As our loved ones get older, many choose to age in place doing everything they can to stay at home as long as possible. To truly thrive, though, the elderly need help with various
responsibilities like getting to medical appointments, shopping, socializing with friends, preparing meals, cleaning the house, taking care of pets, etc.
So, during this month of thankfulness, let’s take time out to consider the eldercare community and all that they do for senior adults. After all is there any greater gift than being safe in the knowledge that someone is looking after the people we love?
A Changing Landscape
In the past, when most families lived together in the same communities for their whole lives, everyone was nearby to lend a helping hand. Neighbors dropped by to check on each other. It was common for elderly loved ones to move in with adult children as they aged. Doctors even made house calls.
Today, things are a bit different. We’re more likely to describe a good neighbor as someone who leaves us alone, than someone who chats with us over the fence. Children regularly grow up and move across the country for jobs and start families of their own. And far from making house calls, one in five Americans report that they had trouble getting in to see their regular, primary care physician in the past two years.
What options are available to you and your elderly loved ones?
Fortunately, several services have rushed to fill the gap that once was commonly filled by family members and a close-knit community. Here is a list of available services that might not be on your radar now and how to find these resources in the DC Metro area:
1. Adult Daycare Facilities
Adult daycare service centers are non-residential community-based facilities for elderly people. These centers provide opportunities for social interaction and sometimes health services for adults who need supervised care in a safe place during the day.
This is a good option for your loved one who is in need of supervision, but for whom employing a 24/7 home health care aide will not work. Perhaps mom lives with you, so you are there during the evening and nighttime hours. But while the family is out during the day, mom needs a place where she can be well taken care of and enjoy time with friends.
While services at different locations vary, generally speaking, adult daycare facilities offer social activities, therapeutic services, transportation, personal care, and meals for elderly adults.
For more information: If you are in Maryland, the Maryland Healthcare Commission has a helpful services search page. In Virginia, the Virginia Department of Social Services has a facilities search page and additional resources. Finally, for more information on adult daycare centers in the District, call the Aging & Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC) at (202) 724-5626.
2. Daily Money Management
A daily money manager (DMM) is a trusted, experienced professional who provides personal financial and bookkeeping services to senior citizens and others. These financial advocates can help organize your loved ones bills, budgets, and other paperwork.
Often money managers work through non-profit agencies to provide help at subsidized rates. The goal is to keep clients financially organized and independent. Typical services offered include reviewing mail with clients; deciding what to pay and what to stop paying; preparing bills for electronic payment or payment by check; bank statement balancing; making bank deposits; organizing tax return information; and setting up filing or electronic record-keeping systems. Daily money managers can also coordinate with your loved one’s attorney and investment or tax professionals.
For more information: Contact the American Association of Daily Money Managers to see a list of available professionals in your area.
3. Geriatric Care Management
Geriatric care managers (GCM) are health and human service specialists trained to help elderly individuals maximize their functional capacities. GCM’s are typically trained in a wide-range of areas including gerontology, nursing, counseling, and social work. This allows them to provide comprehensive advice as you help your loved ones transition smoothly.
A personal care manager will first evaluate your loved one using a care-planning assessment to identify potential problem areas. These care managers have extensive knowledge in the quality, costs, and available geriatric services available in your community, so that they can provide personalized solutions for individuals.
For more information: Search the Geriatric Care Managers Directory for GCM’s in the DC Metro area at AgingCare.com.
4. Interior Design/Home Remodeling
One of the most important factors in independent living for elderly individuals is creating a safe, secure, and easily navigatable space. To remain comfortably at home, hallways must be widened, ramps installed, kitchens remodeled, and bathrooms renovated.
There are contractors and home organizing specialists who are dedicated to helping your loved ones age in place by creating a safer home environment. Government assistance with home remodeling is available for veterans and other groups in need.
For more information: USA.gov has resources to find financial help with remodeling the interior of your home to accommodate your loved ones.
5. Lifestyle Transition Services
As we age, our needs and outlook on life changes. This transition period can be one of the toughest we make during out lifetimes. It’s important that you understand the emotional, physical, and financial needs of your elderly loved ones. It’s even more important that your loved ones understand their own needs so that they can learn to truly enjoy their golden years.
For more information: Contact the National Aging in Place Council for a complete list of services providers in your area.
There is no doubt that a network of professionals working to help you and your older loved ones can ease the stress, especially during the holidays. PBE Help would be honored to be a part of your personal network.
We firmly believe that having the right support system is crucial to the safety and health of your loved ones. Take a look at the products we offer to assist your loved ones in aging in place with safety and independence. This November let’s give thanks for those who make our lives fuller and happier!