If you need help caring for elderly parents, getting a handle on all the different care options available for obtaining that help can be a confusing experience.
Many organizations, both public and private, offer services that can be of assistance to adult children in obtaining needed care, but knowing where to look for that help is key to making the most of those opportunities. So where to start? Here are 4 ideas that can help.
1. Contact Your Local Area Agency on Aging
Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a great source of general information on local resources that can benefit those who need help caring for aging parents. In Alabama, there are 13 AAA offices throughout the state to assist seniors, their families and their caregivers in finding the services and resources they need to manage their care needs.
When you contact your local office, be sure to ask for information on the Alabama Cares Program, which is administered by the Alabama AAA offices. This program provides services to help caregivers who are caring for elderly parents or other loved ones, including:
Information on resources and services available within your community
Assistance from a trained Alabama Cares Coordinator to aid caregivers in assessing their loved one’s needs and accessing support services
Caregiver education and counseling
Supplemental services, such as meals, assistive technologies, incontinence and other supplies, and emergency alert/response systems, among others.
2. Check out the Benefits Finder Tool
This online tool offers people who need help caring for elderly parents a simple and efficient way to search for the resources they need. By filling out a questionnaire that asks for details on your loved one’s health, disabilities, financial situation, any military service, and education, among other factors, this system can generate a list of services and benefits they may qualify for by searching across 17 federal agencies, as well as state and local programs.
3. Visit The National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckup
Another benefits search tool that works much similarly to Benefits.gov, this online resource offers information specifically geared toward seniors. Using this tool may offer a wider range of results regarding services available to address the unique needs of caregivers who need help caring for elderly parents.
4. Look for specialized resources
National or local associations can offer specialized information that is specific to health conditions that your elderly parents may be experiencing. For instance, if your parent has suffered a stroke, the American Stroke Association is a great resource for information on stroke care and recovery. If your parent has diabetes, look up the American Diabetes Association for solid information, or if heart disease is an issue, a visit to the American Heart Association website will yield helpful information.
If you have taken these steps and are still feeling a little overwhelmed, you may find that contacting a local senior center, nursing home, or other senior care facility may be helpful. These types of organizations generally have people on staff who are intimately familiar with all services and resources in the area that can benefit seniors and their caregivers and can explain them in simple, straightforward terms that make them easier to understand.