Caring for Aging Parents

Someday, your parents may no longer be able to take care of themselves; therefore, you should know the following information:

  • Rights of older Americans
  • Organizations and government agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Nursing home alternatives
  • How to pay for long-term care

The growing population of aging Americans has, fortunately, generated a growing number of individuals, institutions, and agencies dedicated to informing older Americans and protecting their rights and interests. Agencies in every U.S. state provide information and services to older Americans. Many attorneys now specialize the expanding area of Elderlaw; click here to locate an attorney in your area who handles the particular problems of older Americans.

While most seniors lead active lives, Alzheimer's Disease and other infirmities of age prevent some from living independently. When this occurs, children may have to make the agonizing decision to place their parent in a nursing home. State-licensed nursing homes provide constant care, but they are expensive, may or may not provide the personal attention your parents need, and may or may not be covered under Medicare or Medicaid. A lot depends on the nursing home you choose. Less strictly regulated - and less costly - nursing home alternatives include:

Assisted living facilities, in which residents maintain their own fully furnished apartments but can eat with other residents and have access to a range of activities and care options.

Senior communities, or "congregate living facilities," designed for older persons in good health.

Group homes, independent private living in a house shared by several senior citizens who split the cost of rent, housekeeping services, utilities, and meals.

Shared housing, which is offered by homeowners willing to share their house with others, with provisions negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Adult foster care, a family caring for and providing meals, housekeeping and services for a dependent person in their home. Your local social services department can tell you if adult foster care is available in your area.

Cost is likely to be a major issue in determining where, how, and how well you can take care of your parent. Medicare can help, and dozens of insurance companies now sell nursing home insurance, also known as long-term care insurance. But read the policies carefully before you buy. If your parent has problems managing finances, you may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in senior law to establish a conservatorship or a guardianship.

Community: Caring for Aging Parents

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Nursing homes can be expensive, with costs sometimes running upwards of $70,000 per year.








These books from the Store can help:

Beat the Nursing Home Trap: A Consumers Guide to Choosing and Financing Long-Term Care
by Joseph Matthews

The American Bar Association Legal Guide for Older Americans
by Charles P. Sabatino

The Elder Law Handbook: A Legal and Financial Survival Guide for Caregivers and Seniors
by Peter J. Strauss and Nancy M. Lederman








Check out these articles:

Caring for Our Elderly: Reporting Elder Abuse and Employment Background Checks


Housing Choices in Retirement

Long-Term Care Insurance


Nursing Home Alternatives

Nursing Home Insurance

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes and Medicaid

Protecting the Rights of Older Americans

State Agencies on Aging

The Aging of America








Information for older Americans

Government agencies

Department of Health & Human Services Administration on Aging

Health Care Finanacing Administration (Medicare)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Social Security Online

Nonprofit organizations

Vast resource and services organization for men and women 50 and older.

National Council of Senior Citizens
Lobbying and education group for older Americans and their families.

National Senior Citizens Law Center
Helps older Americans with legal work.

An organization for computer-using adults age 50 and older.