Help Available for Families Needing Elder Care

Elder care continues to be one of the most complicated needs in our society. Literally in Colorado there are thousands of agencies providing home care, assisted living, and other long term care services. Families are often overwhelmed about where to start, what questions to ask and how to pay for services.

The Colorado Gerontological Society has released the 24th edition of the Colorado Senior Resource Guidebook. The Guidebook is a comprehensive resource of services providing answers for families and friends facing challenges in providing care and assistance for loved ones, along with forms to compare services, questions to ask, and other decision making tools.

Telling a loved one they must leave their home and move is one of the most difficult conversations about advance care planning that families and elders must have in their life. Leaving someone in their own home is always the goal.

Trying to decide on the most appropriate home care resource can be challenge. There are three types of home care resources featured in the Guidebook. Home care includes Medicare and Medicaid covered services, private pay services often known as non-medical services, and home care placement agencies in which the elder contracts directly with home care personnel accepting responsibility for supervising the care and other employment relationships.

Another home care option is utilizing adult day services in which the elder attends a day program that provides oversight, helps with medication management and serves 2-3 meals a day while family members either go to work or seek respite from the daily burden of providing care.

When home care is no longer an option, many families face the challenge of moving their loved one to a retirement community, assisted living, or nursing home depending on the level of care that is needed. In Colorado there are hundreds of these agencies available to help. Selecting the right level of care as well as the right price and location is important for a successful placement.

The Guidebook provides updated prices of all of the licensed facilities in the state, as well as information about star ratings if the agency is certified by Medicare. Not all agencies providing elder resources are licensed or certified by the state,

Some families may also choose Hospice or Palliative care services for their loved one. These services focus on providing the elder with the best quality of life, but not necessarily all of the care options that might be available for managing and curing the complex medical problems.

Understanding both insurance options that may help to pay for these services, as well as how to select Medicare products with current pricing, companies offering services and comparison charts to help you select the best coverage are also featured.

Families oftentimes find themselves in need of the necessary documents to act on behalf of loved ones, such as financial and medical powers of attorney, do not resuscitate orders, and living wills. The Guidebook contains copies of pre-printed forms that can be used for planning and making these important decisions. While the documents can be used to make advance care decisions, families may also want to seek the services of an attorney.

The Guidebook is available for free through local libraries throughout Colorado. Free copies can also be obtained by visiting our office at 1330 Leyden, #148, Denver. Copies can be ordered for $10 shipping and handling charges at senioranswers.org or by calling 303-333-3482.

For questions related to helping a loved one with elder care or to order a Guidebook, call a counselor at 303-333-3482.

About the Author

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS has been the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has more than 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at doherty001@att.net.

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