Maybe something seemed a little “off” when you last visited your aging parents at home. You found some expired food in the fridge or an unexplained dent in the car. Even the house didn’t seem as clean as it usually does.
You want your mom and dad to be safe and healthy. But does your parent need additional help? If so, what types of services are available?
These are the most common questions Genn Bervig, director of Admissions and Social Services at Eventide, receives when families call. Families aren’t necessarily looking for a place to live for their aging parents – they’re looking for a problem solver, somebody who can help to guide them on a journey that is unique to each senior and their family.
The good news is there are excellent resources that can help families navigate an overwhelming list of services and care options.
Start Researching Now
It’s never too early to start looking at available resources for seniors. In fact, Bervig encourages families to do some research and ask questions before services are needed. When possible, ask your aging parent about their preferences. Bervig started a conversation with her mother by saying: “I know you don’t want to go to a nursing home. But if you need to, where do you want to go? Do you want be closer to friends or family?”
“These aren’t easy conversation, but it makes future decision-making so much easier,” she says.
It’s important to remember that looking into services doesn’t mean mom or dad is headed to a nursing home or assisted living residence. The goal is to keep people in their homes as long as their health and well-being can be maintained.
Sometimes, requesting a home safety evaluation can help to identify simple modifications — like moving laundry to the main level or securing throw rugs — that can keep an aging parent safer and in their own homes longer.
Deciding when — and where — to find care or services for an aging parent can be difficult. But being armed with options gives you the ability to make the best decision possible. To get started, check out these resources:
Senior LinkAge Line (Minnesota only)
Find services and information that can help simplify the decisions you face every day as a senior and as a caregiver. It offers assistance on topics ranging from reducing prescription drug costs to local services that can keep a senior parent in the home longer.
Aging & Disability Resource LINK (North Dakota only)
Learn about choices for care and support services at home and in your community. A counselor can help families sort through options for current and future needs.
FirstLink (North Dakota plus Clay County, Minnesota)
Once you know they type of services you’re seeking, FirstLink is a great resource. Click on “Find Resources Here” from the homepage and you can search by service or by county.
If your or your parents’ faith community has a parish nurse on staff, tap into this great resource. Parish nurses encourage physical and spiritual health among their congregation members. They or a pastor may have knowledge of community services that could benefit your parent. In addition, these faith leaders may be making home visits to parishioners and could share their observations of what daily life is like for your parent.
Social workers or case management nurses in clinics
Many health clinics have social workers or case management nurses to their staff. These professionals can help pull together resources and care plans for those facing complex medical needs.