At ACE Senior Care Navigators, one of the many things we do is help older adults and families navigate the maze of resources available to support successful aging. How do you know where to go for help, and how do you know that a certain company or organization will meet your needs? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to every question, we wanted to share some of our tried and true sources for pointing Seniors in the right direction.
1. For Leisure and Engagement: Your local library
Whether you live in a big city or a small town, your library (and friendly librarians) will welcome the opportunity to support you with leisure and engagement. Many libraries host free or low-cost activities for Seniors such as discussions, presentations, and art shows. Some, like the Evanston Public Library, run Memory Cafes where individuals with dementia and their care partners can meet and engage with each other. In Glenview, IL where ACE Senior Care Navigators is based, our librarians create Dementia Kits to help Seniors with dementia and their caregivers engage on a certain topic, like travel or music. And even if your library doesn’t have programming specific to what you are looking for, your outreach librarian is a good person to talk to about what might be available in your community.
2. For Veterans and Surviving Spouses: VetAssist and American Veterans Care Connection
If your Senior or any surviving spouse (even if the couple has divorced) is a Veteran, they may have benefits for home care support. While your local VA is the first place to start, sometimes you may need another place to check on if you are eligible for benefits and if so, how you can access them. We often refer Veteran clients and their current or former spouses to VetAssist and American Veterans Care Connection to help check on their benefits and guide with how to utilize them. To our Veterans, thank you for your service!
3. For Local Referrals: Your local Chamber of Commerce
Does your Senior need a handyman, a plumber, a financial advisor, a real estate agent, or any other local professional to help them with their home or IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living)? Look no further than your local Chamber of Commerce. CoCs are organizations composed of local businesses who are committed to serving their community. While membership in a CoC is voluntary, members typically know “who’s who” and can provide a trusted referral, even if that individual or business is not a member of the chamber. Some chambers even have sub-groups dedicated to resources that Seniors typically access. For example, the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce has a Senior Services group, and the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce has the Resources for Intelligent Aging group, both of which include members who provide services for older adults in the community.
4. For Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leader in research and global efforts to end dementia and related conditions and provide support to individuals and their loved ones dealing with these diseases. While that can seem like a daunting organization to reach out to, the Alzheimer’s Association strives to be as accessible as possible to the public. The Resources section provides articles on topics like how to talk to kids and teens about dementia and home safety considerations for a loved one with dementia. The Community Resource Finder directs you to support in your geographic region. And their Helpline is available 24/7 via phone or chat for general questions or to help you find a support group in your area.
5. For Comprehensive Support: The Aging Life Care Association
For help with finding your “right hand person” to help you and your Senior with everything associated with the aging process, look no further than the Aging Life Care Association. Whether you need someone to be the boots on the ground for your Senior, to support your family through your Senior’s aging journey, or to help you figure out exactly what it is you need, an Aging Life Care Professional is your go-to person. As the professional organization for geriatric care managers, ALCA requires members to meet rigorous criteria and adhere to strict ethical conduct in their commitment to the profession of serving elders. Find your local Aging Life Care Professional here. Amy Cohen, OTR/L, CDP, CMC, owner and operator of ACE Senior Care Navigators, is proud to be an Advanced Professional Member of the Aging Life Care Association.
While this list is a great starting place, we know that Seniors and their families benefit from comprehensive guidance in the aging process. Get started today with a complimentary consultation.