Resources for Keeping Aging Parents Safe at Home

Ducks in a Row #4

Keeping Aging Parents Safe at HomeKeeping aging parents safe at home often requires outside support. The following list of resources can help older people remain relatively independent and living in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible:

Adult Day Care Centers provide a tremendous service for both the caregiver and the care receiver, because they each get badly needed breaks from the other.

These centers provide a group setting where seniors and disabled individuals can go for recreation, socialization, rehabilitative therapy, meals, and health care. Services and fees vary. Financial assistance may be available, and fees are sometimes charged on a sliding scale, based on a personʼs ability to pay.

If you need help finding an adult day care center in your area, click on this link: National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Once you’re on the website, enter your city, state and zip code.

Non-Medical Personal Care Assistants can act as “the other daughter”. They can come into your parents’ home and help with activities of daily living (ADLʼs), such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet. It is not unusual to ask these individuals to clean house, buy groceries, cook meals, do laundry and minor repairs. Depending on the need, they may work a few hours a day a couple times a week, or they could live in and provide around-the-clock companionship.

If you work through a licensed non-medical home care agency, the company will be responsible for making sure all of their employees have gone through background checks, drug tests, etc. If one person calls in sick, it is their responsibility to find a replacement. If you hire an individual on your own, it could cost a little less than going through an agency, but it will be up to you to supervise that person. Since you would bear all the risk and responsibility for that person’s actions, you would need to be very, very careful to do background and reference checks to make sure that he/she is trustworthy and reliable.

You will need to pay for this type of care from your own funds.

If you are not familiar with a good home care agency, start your search here: The National Association for Home Care & Hospice

Home Health Care is provided by licensed professionals, such as nurses and therapists. Care includes rehabilitative therapy, administration of medications, wound care, and other medical help. If home health care is prescribed by a physician, Medicare may pay for a prescribed number of visits, providing the patient is not able to perform basic ADLʼs such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet.

Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who will assess a personʼs mental, physical, environmental, and financial conditions, and then create a care plan to cover housing, medical, social, and other services. These individuals can offer tremendous support, especially if you are a long-distance caregiver or if you and your siblings cannot agree on your parents’ condition or what should be done to manage their care.

This link will provide information that will help you make informed decisions and find someone in your area:
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers

Daily Money Managers are individuals who will come into the home on a regular basis,
go through the mail and pay bills. This can be a wonderful service, especially if you are concerned about your parents’ ability to manage their bills. People with dementia often get confused about money. They may write numerous checks to nonprofit organizations, thinking solicitations are bills. They are also likely to stuff life insurance notices and mortgage payment coupons into dresser drawers.

Elderly parents may not always trust their adult children to manage their money (sometimes with good reason). There are countless reasons that hiring someone to do this makes sense. Just make sure that the person and/or organization you hire is licensed and bonded. Go to: American Association of Daily Money Mangers. Click on the “Find a DMM tab’ to get a list of daily money managers in your area.

Meals on Wheels operates in nearly every community in the United States. They not only provide food, they also supply socialization at senior centers and a regular check-ins for individuals who are homebound. Go to: Meals on Wheels America to find one in your area

Senior Transportation to medical appointments, shopping, and senior centers is available in many communities at low or no cost. Go to: National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Enter your state, city and zip code to see what senior transportation options are available in your area.

Keeping older parents in their homes isn’t always possible, but if they are willing to accept the fact that they need some help, there are some tremendous people and organizations who will be there to fill in the gaps between what they can do for themselves and what you have the time, skills and ability to do for them.