It’s easy to bury your head in the sand when you notice a parent or grandparent requires more support to remain safely independent and to accomplish daily tasks. Conversations around aging, needing more help, relinquishing car keys, or even suggesting a senior needs assistance can be difficult, so most people put them off until the situation becomes critical.
We’d like to offer an alternative to this common aging narrative.
Rather than waiting until a need is acute, we recommend having a list of elder care resources on hand so they can be implemented gradually over time. This creates a graceful continuum – and an easier path toward accepting the inevitable – while simultaneously getting seniors the much-needed help they require.
Georgetown Home Care is affiliated with a variety of professional organizations to provide high quality care to your loved one. Learn more about our affiliated companies.
Basic Guide To Elder Care Resources
Unless a major medical situation or a traumatic accident takes place, most seniors move forward along a fairly predictable path regarding what they need and when.
These include things like the following:
Local Senior Centers
Most cities and large towns have active senior centers. Employees at these hubs of senior resources and sociability are a wealth of information about both senior centers- and community-based services. Senior centers typically offer:
- Games and activities
- Exercise programs
- Meal plans
- Outings and day trips
- Dances and social hours
- Art, music, and crafts
- Transportation assistance
If your local senior center doesn’t offer something you’re interested in they’ll refer you to a group or organization that does.
Driving Assistance & Errand Running
As vision fades, so too does the ability to drive safely. Night driving is the first to go; then it becomes more difficult to drive safely during daylight hours.
The act of turning in the keys is a difficult one for seniors because, in addition to sacrificing independence, seniors lose the ability to get where they need to go when they want to go there.
Villiage to Village Network
There are multiple villages in the Washington DC area that provide volunteers to help members in about 1 hour increments for rides, errands, household assistance, social activities, etc.
If your community has a good bus system and seniors are safe to travel by bus, start studying the routes they’d use most and get them a bus pass. All public transit systems offer reduced fair and accessible options for qualifying seniors.
Dial-A-Ride (or Call-N-Ride)
Most Dial/Call-a-Ride services are funded by a combination of public transportation companies, grants, and donations from riders. They provide door-to-door service, Monday – Friday and some weekends – during limited hours. Rides are very affordable and are reservation-based.
Examples include DOT Call-n-Ride in Montgomery County or Fairfax County’s options for Older Adult Transportation.
Georgetown Home Care partners with Uber Health to provide seniors with safe, reliable transportation any day of the week.
This is a HIPPA-compliant transportation platform for healthcare organizations. Uber Health allows our caregivers to notify our office of the need for a ride—whether for grocery shopping, getting prescriptions, and attending appointments or social outings—upon arrival at your loved one’s residence.
Read, Safety Behind the Wheel, for more information about how to determine if seniors should be driving, as well as information/resources for driving assistance.
Meal Planning & Preparation
Grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning are challenging enough for middle-aged individuals, so you can imagine how difficult they are for seniors when compounded by mobility, vision, stamina and/or memory loss. As a result, even the wealthiest of seniors are at risk for malnutrition if they aren’t eating properly.
Search online for Meals-on-Wheels in your loved one’s community or ask a local senior center about meal assistance programs. Meals are very affordable (typically between $3 and $5) and are delivered to their door five days per week. Extra meals can often be ordered for weekends and holidays.
At-Home Meal Services
Homecare agencies offer healthy meal services as well.
In this case, meals are cooked in the client’s home and can be eaten right away or stored in the fridge to be reheated later. This route allows meals to be personally tailored to the client’s tastes and dietary restrictions.
Adult Day Care & Respite Care Options
If a primary caregiver is a working spouse or family member, or if caregiving is your primary job – look into adult day care and respite care options. These services give caregivers a much-needed break while providing snacks, lunch, activities, and a safe environment for seniors to socialize.
Respite care is another option. It gives caregivers a chance to attend personal and medical appointments, enjoy lunch with a friend, run errands, attend to self-care needs, or to take a well-deserved vacation.
Home Care Agencies Are An Essential Elder Care Resource
Is your senior loved one resistant to exploring the options? That’s completely natural.
Schedule consultations with a few different licensed home care agencies and assisted living or memory care centers in your area. In addition to being more prepared for when things shift from “it would be a good idea,” to, “it’s time to get more serious…,” you’ll have a good idea about which type(s) of care will resonate best with your loved one.
Even if it’s not the time to implement intensive home-based or residential care, these appointments yield important information about senior caregiving tips and the resources available in your community.
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