Caring for senior parents can be a challenging and emotional experience, especially if you’ve taken on most of the caregiver duties without help from other family members – but you don’t have to do it alone.
There are many resources for caregivers that provide support along the way, including government programs, non-profit organizations and volunteer services. There are also many support groups for caregivers, both in-person and online, that allow them to share their experiences and get emotional support. Holiday By Atria is here to help you navigate the wide range of available resources so you can find the support you need.
The following websites are excellent places to start researching support resources and services for seniors.
AARP offers constantly updated news about resources for aging parents and caregivers. Their Caregiving Guides are full of helpful information on how to care for aging parents and find caregiver resources.
Benefits.gov has a helpful, user-friendly BenefitsCheckUp tool that connects you to a comprehensive range of federal, state and local senior assistance programs across different government agencies.
Eldercare Locator provides valuable information on health insurance, transportation, senior rights, caregiver support groups and more. You can enter your ZIP code to research resources online or call 1-800-677-1116 Monday through Friday to get help over the phone.
The Administration on Aging (AoA) offers a list of programs and services designed to support seniors living independently.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers information on housing resources for seniors and free housing consultations from government-approved housing counseling agencies.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps seniors cover heating, air conditioning and other energy-related expenses so that they can maintain a safe and comfortable living environment.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) provides older adults help understanding their home rents and mortgages.
Websites like Rides in Sight list contact information for senior transportation options in your area.
Medicaid offers Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) for seniors to travel to and from medical appointments.
Most states, counties, cities and towns provide government-run or volunteer transportation services for older adults. Visit your state’s website to see what programs are available nearby.
Medical and health resources
MyHealthfinder provides information on screening tests, vaccines and other preventive health services for older adults.
Medicare is a government program for adults 65 and older that helps pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs and other medical expenses. Check here to see if your parent qualifies for Medicare coverage.
Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance to low-income seniors. Check to see if your parent qualifies for Medicaid coverage here.
Food and nutrition resources
Nutrition.gov offers links to food and nutrition programs that older adults are eligible for. These programs feature helpful information about senior nutrition and meal planning, as well as financial assistance for buying groceries or having groceries delivered.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food benefits to low-income seniors to supplement their grocery budgets.
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) gives low-income seniors access to locally grown produce.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) offers group meals and meal delivery programs for older adults.
Meals On Wheels America operates a network of over 5,000 independently run local programs that deliver affordable or free meals to seniors’ homes. They also provide group meals at senior centers and community centers.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides food and dietary assistance to low-income seniors at no cost.
Financial support resources
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides financial support for adults 65 and older. Seniors who meet the eligibility requirements can apply for SSI benefits here.
Debt.org has useful information about managing different forms of senior debt, including mortgages and credit cards.
InCharge.org offers counseling and resources for seniors who need to pay off credit cards or other forms of debt.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) provides information on legal assistance programs for older adults that can help them understand and exercise their rights. Legal assistance providers offer services in the fight against elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
Visit your state government website to see if your parent is eligible for free legal services.
Seniors with disabilities resources
The Americans with Disabilities Act National Network provides information about how the Americans with Disabilities Act can help seniors with disabilities when it comes to housing, health care and transportation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides numerous resources regarding health care, disability benefits and pension information for eligible senior veterans and their families.
The VA Caregiver Support Program offers caregivers of eligible veterans a variety of services, including skills training, peer support mentorships, legal assistance and financial planning. The Caregivers Support Line connects caregivers to professional therapists and social workers who can provide counseling and emotional support.
Caregiver support groups
It’s important for caregivers to look for ways to manage their stress and take care of their own wellbeing. Joining a caregiver support group gives caregivers a place to talk confidentially about their feelings with people who understand what they’re going through. These groups also provide valuable opportunities to learn from other caregivers’ experiences caring for their family members and finding resources that have made their caregiving duties easier.
Check your state’s government website or type your ZIP code into the AARP website to see what caregiver support groups exist in your area. Some support groups are led by fellow caregivers who can relate to your experience while others are led by a trained facilitator or counselor. There are also support groups for caregivers of people with specific medical conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you can’t find a support group that’s right for you in your area, consider looking into an online support group. Some of these support groups, like the Working Daughter Facebook group, are tailored to the experiences of specific types of caregivers. Whatever your specific situation, there are other caregivers out there facing similar challenges and looking to connect.
Remember you’re not alone
Taking care of senior parents as they age can be a complicated task: rewarding in many ways, but occasionally stressful and demanding. By taking advantage of the many resources available to caregivers and their parents and joining a support group of your peers, you can reduce some of the financial and emotional challenges that come with caring for your parent.