Credit: The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio
Within the next ten years, the United States will be home to the highest percentage of elderly in nearly 100 years. With more and more baby-boomers reaching retirement age, finding ways to properly take care of aged family members is becoming more relevant for more and more people. Unjustly so, these resources come at a high cost and can seem practically unattainable. To help make that burden a little easier, here are some great things to keep in mind when looking for ways to care for the elderly.
1. Elder Law Attorneys
While many see attorneys as sharks, this stigma simply is not true. Attorneys, especially those who practice elder law, specialized in these specific fields to help others. A good elder law attorney will help families and their loved ones achieve the Medicaid protection, veteran benefits, health care planning, estate planning, and any other legal help the client may have. They are here to make the lives of their clients a little easier.
I don’t know where else we could make a livelihood and still make such a positive impact,” West Palm Beach elder law attorney, Mark Shalloway, says. “I love coming into work and making a difference— to shelter the asset so that a person in a home can pay for a private room, or duty aid, or have a van and wheelchair lift.”
Many do not realize there is a vast difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid provides health coverage to those with a low income. Medicare, however, provides coverage to those over 65, no matter their income. Medicaid, however, covers a number of long-term care and home services that are not covered under Medicare. Each state has its own Medicaid program, so individuals need to look into their own area’s regulations before making any decisions.
3. Adult Protective Services and Elder Abuse Prevention
This division of law is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse or neglect of elders. This includes people with physical disabilities or mental disabilities brought on by illness or injury. Types of abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. If abuse is suspected, it should immediately be reported to the local or state division of protective services.
4. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
It is important that a caregiver be fully aware of not only the medicine their aged loved one is taking, but what exactly the medicine is meant to do, and any potential side effects. Through the National Institutes of Health, a caregiver or family member can find a database of every approved drug by the Food and Drug Administration. Here, one can find information on anything from dosing recommendations to herbal remedies.
5. Aging Services Division
Each state division is dedicated to providing frail seniors with home and community services. These services enable elders to live in their own homes and retain independence while still giving loved ones the peace of mind they need. The Aging Services Division arranges a variety of assistance programs, such as home health aides, household chores, counseling, and more.
6. Caregiving Services
In this day and age, there are a vast number of qualified, in-home caregiving options for families to choose from. One could go through an in-home care company, or, they could go to CareFamily and Care.com, where many retired nursed offer their paid services. Some services will allow an exchange of sorts—if an elder has an empty room, they can trade the space for at-home care.
7. Meal Services
Credit: Seniors MatterThere are many local programs that will provide elderly individuals with a hot meal. Between Meals on Wheels and Home Bisto/DineWise, families don’t have to worry about their aged loved one’s next meal. These services can not only help keep care costs lower, but can also help regulate a senior’s diet.
8. Home Monitoring System
Many elders don’t need full-time assistance. While this is good for the elder’s peace of mind, it leads to problems with booking care services. Consider, instead, a home monitoring system. These systems provide elders with the independence they crave, and their families with the ability to check in at any time. This is especially great for elders who still have a sharp mind, but perhaps have a limited mobility.
9. Transportation Services
Many communities provide a bus or transportation service for seniors that can no longer drive for medical reasons or otherwise. By calling a local office for aging, these services will take elders to and from medical appointments, shopping centers, and wherever else the elder may need to go. This helps keep seniors independent.
10. Caregiver Respite and Counseling
Acting as a caregiver for an aged loved one can be an exhausting task. Care giving counseling services provide caregivers with information on accessing government programs to assist the elderly and access benefits, as well as assisting in decision making. If the caregiver is unable to come in for one reason or another, they can arrange for a temporary caregiver to take their place for the day through a state respite program.