Senior citizens services will progressively be required more and more by the person experiencing health issues. This is especially true when an elderly person becomes ill through a chronic disease or declining health; there will be needs they will require, throughout this period. Initially, the person may be able to do some things on their own, but in time, assistance will be needed in caring for their selves. A caregiver initially is a family member or friend who helps by performing small tasks to help the elderly person through their day. Some tasks are broken up by different members committing to share in helping to get things done like meals, cleaning, transporting to the grocery store or appointments. This is simply an example, but individual circumstances and needs vary.

A more recent service which has come about is Concierge Service. The service provides for delivery or pick up of grocery items for the elderly or disabled. This entails shopping for groceries or non-pharmaceutical items online rather than roaming the aisles of the store.  Senior citizens services of this type  can save money as well since some stores offer discounts. To take advantage of this service someone has to be computer literate to go online and set up an account to request your list of items and a charge card is needed to pay for the items. If items are not delivered to you, in many cases the store manager will have a clerk to bring the items out to your automobile. This service saves time and effort for the caregiver or someone who has difficulties or is not ambulatory. Like restaurants many of the big chain stores offer this service or you might want to inquire where you shop. Example of some stores: Harris Teeter, Sam’s, Public's, CVS, Walmart, Costco, etc.

Once the health condition becomes pronounced,  a caregiver then provides primary support usually in the home on a full or part-time basis. Caregiver duties can change, their roles are not always planned, nor clear cut; and can span from daily hygiene, food preparation and feeding, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, handling of business affairs, companionship and arranging for needed senior citizens services for that person in the home. Not only will the elderly person depend upon what family they have, but in-home technology, such as electronic monitoring by their physician may be utilized. To remain in their homes many senior citizens services will be needed on an ongoing basis. Caring for an aged person requires quite a bit of time, energy, support and resources to provide the necessary attention needed.

Families and caregivers should make every effort to locate resources for senior citizens services in your community; and keep all members of the family updated as to the available services. Please find included a listing of common need themes of the elderly and in-firmed. Efforts were made to involve agencies and programs which may offer assistance to the elderly. Many of these senior citizens services are contingent upon insurance, co-pays, eligibility criteria, waiting lists, referrals; prescription by physician, legalities, federal and state regulations as well as timing.

Home-Care: After the efforts of families and friends; what then?
Adult-Day-Care: A program which provides care and activities for senior citizens who need assistance and supervision during the day. These facilities may include limited medical and social services, but they are primarily designed to provide relief for family members/caregivers and interaction for the senior with others. Rates and services vary; therefore it is important to stop in for a visit to acquire necessary information and a tour. 

Adult-Sitter/Companion- Care:  Usually are persons who provide care and attention for an unwell person. They may have limited or no medical training, but enjoy helping others. They  simply are there to assist the ill person with tasks they are unable to perform for themselves. If there are medical procedures such as changing bandages, dispensing medication, turning the person’s body; they are taught these things by the caregiver or medical personnel. Duties are usually related to the direct care of the person being cared for. They may serve as a companion too. Companionship offered as senior citizens services often lifts our spirits and gives a focus on things other than our woes. It is vital to check references, previous employers and others that may know this person before you bring them into your home and life. Take your time in making your decision, since this decision will affect you and your loved one.   

Should the sitter work for an agency or in a nursing home or medical facility they may be required to acquire licensure and bonding. Costs for these senior citizen services can vary, and normally there is no financial help,however this  is changing in many areas of the country therefore check when these services are needed.
Assisted /Residential Living:  Is a facility which provides living accommodations for a fairly well person with some limitations. Services offered include supervision, social activities and assistance with dressing, bathing, eating, medication reminders, but often no medical care is available on site. However, there are some larger assisted living or residential care facilities large enough to place persons in other areas of the facility to include care when needed. Of course the costs increase once this happens. Depending upon the quality of the facility they may offer transportation for group activities. In other words the more expensive the facility usually the more senior citizens services and accommodations are offered. These facilities attempt to offer a private, home like environment.  There are program coordinators who work to help residents to become involved with activities and their peers. Their focus is on being healthy and enjoying life. Do comparison shopping  before making your final decision. Certification and ratings as well help in making informed decisions.

Group Home:  Private homes or facilities which care for the in-firmed or handicapped in a family setting. Often the residents are given a room or share a room and accommodations such as bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and a common area with additional residents. Though this can vary from state to state licensure is granted for small settings of 3-16 residents. Services offered include medication dispersal, meals, hygiene and games/crafts for social interaction. Permanent staff is based upon the number of residents serviced and usually include; resident manager and caregivers. The home is normally affiliated with a hospital from which doctors and other needed medical staff come in to care for residents or the resident is transported to the hospital for additional care. Facility costs for senior citizens services can include personal funds, social security, Medicaid and veteran benefits; these facilities are operated by non-profits, for profit groups and medical facilities. Be sure to check their accreditation and how medical conditions and emergencies are handled. Read carefully all materials given because your lack of knowledge could affect the well-being of your loved one.

Nursing Homes:  A medical facility which provides residential nursing care for the sick, in-firmed and handicapped. A facility of this type has full nursing care around the clock. Residents are persons who have an acute medical condition which requires ongoing medical attention. In some situations the resident’s condition may be for a specific period of time rather than ongoing. The staff consists of nurse aids, registered nurses and skilled nurses in specific fields such as dietician, physical therapy, inhalation therapy and occupational therapy. Therapies are usually included with medical treatment plans. Doctors are on duty in these facilities and a nearby hospital utilized, since services may be delivered by both according to regulations set by insurer or Medicaid. If the facility accepts Medicaid or Medicare the facility is licensed and inspected by the state on a frequent basis. It is important that  you ask questions concerning their rating; this will assist you in determining the quality of care. Ratings range on a scale of 1 to ten with ten being the highest rating. Also check Medicare's website (www.medicare.gov/nhcompare) for nursing homes in your region and their rating. By entering the state or zip code and the name of the facility you can make a comparison. Talk with the staff and others to get a feel for the level of care others have received. If possible make pop-in calls to access senior citizens services and see what's really going on.

Financial issues vary and should be discussed at length with the financial staff person. This is critical so that you and your family will have some knowledge of expenses, how they are formulated and when payments are expected and from whom for senior citizens services.

Hospice Care:  A healthcare service for the terminally ill. With this form of care, efforts are made to keep the patient comfortable, without producing any lifesaving procedure or care. Patients can choose to live out their life at home or be placed in a hospice facility.  Generally patients can only be admitted to a facility with a terminal condition which will last up to six months. Included in the care may be psychological counseling, emotional support and spiritual resources for the patient and family. Death can be viewed as “the end of the line” or “living life as best you can”. The nursing team deals honestly, openly and compassionately with the patient and family so all can be a part of this process. Initially there may be fear for all involved, but efforts are made to educate, empathize and respect the wishes of the patient and family. The staff’s primary focus for the patient is pain and symptom control. Financially these services are paid for by Medicare/Medicaid and supplemental insurance. Of the senior citizens services, this is certainly a more humane way of living your final days. When death comes it is a good idea to make prior plans of who will contact the funeral agency. Hospice is there to meet the needs and arrangements you have agreed upon since this may be an emotional time for spouse and family. Should you not be using hospice care you will need to contact 911-emergency services.
Legally a living will and durable power of attorney for health may be needed in acquiring information or assistance with any of the health care facilities mentioned.

Helpful agencies:
APlaceforMom.com-free directory
Area Office on Aging
Dept. of Health & Human Services
Dept. of Veteran Affairs
ElderCare.Gov -locator
Medicare.gov – financial coverage
National Adult Day Services Association – nadsa.org
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care – theconsumervoice.org

Medications: Regardless of the individual's living arrangements; family or caregivers should be informed and abreast of medications. Too often seniors are under the care of different doctors and there is no communication going on to determine if meds need to be adjusted, changed or deleted altogether. Families should ask the why, how, how much and when of physicians because over-medication and drug interactions can have adverse effects on the patient. The number of senior citizens services exist to help the patient get better or to improve their well-being or quality of life. Existing in a drug induced state of being is not living. Though there are times and conditions which may warrant this state of being; it should not become the only option of care. This is a human being who deserves respect and care from those in their environment. A journal might be kept which includes name of drug, amount, for what reason it's being given, what form it's to be taken (pill, liquid, injection or inhaled), and how often. It is wise to set up a pill box to dispense these pills and reduce confusion because some pills look similar or alike. Pill boxes come with headings of morning, afternoon and night. Notes of times meds were issued makes it easier in knowing what was dispersed when. This also makes it easier for a relief person to know what has been done. Talk with your local pharmacist to help with ideas as to the best way to handle meds, especially if there are a number of them.