The aging process can be a difficult and stressful challenge for many older people, as they struggle to adapt to a wide variety of changes in their lives. Many have to adjust their expectations about their own ability to care of all of their own daily needs. Whether due to illness, injury, or simply the passing of time, seniors often find themselves faced with growing concerns about issues related to elder care. For those seniors and their loved ones, that often results in a search for information about the different types of care options that are available. For those seniors and their families, an elder care guide can be an invaluable resource.
Recognize When You Need Elder Care Services
This can be the most challenging aspect of elder care. In some instances, the need for care is obvious – such as after a senior loved one has a stroke or begins to suffer the ravages of dementia. In other cases, however, the need for assistance can be more difficult to determine. Your aging parent may have good days when he or she is able to take care of everything alone, and there may be bad days when almost nothing seems to go right. It is important to be cognizant of these challenges and seek help whenever necessary. Agingcare.com offers some insight that can help you recognize when some level of elder care might be appropriate.
How Much Care is Needed?
Beyond recognizing the need for elder care, it is just as important to assess the amount of care that is needed. This is often one of the most difficult challenges for seniors and their families. Often times, seniors have trouble acknowledging just how much care they actually need. At the same time, many family members are reluctant to raise the issue – or are unsure about how to do it in a respectful way. AARP’s website offers an assessment checklist that can help seniors and their family members to better assess the need for care so that informed decisions can be made.
Types of Elder Care Available
The good news for seniors is that there are a wide variety of care options out there. Care can range from the most minimal level of in-home assistance to more in-depth care at any of the many assisted living facilities in the area. In some cases, family members can organize to ensure that an aging parent or grandparent gets the in-home care needed. That option can be great for seniors whose needs involve assistance with simple tasks like cleaning, meal preparation, financial management, transport, and similar non-medical concerns.
For seniors who have issues related to physical or mental health, however, there is often a need for help of a more professional nature. That can range from in-home nursing assistance to long-term care facilities. Care.com has some useful information about senior housing and the different options that are available on their website.
Mental Health Challenges
Alzheimer’s and a variety of dementia-related problems can lead to depression and other mental health concerns for many seniors. Seniors in our area should know that there are people who care about their wellbeing and are committed to providing them with the help they need to adjust to life changes and enjoy the quality of life they deserve. The 2-1-1 Crisis and Intervention Hotline is always available for seniors who need that immediate attention. There are also a variety of other mental health services in the area that can help seniors cope with their changing life circumstances:
- Port St. Lucie Hospital (772) 335-0400
- TC Behavioral Healthcare at Lawnwood Pavilion (772) 466-1500
- Suncoast Mental Health Centers (888) 373-5010
- Catholic Charities (772) 283-0541
It is important to note that many of those services can also provide assistance for seniors struggling with substance abuse as well. There is even help for seniors and others who are battling to end their reliance on tobacco: Smoking & Tobacco- Quit now! (AHEC) (877) 819-2357.
Aging and Disability in Florida
Disabled seniors often face even greater challenges as they struggle with life changes and other constraints imposed by their disabilities. Fortunately, there are services in the area that can help with those challenges as well:
- Agency for Persons with Disabilities (772) 468-4080
- Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services of the TC (772) 334-2233
- Disability Rights Florida (800) 342-0823
- Florida Division of Blind Services (866) 225-0794
- Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches (561) 586-5600
Local Senior Services
- Agency for Health Care Administration (800) 226-5082
- Alzheimer’s Community Care (772) 466-3261
- Council on Aging- senior center & services (772) 336-8608
- TC Long-Term Care Ombudsman-protecting rights (888) 831-0404
- Your Aging/Disability Center & SHINE helpline (866) 684-5885
Seniors who have served in the armed forces can often obtain assistance from the Veterans’ Administration. The following offices can help seniors in the area identify the benefits available to them:
- Dept. of Veterans Affairs (800) 827-1000
- Ft. Pierce VA Outpatient Clinic (772) 595-5150
- Port St. Lucie PTSD Clinic (772) 878-7876
- Veterans Service Office (772) 337-5670
- Veterans Affairs Medical Center (West Palm Bch.) (800) 972-8262
Elder Abuse is a Crime
Seniors who believe that they have been abused or defrauded – or families who believe that a loved one may be a victim of mistreatment can contact the following offices:
- Abuse Hotline (Florida) (800) 962-2873
- Elder Victim of Crime Assistance (866) 684-5885
Get the Legal Assistance You Need
Seniors often require the assistance of lawyers with expertise in both elder law and estate planning. Seniors who require long-term care typically have financial needs that must be met to ensure that they have the funding needed to pay for those services. For many seniors, that entails long-term estate planning and Medicaid planning to help them qualify for the benefits they need to cover the high costs of nursing home care.
At Kulas & Crawford our team can provide you with the help you need to better understand issues related to elder care, Medicaid eligibility, and sound estate planning. Contact us online or call us at (772) 398-0720 today to find out more.