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Using Community Services to Meet Changing Needs

Professionals and programs you can use to help

Just as there is a range of needs as we age, there are many community-based services to help. As a caregiver, you can help your loved one sort through the options. There are professionals you can hire and nonprofit programs available to help seniors to stay in their homes. And if more support is needed, there is a variety of housing arrangements that can keep your parents safe and healthy.

AARP Caregiving Resource Center tips how to call on community services to help an aging parent

Community resources can be very helpful when caring for a loved one. — Photo by Blend Images/Getty Images

Finding help at home

Home care aides
Help can be hired to do chores such as cleaning the house, grocery shopping or laundry, as well as assisting with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing or using the toilet.

Home health care
For skilled nursing care, physical therapy, wound care, medicating and help prescribed by a physician, you can arrange for a licensed medical professional to provide services in your home.

Home repair services
For basic upkeep and minor changes to make a home safer for an elderly resident, there are home repair services. These professionals can, for example, install grab bars in bathrooms, put special seats in the shower or build ramps for a wheelchair.

Meal services
If your parent can't get out or doesn't cook much, home-delivered meal programs can be a good way to get nutritious meals. Senior centers often offer lunch and the opportunity to eat with other people.

Companion and telephone reassurance services
Volunteers can make regular visits or phone calls to older adults to check in on their safety and provide social contact.

Home observation
In some communities, mail carriers or utility workers are trained to spot and report signs of trouble — such as mail or trash piling up — at the homes of older adults.

Personal emergency response systems (PERS)
For help in a fall or other emergency, a PERS is a simple device with a button that an older person can press to send a message to a hospital or police station that help is needed.

Hospice care
At the end of life, hospice services can allow seniors to stay in their own home. They can include medical care, counseling and pain control for terminally ill patients.

Next: Other community resources. »

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