There is so much information for loved ones to sift through when caring for an older adult; but where to start, how do you know what they are and who are they for? Sometimes it feels like you need a translator to understand a whole new language, or a map on how to get where you want to go. It can feel overwhelming trying to navigate the system. Here are a few of the most common resources for older adults to help you get started.
- Your local Aging and Disability Resource Center – if you are looking for any service or bit of information when caring for an older adult – this should be your first stop. Most communities have a center that can give you information on chronic diseases, healthy living, activities and classes for the older adult, meal programs, and health care services. Schedule an appointment to speak with an advocate to locate resources in your community.
- An insurance provider – whether the older adult uses Medicare or has a different private insurance most often there is a nurse case manager that can help open doors to local services and resources. You can also find out which are paid for by the insurance provider to help limit costs.
- Your local YMCA, community center or hospital – there are great community partners out there that hold classes for older adults. Those can be fall prevention, disease management, or physical and social activity classes to keep the older adult as mobile, social and healthy as possible.
- In-home personal services – these services are great for the older adult that just needs a little extra help around the house, or a little more social activity. Typically, the employees of these agencies are untrained “helpers” that can visit with the older adult, cook meals, grocery shop or do some light housekeeping.
- Respite care – respite care offers caregivers a break from the daily caregiving needs of the older adult. The older adult can go to a facility, an individual’s home, or a trained caregiver can come to your home. Usually this is for several hours during the day time, but occasionally there are options for longer breaks if the caregiver must be gone for a week or two.
- Adult day care – like respite services, adult day care is a regularly scheduled opportunity for the older adult to engage in activities with others. Trained caregivers are onsite to provide stimulating activities and socialization for the older adult in a group setting.
- Home health services – similar to personal services, though these services offer trained caregiving staff to help with personal care needs in the privacy of the older adult’s home. Nursing services along with Physical and Occupational Therapists can also provide care to manage disease and illness.
- Assisted living facilities – these facilities are a type of long term care that offer 24 hour assistance. Caregivers are minimally trained and can help with personal care needs. Sometimes a nurse may be on staff to help with the medical management of residents.
- Nursing homes – these facilities offer residents the most skilled services including 24-hour care from Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) and Registered Nurses (RN’s). They are intended for those that have multiple chronic medical conditions, are medically unstable, or have considerable cognitive challenges.
Knowing when and how to help the older adult can be tricky. Asking questions, having an advocate for the older adult, and better understanding your resources can help keep the individual and caregivers remain happy and healthy!
Learn more about Carrie’s publication’s CNA: Nursing Assistant Certification Textbooks and Workbooks.
Adopters of her publications are able to receive consulting work to adapt the book’s curriculum and also presentations on the following topics:
- What are the determinants of good health?
- Health Literacy…how to better understand the language of health care to navigate the health care system effectively.
- Does nutrition and physical activity play a large role in how we age?
- Managing medications, traditional vs. alternative.
- How to support an older adult who wants to “age in place” and what that means.
- How to know when an older adult needs extra services and what those are. Skilled care facility vs. assisted living facility.
- How to adapt caregiving to the “silver tsunami” who have higher expectations of care and are more informed on their health care options than ever before.
- Why is there a current caregiver crisis in the U.S.?