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How to Care For Your Aging Loved One Without Going Broke

Resources and Tips

Many of us are lucky enough to have parents who live well into their later years, becoming loving grandparents to our children and even great grandparents to our grandchildren. Few of us, however, are fully prepared when a fall, medical diagnosis or death of a spouse compels us to become our parents’ caregivers.

We have so many concerns for our loved ones, so many large and small details to take care of, that it all seems overwhelming, especially at a time when our own immediate families and careers are at their most demanding.

As an Aging Life Care Ambassador, I help people like you navigate this unfamiliar territory and obtain the resources necessary to improve the quality of yours and your loved one’s life.

When I meet with a family, I take a thorough inventory of their loved one’s medical and caregiving needs, housing, finances, transportation, meals, social programs, emotional resources and ensure that advanced directives and powers of attorney are in place. I help the family choose and obtain the best resources for their loved one, among all the resources available to them.

I’ve provided here a list of many of these resources that are available to assist your aging loved one.

Aging and Independent Services

Every city has its own aging and independent services. These services are designed to help dependent adults find access to local resources. To find the ones in your location:

Google

“Aging and Independent Services” followed by your zip code or City. 

Transportation

Your loved one will require transportation. Does he need low-income or wheelchair resources? There are one-on-one driving or group van options available. To find the transportation resources available in your area:

Google:

“Senior transportation program” followed by your zip code or city.

“Disabled access transportation” followed by your zip code or city.

Meals

What is your loved one doing for meals at present? Are they cooking their own meals? Are they spending a tremendous amount of money eating out? There are meal delivery options for seniors, including the food bank if they are low income and other local non-profits. If money is not a limiting factor, there are also higher-end online services which deliver meals.

Meals on Wheels is one of the most well-known national programs which delivers food to seniors based on a sliding scale. They offer low-income options and accept government subsidies.

To find resources available in your area:

Google:

“Meal delivery” followed by your zip code.

“Homebound senior meals” followed by your zip code

Social Programs

All too often, due to factors such as limited mobility, age, and our own busy schedules, our loved ones spend far too much time in isolation. There are social programs designed specifically for older adults to counteract this. Again, there are many options available to your loved one depending on their financial means.

Two such options are senior adult day care centers and senior centers. Senior centers tend to be more open, less structured, and have a monthly calendar of events in which your loved one can participate, mostly free. Adult day care centers, on the other hand, are more structured and costly, though some insurances like Medicaid or Medical will pay for them.

In addition, there are national social programs that offer assistance. If your loved one suffers from dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association website provides many resources for local social programs. So does the National Parkinson Foundation website.

To find resources available in your area:

Google:

“Senior adult day care centers” followed by your zip code.

“Senior centers” followed by your zip code.

“Senior social programs” followed by your zip code.

Advanced Directives and Power of Attorney

An advanced directive is a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor.

The power of attorney is the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.

To write up an advanced directive and assign power of attorney, you must seek legal help. Every state and county have elder law advocates, who are attorneys who draft these for you. Some charge a fee, and some that are county-based are free of charge. Private Case Management companies can also help with this.

To find resources available in your area:

Google:

“Elder law advocate” followed by your zip code.

“Elder law attorney” followed by your zip code.

“Free legal aid” followed by your zip code, for low-income and pro-bono services.

Emotional Resources

If your loved one is suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mood disorder or has a history of dementia, there are plenty of psychosocial support systems available to them in this area. In addition, there are neurological resources for dementia and cognitive issues.

To find resources available in your area:

Google:

The behavior or diagnosis, such as “depression resources” or “dementia resources” followed by your zip code.

Financial Resources

Assess your loved one’s financial resources. Is she struggling with mortgage or rent, the cost of medication or utility bills? Does your loved one need a caregiver? There are programs that can assist with any or all of these. Most counties offer low-income utility assistance programs. There are additional resources available if your loved one is a veteran. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can assist with housing and other costs, as well as with providing a caregiver.

If your loved one is not a veteran, there are Medicaid programs that can help with some of these costs. Further, the Social Security Administration has financial programs to assist with medication costs.

Housing

Is it feasible and viable for your loved one to remain at home? Or, would they fare better relocating to an Assisted living community where they will enjoy more supervision and interaction with others?

If your loved one chooses to remain at home, there are financial resources available to help with mortgage and rental payments. Most counties offer low-income housing, such as Section 8 Housing, which is a subsidized low-income housing program. Ensure the safety of your loved one’s residence by investing in and installing necessary safety resources and programs.

Oftentimes, a better choice is to relocate your loved one to an Assisted living community in which they can enjoy prepared meals, socializing and supervision.

To find resources available in your area:

Google:

“Senior placement agency” followed by your zip code.

“Senior housing resources” followed by your zip code.

Caring for the Caregiver

Caring for a loved one is one of the most emotionally-wrought and stressful responsibilities you can undertake. Be sure to make time to care of yourself so that you are better able to care for your loved one.

There is so much to think about when your aging loved one can no longer care for themselves. This list of resources is a great place to start.

You may find, however, that you are best served by seeking out a professional Aging Life Care Ambassador, also known as a case manager or aging case manager, in your area. An Aging Life Care Ambassador, such as myself, can not only walk you through these resources but can help you complete the necessary paperwork and ensure your loved one is well provided for. Often, adult children spend more time and money overall when they try to navigate these systems alone. Investing in the right professional can enhance the life of your aging loved and give you peace of mind.

Feel free to reach out to me Tina Buchanan, MSW to schedule your FREE strategy call at [email protected] or go to www.visionarycaresd.com/about

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