The Community Resources for Older Adults listing includes key national online resources, as well as community resources found in most towns and cities. These resources can be an invaluable asset to people caring for elderly parents. These community resources for older adults are described based on the category or type of service. National leading resources are listed at the end of the article, with links.
Sometimes it is difficult to identify needed community resources for older adults that can provide help with an elderly person’s care. Professionals in related fields may find that caregiving resources grow and change quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with these changes. Family members are even more confused as they try to discover and then access appropriate resources. Some of the confusion comes from not knowing what types of resources to research, and what payor sources are required.
The following provide information about community resources for older adults:
A. Older Adult Services: The Big Picture About Community Resources for Older Adults
The “backbone” of community services for the elderly has been the Administration on Aging funded federal Title XX services for older adults authorized by the Older Americans Act. The Older Americans Act, was initially passed in 1965, and reauthorized in 2011. It establishes the federal Administration on Aging to oversee and fund community resources for older adults. The law provides the policies, defines the services, and describes the funding parameters for older adults in every U.S. state and territory. In 1973-1974, the federal Administration on Aging established Area Agencies on Aging and funding for community services for older adults through the states. In the early 1980s, the Administration on Aging was involved in nursing home reform through an omnibus reconciliation act. And, later, it dealt with the growing demand for and regulation of caregivers, discrimination against the elderly and elder rights.
B. Core Community Resources for Older Adults
Core social service, nutrition, transportation and home care programs at the community level are often funded through Administration on Aging grants to the states. Many of these services are offered through a county or local city Senior Center. Senior Centers are often nonprofit agencies, however some centers are run by local government entities. In larger communities, one can find more than one Title XX funded organization – Core Community Resources. For more information about Title XX funded services, contact the Administration on Aging’s website by typing in those words, and/or contact your state’s Agency on Aging.
C. Other Community Resources for Older Adults
There are a number of community resources for older adults in most local communities. The larger the community, the greater and more diverse the programs and services. The following represent some of the most frequently found local resources.
Senior Centers – These provide a range of services community resources for older adults, usually age 60 and older. They are usually funded for a range of social, educational and fitness activities; lunch and nutrition services; transportation, and often some level of visiting and/or home care services. Many centers that are nonprofits receive additional funding from grants, contracts and donors which allows them to further develop and expand services beyond core services funded by AoA.
Visiting Nurse Services (VNS) – Located in most major metropolitan areas, Visiting Nurse Services is a nonprofit home health care agency founded almost 100 years ago. It provides home health care and hospice services in many communities. Services to older adults comprise a large portion of many local VNS agencies. VNS home care services allow many older adults to remain in their homes by providing assistance to help people with basic activities of daily living (ADLs).
Meals on Wheels – Local Meals on Wheels programs offer an important community resource for older adults by providing home delivered meals to home bound elderly and ill people five days a week. Services to older adults represent a significant part of home delivered meals.
Home Care – most communities have both medical and non medical home care agencies that offer a range of community resources for older adults that enable them to remain in their homes. These include help with personal care, eating, home chores and many other tasks. Medical home care agencies offer licensed health care professionals to provide medical care. These are some of the most important community resources for older adults available and the need for caregivers continues to grow and will do so for the next few decades.
Local Hospice Organizations – Many communities have a freestanding local hospice nonprofit agency or a hospice program related to a local hospital or other large organization. Large metro areas may have multiple hospice programs. Hospice care is a critically needed part of the service mix, and a growing need. Nonprofits and businesses provide a range of services. Some of the strongest in the field have excellent quality records. Check thoroughly, as there is a large difference among local providers and with the quality of care provided.
Counseling – available in many different settings, and there are therapists with expertise in family counseling as well as working with adult children of frail elderly. Look for this expertise.
Legal Issues – these often include developing financial and health care Power of Attorney or general Power of Attorney. Other issues can include developing wills and trusts, identifying affairs that need to be handled by the adult children, and, in some cases guardianship. In some communities, there are community resources for older adults that include Senior Citizens’ Law resources, and workshops and free consults at local senior centers. Most of these are free or sliding fee scale services. In some communities, the local bar association provides pro bono services. Find attorneys with expertise in elder law.
Financial Issues – in addition to those mentioned above, many families find that the costs for elder care can be excessive, sometimes stripping family resources. Community resources for older adults in this area include local or county based financial assistance programs and free or reduced cost services. These include in-home caregiving services for those who qualify. Find out what is available through your local Senior Center or www.BenefitsCheckUp.org.
Other Local Community Resources for Older Adults – check with your state Agency on Aging, and/or your local Senior Center.
D. National Resources, with Live Links
The following include a list of some of the most popular and helpful national resources, updated from time to time as needed.
Administration on Aging The federal Administration on Aging (AOA) provides funding and resources to all U.S. states and territories for a range of programs for older adults. States provide funding for a number of important community based programs, to include local Senior Centers. In many communities, funding also covers some level of home care, transportation and respite care. The AOA has extensive website resources, and is recommended as a “first stop” in your research. Check your state Agency on Aging website for more information about local community resources.
Alzheimer’s Association The Alzheimer’s Association has been a major resource in the field of aging for decades, and provides excellent resources about the disease. It offers practical information and guidance to help caregivers to cope with the impact of Alzheimer’s on families. Also provides contacts for local chapters and community resources.
AARP – American Association of Retired Persons AARP is one of the largest associations in the U.S., with a membership base in the tens of millions. They provide information, resources and referrals on many topics of concern to older adults and their families.
Benefits Check Up Benefits Check Up is a comprehensive website that provides information about benefits that may be available to you or your loved one. It’s a simple way to discover what may be available for you.
Healthfinder Site hosted by the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Provides health information and resources.
Medicare Critically important federal government resource describing the Medicare program, types of plans and policies, and covered conditions. Also includes information about fraud and links to other helpful government publications. Website lists state and local community resources, and information about nearby local government offices that can help.
National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) NAC is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Alliance members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, a government agency, and corporations. NAC has a great deal of information on its website, including research findings, resources for caregivers, and information about state and local coalitions. It also provides updates about important legislation.
National Clearinghouse: Long Term Care Information This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website provides information and resources to help families plan for future long-term care (LTC) needs. The site provides information about long term care, how to pay for services, resources and links to state and local community resources.
National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) NFCA provides support, resources and advocacy to the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness, disability or the frailties of old age. The website provides resources and information, and has a program to connect caregivers. It also provides information about advocacy and legislative issues. Please check back again soon for more information and community resources.
This listing of community resources for older adults should provide you with helpful information to allow you to access some of the services you and your family need.Anne Hays Egan, Moving Mama: Caring for Elderly Parents Community Resources for Older Adults New Ventures Consulting EzineArticles Expert Author Last revised on November 19th,, 2013