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Female caregiver talking with patient at a senior living center

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En español | You’ll want to find the best care and housing for your loved ones – whether you’re looking for ways to keep them safe at home or trying to choose the right level of care in facilities. The good news is there are many options available.

AARP's Caregiving Question and Answer Tool guides you to understanding and choosing the right solution for your parents or loved ones.



Out-of-Home Facilities and Services Q & A Home

Q: What is meant by an assisted living facility?

A: Assisted living residences are aimed at helping residents remain as self-sufficient as possible with the assurance of assistance when needed. — Read full answer.


Q: How does a nursing home function?

A: Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care, rehabilitative care, medical services, personal care and recreation in a supervised and safe environment. — Read full answer.


Q:  What are continuing care retirement communities, and how do they work?

A: Continuing care retirement communities are part independent living, part assisted living and part skilled nursing home, offering a tiered approach to the aging process.  — Read full answer.


Q: Where can I find affordable transportation services for seniors?

A: For occasional trips, consider asking friends and family to volunteer. Depending on your loved one’s health and locale, public transportation can be a viable option. — Read full answer.


Q: What is adult day care?

A: Adult day care services are non-residential, community-based programs for older adults who require supervision. To view the complete answer, select the question above. — Read full answer.


Q: What is hospice?

A: Hospice is a holistic approach to caring for people who are terminally ill. — Read full answer.


Q: How does hospice work?

A: Hospice is for individuals facing a prognosis of six months or less to live and have chosen not to pursue curative treatment. — Read full answer.

Q: What is palliative care?

A: Palliative care is an umbrella term that refers to relieving symptoms for people whose illnesses do not respond to a curative treatment. — Read full answer.


Q: How can I get a break or respite as a caregiver for my family member or friend?

A: Ask family members, friends from the neighborhood, faith groups, etc. who may be able to offer help. Consider forming a network or respite co-op with other caregiving families. — Read full answer.


Home Care Q & A Home

Q: What is a geriatric care manager?

A: A geriatric care manager is someone who can be hired for a fee to assess an older person’s social and medical needs, arrange services and monitor care on an ongoing basis. — Read full answer.

Q: Where do I find a geriatric care manager?

A: The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers has an online search tool to find a professional by ZIP code.  Read full answer.


Q: What is the best way to communicate with a medical professional?

A: Make a list of any questions about issues you’d like to discuss well in advance of your visit. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to discuss anything with your doctor. — Read full answer.

Q: Does Medicare pay for home care?

A: Yes, in some instances, Medicare pays for certain care deemed medically necessary for up to 60 days.  Read full answer.


Q: How do I keep my loved one safe at home?

A: You can go room by room to determine how safe it is by using the home safety checklist from AARP. — Read full answer.

Q: How can I find someone to help care for my family member/friend at home?

A: Various home care agencies can help connect you with skilled, in-home care professionals whose costs Medicare and other insurers may cover.  Read full answer.


Q: What are the best ways to hire a home care worker?

A: Have job candidates bring a résumé or job history, as well as names and telephone numbers for at least two references. — Read full answer.

Q: What are the best questions to ask when hiring a home care worker?

A: Find out if the job candidates have any special training, such as working with clients who have dementia or other conditions.  Read full answer.


Q: How do I know when I can no longer keep my loved one safe at home?

A: Look closely at your loved one’s mental, physical, environmental and financial conditions. Families can conduct assessments or hire an experienced professional. — Read full answer.

Q: My loved one has vision loss. Where can I get more information and resources to help her cope and me care for her?

A: There are resources available to help with the practical aspects of vision loss, as well as to cope with the emotional and psychological reactions.  Read full answer.


Q: Where do I find training to do the different tasks that I am expected to do as a caregiver for my loved one?

A: There are a variety of organizations and online resources that offer training, workshops and education for family caregivers interested in strengthening their caregiving skills. — Read full answer.

Q: Can I get paid to be a family caregiver?

A: It depends. Some states have programs that help people pay caregivers, including family members.  Read full answer.


Q: How do I find local resources for caregiving, such as transportation, support groups, in-home care and home repair?

A:'s 'Eldercare Locator' tool provides area-specific recommendations for services including home care, meal plans and transportation options— Read full answer.

Q: What benefits are available to my loved one who is a veteran?

A: A variety of benefits exist for veterans, their family caregivers and survivors, but eligibility requirements vary significantly.  Read full answer.


Q: Is there any technology that will help me organize all the things I need to do for my loved one?

A: Yes. There is technology available via web and mobile devices that help caregivers organize tasks for their loved ones and themselves— Read full answer.


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