The sad fact is, elder care in the United States is expensive, and most people pay for at least part of what they need out of pocket. There are, however, Web sites that can help you make decisions about how to finance care.
Paying for Care
The federal government's National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information has extensive resources about paying for care. The site provides an overview of costs and considerations, a detailed explanation of both public and private programs that may help you pay for care, and concrete planning tools such as a "long-term care savings calculator."
Finding Hidden Benefits
The BenefitsCheckUp, a service of the National Council on Aging, provides important information about public and private benefits you may not realize are available to you.
Finding an Attorney
Legal matters that arise as you seek and procure services for your elder can best be addressed by an elder law attorney. The Web site of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has a searchable database through which you can find an attorney in your area. The National Senior Citizens Law Center advocates nationally for low-income elderly and disabled Americans. Their Web site offers free and for-purchase publications about legal issues affecting elders.
Filing a Complaint About Services
If you have a complaint or concern about services your elder has received, you can contact your state or local long-term care ombudsman. As part of a federally administered program, long-term care ombudsmen advocate for people living in residential care facilities and work to ensure that elders' rights are respected.
Investigating Neglect or Abuse
If your elder is living at home, and you fear he or she is being neglected or mistreated, don't hesitate to call Adult Protective Services, which is required by law to investigate possible cases of abuse and neglect. You can find Protective Services in the state where your elder lives through that state's agency on aging.
If you suspect that your elder has been a victim of abuse, you can also call the National Center on Elder Abuse's toll-free hotline.