As our parents grow older, they often rely on their adult children for care. In 2021, 16% of Americans cared for an older adult, most often a parent. The caregiving experience varies enormously from family to family. Caring for an elderly parent might mean helping out with chores like picking up groceries or it might be much more involved and time-consuming, especially if your parent lives with you.
However, one thing caregivers have in common is the struggle to find reliable information about the practical, legal, medical, and financial issues that arise when they take responsibility for an older person’s care.
In this article, we highlight some of the most useful eldercare resources on the web. It’s not an exhaustive list, but every organization we’ve linked to provides valuable services and information, including advice about where you can find additional eldercare resources.
General Eldercare Resources
There are many organizations in the U.S. whose mission is to help carers and elderly people to access relevant information and services.
- The National Council on Aging aims to help people age with dignity. It offers a wide variety of useful information for older adults, caregivers, and professionals in the eldercare field. It’s a useful source of advice about topics as varied as nutrition, fall prevention, care during the COVID–19 pandemic, and how to access services for seniors.
- The AARP Foundation’s mission is to reduce senior poverty through economic opportunity, social connectedness, and legal advocacy. It runs a variety of programs focused on helping older jobseekers, improving money-management skills, and helping older adults to remain connected to their community.
- The National Institute on Aging is a rich source of guidance and research on issues that affect older adults. Of particular interest to caregivers is the NIO’s extensive publication library, which covers topics as diverse as forgetfulness, healthy eating, exercise, Alzheimer’s Disease, and advances care planning. Many of the NIO’s publications are available in both English and Spanish.
- The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) advocates for the interests of older adults. It offers information about many topics of interest to caregivers and older adults, including aging and disability resource centers, caregiving, health insurance, livable communities, and more.
Finding Care and Caregiver Support
As a caregiver for an elderly parent, you may benefit from a professional caregiver’s help or advice from organizations that support caregivers.
- Eldercare Locator helps older adults and their families to connect with health, support, housing, and transportation services.
- Caregiver Support is a U.S. government organization that provides information and resources to support caregivers. It also connects caregivers and older adults to local governmental and non-governmental services such as the Eldercare Locator and home health agencies.
- The National PACE Association (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) offers care services to support older adults to live in their homes and communities while receiving expert care.
- AgingCare connects families with professional caregiving services, including assisted and independent living, memory care, and home care.
- ACL Administration for Community Living provides information and resources about long-term care, including basic care needs and advice about how to fund care. It also connects people with local services that provide long-term care.
- Aging in Place from the National Institute on Aging helps people plan for growing older while remaining in their home.
- Aging Life Care Association Home provides expert advice about a range of elder-care issues, including health, finances, housing, and local resources.
Services for Elders
There are many governmental and non-governmental support services for older adults and their caregivers. You can find many of them through the previous sites we’ve linked to, but we’d like to highlight three.
- Meals on Wheels America delivers nutritious meals to people who struggle to get out of the house.
- Adult Day Care Services and Activities helps caregivers to find adult daycare centers for their elderly parents.
- Project Lifesaver International provides search and rescue services for vulnerable individuals with cognitive conditions that put them at risk of wandering or becoming lost.
Elder Healthcare, Nutrition, and Finances
We’ve already mentioned Meals on Wheels, but it’s far from the only service that aims to ensure older adults eat well and remain healthy.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budgets of families that struggle to eat well.
- MyHealthfinder helps older adults to discover the checkups and screening tests essential to maintaining their health.
- BenefitsCheckUp provides assistance to ensure older adults and others are aware of the benefits they are eligible to receive. It covers a wide range of benefits for, medications, healthcare, income assistance, food, housing, and more.
When you first take responsibility for your parent’s care, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. However, there are many services available to help you navigate the complexities of looking after an older adult. If you’re new to caregiving, we suggest you start with the General Eldercare Resources linked at the top of this article, which provide a wealth of advice as well as pointers to essential support services.