Many services are provided free by local or community groups. The groups are sometimes repaid by state, local, and federal governments, but often volunteers provide meals and social and health care services.
These services can sometimes make it possible for a person to stay at home and maintain independence.
Community-based services include the following:
- Adult Day Care Centers, which provide services ranging from health assessment to social programs that help people with dementia or those at risk for nursing home placement.
- Nutrition Sites, which serve meals in settings such as senior centers, housing projects, faith-based centers, and schools and sometimes provide transportation.
- Meals on Wheels, which brings healthful food to the home.
- Senior Centers, which offer a place to socialize and eat. (Often a hot meal at noontime on weekdays is the only one served.)
- Transportation is offered by hospitals, nursing homes, local governments, and religious, civic, or other groups. Out-of-pocket costs vary and fees are set on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.
Do These Services Meet Your Needs?
For whatever need you have, there is most likely a program in your area. Here are some things to think about:
- Is the person the right age and income level to be eligible for the program?
- Is it necessary for the person to belong to a certain organization to be eligible?
- Is there a limit to how many times the person can use the services of the organization?
Where to Check
- local agencies (Catholic Charities, United Way, Jewish Family and Child Services, Lutheran Family Services)
- local churches, parishes, or congregations
- the government blue book pages under public service listings
- city or county public assistance offices
- rural areas (call the health agency in the county seat)
- personal doctor
- family services department
- hospital discharge planner or social worker
- insurance company
- local Area Agency on Aging
- previous or current employer (may have benefits)
- public health department
- Social Security office
- state insurance commission
- state or local ombudsman
The Area Agency on Aging can help find services in the community. It will know whether chore services, home-delivered meals, friendly visitors, and telephone reassurance are free of charge or are provided on a sliding scale.