1. Conduct Research and Collect Information:
Knowledge is your toolbox and the more information you put in it the better equipped you will be to find the right care for your loved one.
- Learn what services exist in the area where he or she lives.
- List each service and specifically what they offer, when it is available and any fees associated with the service.
- Every area has a Council on Aging at the local level, usually affiliated with town or city government.
- Each state has a Department of Elder Services or similarly named department that oversees all senior services in the state.
- Counties offer elder services or an “Area Agency on Aging.”
- You may find that services at the state and county level use the word “elder” and services at the local level use the word “senior”.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance has a
Family Care Navigator with a state-by-state searchable database that lists public, nonprofit and private programs and services. The list includes government health and disability programs, legal resources, disease-specific organizations and more.
2. Connect with your Loved One’s Network:
The more people you know, the better services you will be able to find. Some of the healthcare professionals you should get to know include:
- Physicians, nurse practitioners and/or physicians’ assistant for your loved one’s primary care or speciality care depending on their condition
- Practice manager at the primary care physician’s office
- Social worker at the local hospital and or rehab facility. Social workers are invaluable resources if your loved one is hospitalized or transferred to skilled nursing. They can help you navigate the complicated healthcare landscape and can refer you to services in the area.
- Meals at home provider
- Senior center director
- Eldercare advocate at the county area agency on aging
- Eldercare attorney
3. In-Home Caregivers:
Professional at-home caregivers are an extension of you when you live long distance. When you find the right service, you will find people who have your loved one’s best interests at heart and have the knowledge to care for them mentally, physically and emotionally.