En español | For older adults who need support to stay independent in their homes, there are a growing number of private and public organizations that offer home and community-based services. Many of these services can help solve long-term care issues and ease the strain on the caregiver. Ranging from bi-weekly help with household chores to round-the-clock in-home care, these services are provided by nurses, trained aides and volunteers. They may take some seeking out, but these services can be well worth the search. Here is some information to help you get started.
Get help finding local services in your loved one’s community. The Eldercare Locator provides area-specific recommendations for services including home care, meal plans, transportation options and more. Use the handy search tool on their website.
Local agencies on aging often provide an affordable service whereby older adults are matched with a companion who checks in on a regular basis — both in person and over the phone — to provide home supervision, reassurance and friendly, social interaction. This frequent communication from a companion can help rid caregivers of some of the guilt associated with not being able to stop in as often as they’d like. For information regarding companionship offerings, contact your state’s agency on aging.
General Housekeeping and Upkeep
For those unable to manage day-to-day tasks such as laundry, cooking, errands and shopping, homemakers and home-care aides can come in handy. These folks can also provide help with bathing and dressing. For general home upkeep, there are home repair services that will perform minor maintenance and repairs. Both of these providers generally charge an hourly rate. Your state’s agency on aging or local senior center may be able to point you in the direction of these services.
Preparing meals on a daily basis can become a stress on older adults. There may come a time when a meal delivery service is needed. Or, if your loved one lives near a senior center or in a facility that arranges group meals, arrangements can be made for him to join a meal group. Find out what meal options are available in your area by calling your local senior center for more information.
In many communities across the country, senior centers offer older adults the opportunity to gather with their peers in a casual setting and participate in a variety of activities and programs. These centers provide an engaging environment for our older loved ones to age successfully and with fulfillment. Patrons can take part in a variety of activities including exercise classes, day trips and excursions and, in some locations, continuing education classes. Meals are generally offered and health screenings are often available, too. Check your phone book for a senior center near you or visit the National Council on Aging’s website.
Whether or not caregivers are nearby to offer transportation for their loved one, there will come a time when alternative transportation options are necessary. There are a variety of transportation services in most communities: taxis, hired car services, volunteer drivers, Dial-a-Ride, ride sharing, public transportation, etc. To learn more about these options, check out our article on transportation alternatives.
Adult Day Services
Older adults who require supervised assistance throughout the day can visit adult day centers for services in a group setting. Check out our article on adult day services to learn more.
Some religious organizations offer services of many kinds to older people. If your loved one is already connected to a community, inquire within about their programs for seniors. For example, Faith in Action is a nondenominational network of volunteers who help people stay in their homes.
For those who suffer from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes or cancer, and their caregivers, disease-specific organizations often provide services that can help both patient and caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Association, for example, has a 24-hour helpline where loved ones can turn with questions or if they need someone to talk to. They also offer a 24-hour emergency response service for those suffering from the disease and their families, and an online support community for caregivers. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs and services, visit their website. The American Cancer Society provides helpful advice on how to be a caregiver to a cancer patient and also offers an online community where cancer caregivers can connect and support one another. Visit the American Cancer Society’s website for more information.