a trained aide or a volunteer. Sometimes care is covered by insurance or free of charge by a nonprofit organization; other services charge hourly rates.
To ease the stress and strain of caregiving, here are some resources to consider:
Help with everyday needs
A friendly check-in
Sometimes a phone call or visit by a companionship service or volunteer organization can be reassuring for an older person living alone. Visits and phone calls are likely to be of minimal cost or free if provided by the local area Agency on Aging.
Help around the house
Home care aides can do laundry, cooking or run errands. To make the home safer for elderly residents, repair services can be hired for minor repairs and maintenance.
For a hot meal and social interaction, some agencies deliver meals to the home and some seniors centers serve group meals.