Baby Boomers are being faced with the responsibility of caring for their aging parents and when the need arises, it’s typically in the midst of a crisis situation. Being faced with an emergency and being in panic mode is not the time to seek out care giving assistance or resources for the elderly. The process of gathering the information needed to secure elder care services is one that will take time and resources.
In most areas of the country, there are resources and agencies to whom you can go for help and advice. Here are five to get you started:
- Office of the Aging or Agency of Aging – these agencies are run under the auspices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This department is charged with helping seniors and their families obtain resources and information on a wide variety of issues that face the elderly. This agency has access to both printed materials and phone numbers and websites for senior service providers that you can contact.
- 211 – many major cities in America offer the 211 telephone service as a way to connect individuals with elder care services in your particular community. The services available – from both the phone number service to the information it provides – vary by municipality. If it’s available it can put you in touch with support services for the elderly such as rental and utility assistance, home health care or adult day care facilities, food banks, respite care and Meals-on-Wheels providers.
- National Institute on Aging – this site offers a “one-stop shop” for service providers for the elderly.
- Senior ministries – the church or other religious organization that your aging parent belongs to can be a resource for services for your relative. Many religious organizations provide volunteers that will visit your aging parents in addition to providing you with contact information on other services in the area that are available.
- Your employer – you may not have thought about it, but your employer could be a resource and many large organizations provide access to free eldercare guidance through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Ask your human resource department for information on social agencies that can provide resources for caring for your elderly.
Caring for an aging parent will certainly change your life in many ways but it can be a rewarding time for both of you providing a chance to connect and help them out in their time of need. Many individuals find that a valuable gift for an aging parent is to equip their home with a home medical alert device and then pick up the monthly tab. With this device, your parent is equipped with a medical alert pendant and in the event of a health emergency or a trip or fall, they can press a button and summon immediate medical help. These devices offer both peace of mind and allow your relatives to remain living independently in their own homes for a longer period of time.