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How to Get Free Assistance for Eldercare

by Teramis


Adults providing eldercare face emotional, time and financial demands that can be quite draining. Old notions of putting a frail parent in a nursing home may no longer apply: as Baby Boomers age, over 77 million Americans will retire in the next 30 years, and there is simply no way to build enough nursing homes or assisted living facilities to accommodate so many people.

Happily, there is free help and information available to persons dealing with this challenge. Caregiver support includes such things as counseling, service referrals, home care, even financial aid in certain circumstances. The good news is that this support network is growing in the face of increasing demand. The bad news is that it is still not routinely available everywhere. If you need free caregiving assistance, here are the places to look first.

Community Services

The best source for eldercare assistance in many communities are public service agencies. Senior centers, community services agencies (CSAs), and public health departments offer many services for different needs in a given area. Check all three types to see what may be of use in your situation.

Programs are low or no cost, and government agencies may include financial aid for certain income brackets. Services may include help with cost of in-home personal care, help with chores, shopping, transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments.

To locate organizations, look first at your local city’s municipal website in the health or community services section. Agencies there often link to other services in your area. Or, do a Google search for “eldercare” + “community services” + your city name, or for “senior center” and city or county name. You can use yellow pages, of course, but a web search typically turns up a greater variety of related services.

Volunteer and non-profit organizations

Many volunteer or non-profit organizations, including faith-based groups, offer free eldercare assistance. This may range from transportation to meal delivery, to getting free blood pressure checkups and minor home repair services.

Most groups operate regionally, not nationally, so you will need to do some research to locate a helpful organization near you. A sampling of such groups include:

Jewish Family Services (example); eldercare may also be offered under Jewish Community Services/

Catholic Eldercare Services (example)

Lutheran Volunteer Corps, which assigns volunteers to local eldercare services.  Contact the LVC for a referral to local programs.

For other denominations and general volunteer organizations, a Google search for “church” or “volunteer” +eldercare+services + city name will point to resources near you.

General information links

U.S. Council on Aging: emergency home response, meals on wheels, insurance counciling, and a benefits identification program.

The American Association of Retired People (AARP): family caregiving information and support resources.

U.S. Administration on Aging: directory of eldercare services of national scope.

Finally, large health care providers may offer free senior services if your parent is already insured by them. Kaiser Permanente, for instance, offers additional senior care services for no charge under the program name “Continuing Care Services.” Contact your health provider for more information.

~~~~
Deborah Teramis Christian is a freelance writer and former business consultant who writes on a variety of contemporary issues.

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7 comments

Julia More March 22, 2009 - 11:13 am

Among all the above mentioned there is really free internet caregiving service. Two month ago I was nearly leaving my job to care for my father, but I really could not because I have two children and I’m the only one who works in our family. So I was in desperate. I didn’t want to send him to nursing home, my children love him very much and he did not deserve such relation. I tried few agencies, looked through ads, it all took much time and money. I use twitter and once I had message from a girl who works for that web agency, it is called ChoiceEldercare. In a couple of days I had to choose among caregivers, my children helped me… Now everything goes ok.

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KatrinaHnjbmh February 20, 2011 - 4:39 pm

Wow Julia that is wonderful I will look them up. I cannot believe, nor would I have ever believed my siblings would have taken such a negative attitude about eldercare. My dad was self-sufficient for 91 years until be fell criticall ill a few months ago. All of a sudden the entire family swooped in pushing me out of the way, thinking dad was dying and wanting to know what was available for them. Well now that he’s still here they have taken on the old attitudes of you take care of our parents morning, noon, and night.

Reply
Julia More March 22, 2009 - 11:13 am

Among all the above mentioned there is really free internet caregiving service. Two month ago I was nearly leaving my job to care for my father, but I really could not because I have two children and I’m the only one who works in our family. So I was in desperate. I didn’t want to send him to nursing home, my children love him very much and he did not deserve such relation. I tried few agencies, looked through ads, it all took much time and money. I use twitter and once I had message from a girl who works for that web agency, it is called ChoiceEldercare. In a couple of days I had to choose among caregivers, my children helped me… Now everything goes ok.

Reply
Umr December 26, 2010 - 4:07 pm

Hi i want a questionaire about ‘Importance of English in business’

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Katrina February 20, 2011 - 4:28 pm

Thank you my dad would like to come home to live out his life along with my mother, Financial I am struggling to make this happen. In fact it has been a nightmare. My siblings have not been on board and all four are content with me being a primary caregiver for my mom nnever asking what is needed or to relieve me for any period of time. I spend many nights and days in tears and praying for a miracle, not death but a blessing from God that will allow them both to live together once again. It has been a tough journey but I have remained optimistic that somehow someway they will be able to live in their home together, again.

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DIXIE GASTRIGHT February 26, 2012 - 8:34 am

HELLO, MY NEIGHBOR IS ALMOST 92. I HAVE BEEN TAKING CARE OF HER FOR ABOUT 4 YEARS. WE LIVE IN FLORIDA.. SHE HAD NO CHILDREN AN HUSBAND PASSED 10 YRS AGO.. FAMILY SWOOPED IN 3 WEEKS AGO AN BUT HER IN RESPECT TOLD HER SHE WOULD ONLY BE THERE 2 WEEKS TIME UP 2-28 12.. SHE WANTS TO COME HOME BUT THEY WANT TO PLACE HER SOME PLACE CAUSE THEY WANT TO GO BACK TO IOWA . SHE ONLY HAS 16,000.00 AN 820.00 S.S AFTER SUPPELLMENT ABOUT $620..00 A MONTH WONT TAKE CARE OF HER LONG.. HER MIND IS GOOD SHE SAID DONT SELL MY HOUSE. BUT NEPFEW IS POWER OF ATT.. WHERE CAN WE GET HELP WITH FREE OR CHEAP IN HOME CARE.. HAVE HELPED HER FOR PAST 8YRS ALOT THE LAST 3 OR 4 YRS

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Tom Elliot July 31, 2012 - 8:33 am

I was looking for free assistance for my aunt, and I was directed to this site. Thanks for this article. Now, I know where to start looking.

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