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Using Community Services to Meet Changing Needs

Professionals and programs you can use to help

Tapping resources in the community

For those who can no longer drive, there are often less expensive options than hiring a taxi. Many communities offer discounted senior transportation services with vans and volunteer drivers or discounted taxi programs to help get people to medical appointments, senior centers or shopping.

Senior centers
If your loved one is somewhat independent and mobile, he could enjoy activities at a neighborhood senior center. Many offer recreation programs, social activities and health screenings.

Adult day centers
For the older person with mental or physical challenges, these centers offer health care, recreation, meals and rehabilitative therapy in a group setting. There usually is a fee, but many programs offer financial assistance.

Respite care
When caregivers need a break, there are respite services to fill in at home, at an adult day center, or in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Considering a new home

This involves two or more unrelated people living together in a house. Sometimes an older adult rents out an extra bedroom in exchange for income and help in the home.

Retirement communities
This apartment-style building with individual units allows residents to care for themselves, but they share meals in a common dining area and housekeeping services are provided. Often some personal care and recreational activities are offered.

Assisted living residences
Housing for those who may need help living independently but do not need skilled nursing care. The level of assistance varies among residences and may include help with bathing, dressing, meals and housekeeping.

Board and care homes
These facilities offer services less than, but similar to, those of assisted living but are smaller. They are sometimes called group homes or personal care homes.

Continuing care retirement communities
CCRCs are designed to meet the changing needs of older people all on a campus. The resident may start out living on his or her own, then move to an assisted living unit or skilled nursing care as more help is needed.

Assistance in paying for services

If you can't pay for home and community services yourself, there are public programs available, including:

Providing medical coverage for most people over the age of 65, Medicare covers limited skilled nursing home care and home care benefits (1-800-Medicare).

This program is designed to cover medical care for those with low incomes. Medicaid may help pay for nursing home care and sometimes services at home.

Private long-term care insurance
This pays for care in nursing homes, assisted living and/or home care, depending on the policy.

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