General Services Information
Find out the person's specific needs. What do you think the person you care for needs the most help with? Household chores? Transportation? Managing medications?
Ask health care professionals about services in the area. Many community agencies offer adult day care, meal delivery, transportation services, personal care and respite services.
Get the whole family involved. Call a family meeting to discuss caregiving. Include everyone who is able to contribute. Hold a meeting and hear each person's concerns. Try to reach a compromise and avoid feuding. Bring in a counselor or care manager to act as a mediator.
Share tasks and decisions. If the person being cared for is able, he or she should be in charge of how care needs are met. If organizing the person's care is difficult or overwhelming, consider hiring a geriatric care manager (a social worker or nurse who specializes in arranging care for the elderly).
Assure home safety and accessibility. Add ramps, grab bars, handrails or special door handles to make the home fit the needs of the person you care for and easier to access. Look around the person's home and take steps to reduce the risk of a fall. Add smoke detectors. Post emergency numbers near the phone. Subscribe to a medical alarm system. Give a key to a trusted neighbor or friend who can check of the person if needed.
Explore the availability of these and other services:
Adult Day Health Care: This is for people who are physically and/or mentally frail. It offers a range of therapeutic, rehabilitative, and support activities, including nursing, rehabilitation, assistance with life activities, social work services, meals, and possible transportation, provided in a protected setting for a portion of the day, one to five days a week, usually during weekdays.
Chore Worker Services: Includes heavy-duty housecleaning, minor home repairs, yard work, installing safety devices, and winterizing homes.
Home Delivered Meals: Some nutritional programs, as well as well as, specialized meals-on-wheels programs offer home delivered meals to the frail, homebound aged. Subsidized programs ask for voluntary contributions, while others may require full payment cost for delivery of a hot, well-balanced lunch, and sometimes cold evening meal.
Homemaker Services: Provided by non-medical personnel, services include shopping, laundry, light cleaning, dressing, preparation of meals, and escort services on medical visits. Homemakers can be secured through in-home health care agencies, the Area Agency on Aging, the Department of Social Services, and religious groups and organizations. Make sure you check references.
Material Aid: Assistive devices and other goods, such as, transfer stools, walkers, wheelchairs, bed rails, commodities, and personal hygiene items.
Personal Care: Hands-on assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing, eating and light housekeeping.
Respite Care Services: Respite care programs provide temporary and, in some instances, up to twenty-four hour care to give relief to the primary caregivers. The care may be provided in the person's home, at an adult day care center, or other facility.
Sitter Service: Observing, conversing, and providing food for the individual and is provided in a home setting to ensure the health and safety of the person.
Telephone Reassurance: Friendly telephone calls are provided by agencies or volunteers offering reassurance, contact and socialization. Telephone reassurance can be a lifeline for older people who must be left at home alone during the day.
Transportation: Transportation services provide travel by automobile or specialized vans to and from medical care, senior centers, or other places.
There is no one way to provide care for someone. Every situation is different. As a caregiver, you will discover what works best for your situation. No one who takes on the caregiver role should expect to do it alone. There are many good resources for caregivers. Your family, friends and community can help and provide support.