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Home- & Community-Based Care

There are many resources that enable elders to continue living safely and comfortably at home for as long as possible, including:

Adult day care programs

Adult day care programs provide opportunities for elders to be mentally and socially stimulated, to participate in structured activities, and to spend time in a positive, engaging environment. They are typically open during business hours.

Helpguide provides useful information about adult day care programs, including what they offer, how to choose one and what to expect in terms of costs. The National Adult Day Services Association has a searchable database of adult day services.

Visiting nurses, health professionals and aids

Home care providers include nurses and other medical professionals, aids who can help with non-medical care and visitors who can provide an elder with companionship and help with household chores.

You can locate home care providers near you through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.

Visiting nurses

Visiting nurses and other health professionals, such as physical, occupational and speech therapists, can provide skilled medical care in your elder's home or as adjuncts in other facilities. You can find a visiting nurse through the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, a national association of "community-based, nonprofit home health and hospice providers that care for all individuals regardless of complexity of condition or ability to pay."

You can also use Medicare's Home Health Compare search tool to find Medicare-certified home health care providers and to see their quality ratings as compared to national and state averages.

Visiting aids

Home health aids or personal care assistants can help your elder with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, washing, taking medicine and monitoring vital signs, and they can sometimes also take care of basic nursing functions. Aids may assist your elder at home or in a residential facility.

Friendly visitors

"Friendly visitors," including family, friends, neighbors, volunteers and paid caregivers, can check in on your elder at home, keep them company, deliver groceries and take care of other household chores.

Hospice

Hospice focuses on palliative care for people facing terminal illness. Hospice volunteers emphasize pain relief and comfort, respect the wishes of the patient and provide support for the patient's family.

Respite care

If you are the primary caregiver for your elder, you will probably require respite caregivers—people who can provide you with short-term breaks and relief. Respite care can come from family and friends, from nurses, aids and volunteers, or from adult day care programs; whichever option you choose, as the primary caregiver, you will need breaks in order to take care of your own affairs and, simply, to rest.

Meal services

In many places, meals can be delivered to elderly people who are not able to shop and cook for themselves. Many communities also serve "congregate" meals at senior centers or in churches. MealCall is an online tool that helps you find meal programs in your elder's community.

Transportation assistance

Transportation assistance is available for elders in many communities. Options may include volunteer driver programs, public or private door-to-door and curb-to-curb van services, and door-through-door assistance. To find out about transportation options for your elder, call the local state unit or area agency on aging. The National Center on Senior Transportation also provides transportation and mobility guidance for elders and their caregivers.

Home modification resources

If home remodeling is necessary in order to create a safe and comfortable environment for your loved one, you can find tips about elder-friendly home remodeling from the National Aging in Place Council and from MIT's Family Caregiver Handbook.

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging provides a good, succinct overview of these and other home and community-based services, as well as a directory of services searchable by location.

The National Aging in Place Council is a nonprofit organization with information and advice on topics relevant to home care, such as senior-friendly home remodeling, products that can aid independent living and transportation resources for seniors.

There are also a number of organizations that will help you find home care services catering to elders of specific ethnic, religious and sexual orientation communities.

In addition, Lotsa Helping Hands provides an online tool for creating a community of support for your elder living at home, coordinating family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.