This time of year we hear from a lot of families who are planning a visit to older relatives or who are currently in town visiting and are seeking eldercare advice and help. We recently provided a Checklist for Families Visiting Elderly Relatives to help you prepare for your visit and accomplish necessary tasks, while helping the visit go smoothly.
What if you are here visiting (or have just left) and you know some help is needed? How do you get started finding the right type of senior care assistance? Here is our advice on how to go about getting the eldercare assistance you need:
- Contact trusted professionals, such as your loved one’s estate planning attorney, financial advisor or doctor’s office. They may be able to provide resources that they are familiar with and local contacts to help you.
- Call the local Area Agency on Aging (in Florida, you can call 1-800-96ELDER to reach the local agency such as the Area Agency on Aging of Pinellas/Pasco Counties), which operate Senior Helplines. They should be able to provide various resources, from local companies to non-profit and government eldercare services. Most of these senior helplines are now available online as well, so you can search for resources. Eldercare.gov is a central location to find agencies throughout the country.
- Don’t forget to use standard precautions in the panic of needing help. Write down your questions and research any entities before hiring. Be sure you are clear on costs and how they are paid/funded (if it is a “free” service is that because of donations or other funding, or is it because they are paid referral fees or make money on other services they will seek to provide?). Find out about licensing, oversight and professional backgrounds. You may want to review our Five Tips for Finding Quality Senior Care Providers for research tips.
- Consider an eldercare consultation with a professional geriatric care manager. This can be a valuable use of time, because you can make one contact to begin the process of understanding what is available and receive independent, targeted advice. Our Aging Wisely geriatric care managers provide consultations in-person or over the phone (in case you want to meet before you visit or have already left) and can work around your schedule to get you the help you need.
- Make a call to a home care company about setting up a home caregiver for initial help. You may start with short-term help while you develop a plan or set up transportation or housekeeping help to develop a comfort level with assistance.
We offer home care assistance in Pinellas County, Florida (Largo, Belleair, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, St. Petersburg). As trusted professionals with many years advocating for seniors, we offer a range of services and resources to help families with caregiving and aging in place. 727-448-0900, available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week