Elderly Assistance — 10 Tips to Find the Best


Elder Assistance

by Bob Kohut

If you are already looking for elderly assistance for a loved one or soon will be there are many options from which to choose.  Here are 10 tips which can help you find the best elderly assistance;

1. Assess your elder’s needs.

2. Determine the kind of assistance your elder will accept.

3. Educate yourself.

4. Educate your elder.

5. Check your “social network” for resources.

6. Visit your local senior citizens center.

7. Develop a list of outcomes you want from elderly assistance.

8. Interview potential providers/Visit residential living and senior day care centers.

9. Check references.

10. Stay involved in monitoring and evaluating your choice.

What Does Your Elder Need

The elderly assistance market is expanding at a rapid pace and services offered are not all created equal.  Before beginning any search you should first define precisely what are your senior's needs.  If he or she is in relatively good health finding assistance with medical issues may not be the most important thing to look for.  However, if your primary concern is poor nutrition due to your elder’s not taking the time to shop and cook, you’re looking for something quite different.  If your elder is disorganized and can’t keep up with paying bills and other financial and legal matters, you’re looking for yet another different kind of assistance.

What Kind of Assistance Will Your Elder Accept

It’s an inescapable fact that some elders simply do not want help.  Only you can assess the kind of assistance your elder will accept.  There is little point in looking for live-in help if your elder refuses it.  Check the Internet discussion forums on elderly assistance issues and you will find many frustrated adult children whose elderly parents have fired one live-in helper after another.  There are alternatives such as part time help and senior day care centers.


First you need to learn what kinds of elderly assistance are currently available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  The Internet is an excellent place to learn almost everything you need to know.

Second, involving your senior in the education process at some point is an excellent way to deal with potential resistance to accepting help.  Many seniors today are unaware of some of the research on health and aging which indicates seniors are staying healthier much longer.  Others who resist the idea of residential treatment centers don’t know there is a growing network of senior day care centers now available.

Your Social Network

It’s hard to imagine that within your social network of friends, neighbors, and community and business contacts there isn’t someone dealing with elderly assistance issues.  Talk to them to see what they are doing and how things are working.  This is a great source of recommendations for elderly assistance options.

Your Senior Citizens Center

There are community senior centers everywhere these days and they both provide a wide variety of elderly assistance services themselves as well as maintaining lists of resources in the area for additional assistance.

Develop a List of Desired Outcomes

As you get closer to the point of choosing options it is a good idea to sit down and write out specifically what you hope to accomplish with the assistance you are seeking.  This list can be used as an interviewing tool or a site visitation checklist when you begin to evaluate alternatives.

Interviews and Visits

You’ll want to interview in-home providers and visit residential and day care sites and community centers.  Involving your senior at this point is critical.  Preparing the groundwork through earlier involvement in sharing educational articles and reviewing choices will make this step much easier for your senior to accept.

Checking References

Talk to people who are using an in-home provider for their elders.  If you’re looking for residential or day care assistance, stop by during peak visiting times to talk to family members of the residents or day care attendees.

Monitor and Evaluate

Selecting elderly assistance options is only a beginning step in an ongoing process.  Needs and conditions change and you will want to stay involved to monitor and evaluate the situation and make changes as needed.