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There's no place like home--for growing old tips from the National Institute on Aging.

"The stairs are getting so hard to climb." "Since my wife died, I just open a can of soup for dinner." "I've lived here 40 years. No other place will seem like home."

These are common concerns for older people. And, you may share an often-heard wish--"I want to stay in my own home!" The good news is that with the right help you might be able to do just that.

What do I do first?

Think about the kinds of help you might want in the near future. Planning ahead is hard because you never know how your needs might change. Maybe you live alone, so there is no one to help you. Maybe you don't need help right now, but you live with a husband or wife who does. Whatever your situation, start by looking at any illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or emphysema emphysema (ĕmfĭsē`mə), pathological or physiological enlargement or overdistention of the air sacs of the lungs. A major cause of pulmonary insufficiency in chronic cigarette smokers, emphysema is a progressive disease that commonly  that you have. Then talk to your doctor about how these health problems could make it hard for you to get around or take care of yourself in the future. Help getting dressed in the morning, fixing a meal, or remembering to take medicine may be all you need to stay at home.

As you read on, you will learn about the kinds of help that you might want to look for where you live. You will read about people and places to go to for more information about the resources near you--from people in your community to the Federal Government. If you are worried about how much this help will cost, you will see that we have tried to give you suggestions for free or low cost help, as well as some that cost more. There are also ways to find out if there are any benefits that apply to you. Last, there is a list of groups to contact for more detailed answers to your questions. Share this information with others in your family, and use it as a stepping stone to begin talking about your needs--now and in the future.

What kinds of help can I get?

You can get almost any type of help you want in your home--often for a cost. The following list includes some common things people need. You can get more information on many of these services from your local Area Agency on Aging, local and State offices on aging or social services social services
Noun, pl

welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs

social services nplservicios mpl sociales 
, tribal organization, or nearby senior centers.

Personal care. Is bathing, washing your hair, or dressing getting harder to do? Maybe a relative or friend could help you. Or, you could hire someone trained to help you for a short time each day.

Homemaking home·mak·er  
One who manages a household, especially as one's main daily activity.

. Do you need help with chores like housecleaning house·clean·ing  
1. The cleaning and tidying of a house and its contents.

2. Informal Removal of unwanted personnel, methods, or policies in an effort at reform or improvement.
, yard work, stores and drug stores will take your order over the phone and bring the items to your home. There are cleaning services you can hire, or maybe someone you know has a housekeeper HOUSEKEEPER. One who occupies a house.
     2. A person who occupies every room in the house, under a lease, except one, which is reserved for his landlord, who pays all the taxes, is not a housekeeper. 1 Chit. Rep. 502.
 to suggest. Some housekeepers will help with laundry. Some drycleaners will pick up and deliver your clothes.

Meals. Tired of cooking every day or of eating alone? Maybe you could share cooking with a friend a few times a week or have a potluck dinner with a group of friends. Sometimes meals are served at a nearby senior center, church, or synagogue synagogue (sĭn`əgŏg) [Gr.,=assembly], in Judaism, a place of assembly for worship, education, and communal affairs. The origins of the institution are unclear. One tradition dates it to the Babylonian exile of the 6th cent. B.C. . Eating out may give you a chance to visit with others. Is it hard for you to get out? Ask someone you know to bring you a healthy meal a few times a week. Also, programs like Meals on Wheels n. 1. A program that delivers hot meals to persons, such as the elderly or disabled, who are confined to their homes and unable to cook for themselves; also, the meals thus delivered. Such programs are usually conducted by governmental or charitable organizations.  bring hot meals into your home.

Money management. Are you paying bills late or not at all because it's tiring or hard to keep track of them? Are doctors' bills and health insurance claim forms confusing? Ask a trusted relative to lend a hand to give assistance.
to give assistance; to help.

See also: Hand Lend
. If that's not possible, volunteers, financial counselors, or geriatric geriatric /ger·i·at·ric/ (jer?e-at´rik)
1. pertaining to elderly persons or to the aging process.

2. pertaining to geriatrics.

 care managers can help. Just make sure you get the name from a trustworthy source, like your local Area Agency on Aging.Would you like to lighten light·en 1  
v. light·ened, light·en·ing, light·ens
a. To make light or lighter; illuminate or brighten.

b. To make (a color) lighter.

 the load of paying bills yourself? Talk with someone at your bank. You might also be able to have regular bills, like utilities and rent or mortgage, paid directly from your checking account.

Health care. Do you forget to take your medicine? There are devices available to remind you when it is time to take it. Have you just gotten out of the hospital and still need nursing care at home for a short time? Medicare might pay for a home health aide to come to your home.

Products to make life easier. Is it getting harder to turn a door knob, get out of a chair, or put on your socks? There are things available to make these activities and many of the other things you do during the day easier. The Department of Education provides a website, If you can't get to or use a computer, they will answer your questions at 800-227-0216. This website has information on more than 30,000 assistive technology Hardware and software that help people who are physically impaired. Often called "accessibility options" when referring to enhancements for using the computer, the entire field of assistive technology is quite vast and even includes ramp and doorway construction in buildings to support  products designed to make it easier for people with physical limitations to do things for themselves.

Getting around--at home and in town. Are you having trouble walking? Think about getting an electric chair or scooter scooter: see motorcycle. . These are sometimes covered by Medicare. Do you need someone to go with you to the doctor or shopping? Volunteer escort services may be available. Don't drive a car any longer? Free or lower-priced public transportation and taxis taxis (tăk`sĭs), movement of animals either toward or away from a stimulus, such as light (phototaxis), heat (thermotaxis), chemicals (chemotaxis), gravity (geotaxis), and touch (thigmotaxis).  may be offered in your area. Maybe a relative, friend, or neighbor would take you along when they go on errands or do yours for you. Activities and friends. Are you bored staying at home? Try visiting your local senior center. They offer a variety of activities. You might see some old friends there and meet new people too. Is it hard for you to leave your home? Maybe you would enjoy visits from someone on a regular basis. Volunteers are sometimes available to stop by or call once a week. They can just keep you company, or you can talk about any problems you are having.

Safety. Are you worried about crime in your neighborhood, physical abuse, or losing money as a result of a scam (SCSI Configured AutoMatically) A subset of Plug and Play that allows SCSI IDs to be changed by software rather than by flipping switches or changing jumpers. Both the SCSI host adapter and peripheral must support SCAM. See SCSI. ? Talk to your local Area Agency on Aging. Do you live alone and are afraid of becoming sick with no one around to help? You might want to get an emergency alert system. You just push a special button that you wear, and emergency medical personnel are called. A monthly fee is charged.

Care away from home. Do you need care but live with someone who can't stay with you during the day? For example, maybe they work. Adult day care outside the home is sometimes available for older people who need help getting around or caring for themselves. The day care center can even pick you up and bring you home. If your caretaker needs to get away overnight, there are places that will provide more extended temporary respite care Respite Care

Short-term or temporary care of a few hours or weeks of the sick or disabled to provide relief, or respite, to the regular caregiver, usually a family member.


Housing. Does your home need a few changes to make it easier and safer to live in? Think about things like a ramp at the front door, grab bars in the tub or shower, nonskid non·skid  
Designed to prevent or inhibit skidding: nonskid tires.

Adj. 1. nonskid - designed to reduce or prevent skidding; "nonskid tires"
 floors, more comfortable handles on doors or faucets, and better insulation. Sound expensive? You might be able to get help paying for these changes. Check with your local or State Area Agencies on Aging, State housing finance agency, welfare department, community development groups, or the Federal Government (see For More Information).

Where do I start?

Here are some resources where you can look for this help:

People you know. For many older people, family, friends, and neighbors are the biggest source of help. Talk with those close to you about the best way to get what you need. If you are physically able, think about trading services with a friend or neighbor. One could do the grocery shopping, and the other could cook dinner, for example.

Community and local government resources. Learn about the types of services and care found in your community. Health care providers and social workers may have suggestions. The local Area Agency on Aging, local and State offices on aging or social services, and your tribal organization have lists of services. Look in the phone book under "Government." If you belong to a religious group, check with its local offices. The group might have a senior services program.

Geriatric care managers. Specially-trained people known as geriatric care managers can help make your daily life easier. They will work with you to form a long-term care long-term care (LTC),
n the provision of medical, social, and personal care services on a recurring or continuing basis to persons with chronic physical or mental disorders.
 plan and find the right services. They charge for this help, and it probably won't be covered by any insurance plan. Geriatric care managers can be very helpful when family members live far apart. They will check in with you from time to time to make sure your needs haven't changed.

Federal Government sources. There are many resources from the Federal Government where you can start looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 information on help. Some are on the Internet and only available with a computer.

Federal Government websites are reliable. If you don't have a computer, you might be able to find one at your local library or senior center. Or ask your local Area Agency on Aging. Perhaps a grandchild, niece NIECE, domestic relations: The daughter of a person's brother or sister. Amb. 514; 1 Jacob's Ch. R. 207. , or nephew could search for you. Wherever possible, we have also given a phone number. The Eldercare eld·er·care
Social and medical programs and facilities intended for the care and maintenance of the aged.
 Locator LOCATOR, civil law. He who leases or lets a thing to hire to another. His duties are, 1st. To deliver to the hirer the thing hired, that he may use it. 2d. To guaranty to the hirer the free enjoyment of it. 3d.  has information on many different services for older people. They can give you the number of your local Area Agency on Aging. To use this service call 800-677-1116, or go to on the Internet.

You can get suggestions to fit your own needs from the Medicare website at Just click on "Long-Term Care" and then "Long-Term Care Planning Tool." Type in information about yourself (age, sex, and whether or not you are married), as well as your health problems and other needs. Very quickly it will give the type of help you should look for and general advice on how to find it and how to pay for it. You do not have to put in any personal information--not even your name or social security number.

The National Library of Medicine's website,, has a section "Home care services." This contains links to information that might be of help.

The National Institute on Aging The National Institute on Aging is a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Formed in 1974, NIA's mission is to improve the health and well-being of older Americans through research. It is the primary U.S.
 (NIA NIA National Institute on Aging (NIH)
NIA National Indoor Arena (UK)
NIA National Intelligence Agency (South Africa and Thailand)
NIA National Institute of Accountants
) has its Resource Directory for Older People. It has the names, addresses, phone numbers, and website addresses for more than 260 government agencies, professional associations, and public and private groups that have information or help for older people. You can use it online at Or, call 800-222-2225 for help finding the resource you need.

Once you have chosen some service providers, you might be able to get more information about them from The Home Health Compare section there can tell you more about some of the providers in your State. You can also check on how well these services help people. No computer? Just call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for the same information.

How much will this cost?

Thinking about how you are going to pay for the help you need is an important part of planning. Some things you want may cost a lot. Others may be free. Some things may be covered by Medicare, private "Medigap" policies or other private health insurance, Medicaid, or long-term care insurance. Some may not. Check with your insurance provider(s). There is a chance that paying for just a few services out of pocket could cost less in the long run than moving into an independent living, assisted living as·sist·ed living
A living arrangement in which people with special needs, especially older people with disabilities, reside in a facility that provides help with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, and taking medication.
, or longterm care facility. And you will have your wish of still living in your own home.

Once you have thought about which services you need, you can find out about Federal, State, and local government benefits at If you can't get to a computer, call 800-FED-INFO (800-333-4636) for the same kind of help.

Another website to search for benefits is from the National Council on Aging. By typing in general information about yourself, you can see a list of possible benefits you might qualify for. You don't have to give your name, address, or social security number in order to use this service.

Are you eligible for veteran's benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Affairs is a term of the business that deals with the relation between a government and its veteran communities, usually administered by the designated government agency. ? The VA sometimes provides medical care in your home. In some areas they also offer homemaker/home health aide services, adult day health care, and hospice hospice, program of humane and supportive care for the terminally ill and their families; the term also applies to a professional facility that provides care to dying patients who can no longer be cared for at home. . You can learn more by going to, calling the toll-free VA Health Care Benefits number, 877-222-8387, or contacting the VA medical center nearest you.

What if I need more help?

At some point, support from family, friends, or local programs may not be enough. If you need help on a full-time basis, you might want to think about having someone live in your home. Or, you could have someone from a service come in for as many hours and days as you want for a fee. You might also decide to move to a senior living facility that provides many or all of the services you need. But, in the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
, you will have enjoyed your home and neighbors for longer than you once thought. A little help from family, friends, and local services will have made that possible.

How can I help my older relatives stay in their home?

Some people start having trouble doing everyday activities like shopping, cooking, and taking care of their home or themselves as they grow older. Is that happening to any of your relatives--your parents or an aunt or uncle, for example? If so, talk to them about getting help. Offer to get information for them. Think about what you and others in the family can do to help. Talk to your friends whose relatives may be facing the same kinds of problems. Ask about the solutions they found. Then sit down and tell your relatives what you have learned. Together you can decide what to do.

For More Information Other sources of information include:


Administration on Aging The Administration on Aging (AoA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. AoA awards annual grants (computed by formulas) to State government agencies on aging and Native American tribal organizations to support programs mandated by the Congress  

Washington, DC 20201


Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Benefits


Veterans Health


810 Vermont Avenue Vermont Avenue is one of the longest running north/south streets in Los Angeles. Located just west of the Harbor Freeway for the major portion south of downtown Los Angeles, it starts in Griffith Park at the Greek Theatre in the Los Feliz neighborhood as a one-lane divided road (it , NW

Washington, DC 20420

VA benefits:

800-827-1000 (toll-free)

To speak with a health care

benefits counselor:

877-222-8387 (toll-free)

Eldercare Locator

800-677-1116 (toll-free)

Federal and State Government Benefit Information


(800-333-4636/toll free)

FirstGov for Seniors


Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 Seventh Street, SW

Washington, DC 20410


202-708-1455 (TTY (TeleTYpewriter) See teletypewriter and TDD/TTY.

(hardware) tty - /tit'ee/ (ITS pronunciation, but some Unix people say it this way as well; this pronunciation is not considered to have sexual undertones), /T T Y/

1. teletypewriter.


Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP LIHEAP Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program )

National Energy Assistance

Referral Hotline (NEAR)

866-674-6327 (toll-free)

National Resource Center on Supportive Housing Supportive housing is designed to support individuals, not just socially but with basic life skills. Housing is coupled with social services such as job training, alcohol and drug abuse programs and case management.  and Home Modification Home Modification

Alterations made to a home to meet the needs of people with physical limitations so they can live independently (to some degree) and safely. Examples of home modifications include removing throw rugs to prevent slips and falls, installing grab bars in the bathroom

3715 McClintock Avenue

Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , CA 90089


Rebuilding Together Rebuilding Together is a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing and rebuilding communities, buildings, and houses for low-income homeowners and neighborhoods through the use of volunteer labor.  

1536 Sixteenth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20036-1042




American Association American Association refers to one of the following professional baseball leagues:
  • American Association (19th century), active from 1882 to 1891.
  • American Association (20th century), active from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997.
 of Homes and Services for the Aging

2519 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20008


National Adult Day Services Association

2519 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20008

800-558-5301 (toll-free)

National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers

1604 North Country Club Road

Tucson, AZ 85716


For more information about health and aging, contact:

National Institute on Aging Information Center

P.O. Box 8057

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057

800-222-2225 (toll-free)

800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)
COPYRIGHT 2006 National Institute on Aging
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Pamphlet by: National Institute on Aging
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:So far away: twenty questions for long-distance caregivers.
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