Elder Care  –  First Steps

Beginning Your Journey through Elder Care

Caring for an aging parent, elderly spouse, domestic partner or close friend presents difficult challenges – especially when a crisis hits and you are suddenly faced with the responsibilities of elder care. Perhaps your aging mother fell, is hospitalized with a broken hip and needs to go to a rehab facility or nursing home to recover.

Caregiving can also begin as a result of unsettling mishaps and warning signs that indicate a need for long term elder care. Perhaps your elderly spouse has wandered off and gotten lost several times. Or a long-time friend has lost a lot of weight and rarely leaves home.

You may be the only person to step in and become the caregiver. Or, you may be the linchpin of a network of family members and friends willing to help care for your elderly senior. Whatever the situation, you are not sure of the next step, or even the first step.

Whether you are in the middle of a crisis and decisions have to be made quickly, or planning ahead for an elderly loved one because of unsettling warning signs, Aging Parents and Elder Care can help you find the answers you need. (HelpWithElders.com also offers 2 excellent audio podcasts to help you plan ahead, Talking with Your Parents and That Crisis Phone Call. To listen to either one, simply click on its title.)

What kind of help does your loved one need ... long term elder care? Or, help for only a short time to recover after a hospital stay? Are problems undiagnosed but correctable? For example, prescription drugs interactions and side effects, Vitamin B12 deficiency, dehydration and other treatable causes are often mistaken, even by doctors, for Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. According to Consumer Reports on Health, "Any new health problem in an older person should be considered drug induced until proven otherwise." (To help determine if prescription drugs might be a source of your loved one's problems, click on Prescription Drugs Interactions.)

If their problems are not correctable, what elder care living arrangements are available for your loved one? What nursing care plans are most appropriate? If they are able to remain in their own home, what kind of elder care services do you arrange? Is assisted living preferred over a nursing home? What challenges does your loved one's condition pose? What is the best way to access community elder care resources? How will you manage it all – and still maintain a life of your own?

This article will walk you through the first steps of elder care – whether your loved one has Alzheimers Disease or another form of dementia, is recovering from a broken hip, or you are trying to figure out Medicare benefits. It is a primer - a source of both information and comfort. Each elder care situation is unique, of course. Your loved one's medical history, financial resources, personality, relationships with potential caregivers, proximity to services and other factors all determine the best approach to take.

To help you find the right local eldercare services for your loved one, ElderCarelink has established a nationwide network of carefully screened eldercare providers for both in-home and community-based care as well as facility-based care. This referral service is free of charge. Depending on your loved one's needs,

In-home care can include a wide range of medical and non-medical services such as:


ElderCarelink can also help you find the right type of living arrangement for your loved one if in-home care is not appropriate. Their nationwide network includes:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Hospice Care Facilities
  • Independent Living Communities
  • Nursing Home Facilities
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (for recovering patients)

Within minutes of completing their brief Needs Survey, you will receive a detailed email report listing care providers in your area who match your specific requirements. Last year, over 100,000 families used ElderCarelink in their search for high-quality senior care. Click here to use the ElderCarelink service.

Whatever the circumstances, the advice on the next page will help you get started. On other pages, you'll find a number of comprehensive elder care checklists to help you with more detailed guidance – and to help you feel more confident that you haven't forgotten something important. We've also included links to several excellent elder care Web sites so that it's easier for you to find the information you need.

So, here's our advice ... elder care - first steps (page 2)

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is intended as a supplement, not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. More

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