Home and Community Options
There are many services that can be brought to your home or that are available nearby in your community. Following are some general descriptions of some of the most common home and community-based services.
Adult Day Services
Adult day services programs can provide health, nutritional, and social services for persons with physical or cognitive needs. Some of these programs provide specialized care (for example, for memory loss), and some also provide health monitoring and medication administration. For more information on how to locate and choose a quality adult day services provider, see How to Choose and Adult Day Center.
Caregiver Support Services
Those who are caring for a loved one may find caregiver support services to be helpful. Caregiver support services can include education, training, assistance in finding appropriate services, counseling, support groups and more. These services may be available through local faith-based organizations, social services agencies, or disease organizations like the Alzheimer's Association. You can find more information about caregiving at www.wilder.org/Programs-Services/Older-Adult-Services/Caregiver-Resource-Center/Pages/default.aspx.
Case Management Services
For those who need help in assessing a loved one's needs and arranging services to meet those needs, geriatric case managers can help. Your local social service agency may provide this service, or you can contact the National Association of Geriatric Case Managers at http://www.caremanager.org/ for help. Persons who are receiving various types of public assistance will have a case manager through their county or health plan.
Some non-profit groups offer chore services to help with lawn mowing, snow shoveling, cleaning gutters, minor home repairs, and other chores around the house and yard. These services can also be hired through local contractors, such as a commercial lawn care/snow removal business. For major home repairs (such as roofing, plumbing, or electrical repairs), contact local contractors to obtain bids. Ask family members, friends, or neighbors to recommend a contractor who does quality work.
Financial and Paperwork Assistance
If you need help in paying bills, you may be able to get assistance from your local bank or a social service agency. Social service agencies may be able to help with insurance forms and claims and other paperwork. Volunteer groups are often available to help with income tax filings.
Home care services can be provided to you in your private home or apartment or in senior housing. Home care services can include a wide array of services, such as assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, transfer and other personal cares, help with medications, therapy services, skilled nursing services. Other services may include supportive services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry and shopping. Some home care agencies specialize and provide complex services such as wound care.
The Minnesota Department of Health licenses agencies that provide home care services. Many home care services are provided by unlicensed employees who work under the supervision and direction of licensed health care professionals--Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and other types of therapists.
Medicare-certified Home Health Agencies are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health and also meet the requirements of the Medicare program. These agencies can provide a variety of home care services and are able to bill Medicare for Medicare-eligible home care services. Other licensed home care agencies that are not Medicare-certified are able to provide the services permitted by their license. These non-Medicare home care providers can provide services for people who pay out of their own pocket, and some are also able to provide services under the Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program.
It is important to use a licensed home care agency for your health-related services. Minnesota's licensing requirements include background checks for staff and training requirements so that staff providing your services will be qualified to do so. These agencies are also required to give you a copy of you Home Care Bill of Rights and to comply with these rights and with the state's other licensing requirements.
To find a licensed provider in your area, you can search for one in your city or county on the Minnesota Department of Health provider directory at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/directory/fpcdir.html. You can also get referrals from your physician or clinic, your local nursing home or hospital, your county human services department or public health agency.
You can also search for a home care provider through the Minnesota HomeCare Association.
Homemaking or Cleaning Services
Many companies and individuals offer housekeeping and cleaning services and some agencies will also do laundry, prepare meals and do shopping or errands. Many of these service providers must be registered or licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health.
Hospice Services are available through licensed agencies and include a variety of end-of life services, including comfort care using medications and therapies to relieve pain and symptoms. Other services include emotional and spiritual support, counseling, education and assistance with needed equipment. More information is available from the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care at http://mnhpc.org/.
Nutrition and Meal Programs
Various kinds of food assistance are available in most communities, including congregate meals at senior centers or other locations and meals delivered to your home by volunteers. People with limited incomes can also receive assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More information on SNAP is found at www.fns.usda.gov/snap.
Palliative Care Services
Palliative Care Services relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for people of any age facing pain, symptoms and stresses of a serious, chronic illness. Palliative care services can include pain relief, help in making decisions about health care or in coordinating these services as well as emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families. Palliative care can be provided by palliative care consult teams in hospitals or in outpatient palliative care clinic as well as by some home care agencies and care centers. More information is available from the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care at http://mnhpc.org/.
Parish or Block Nursing Programs
Some faith communities offer parish nursing programs, and in other communities there may be a Living at Home/block nursing program. These programs generally offer education, information and referral assistance, friendly visiting and other types of support. If home care or other services are needed, these programs will generally refer the person to a licensed home care agency or other service provider.
When family caregivers need some time away, respite care for a few hours or a few days or longer can be a help. In-home respite care provides temporary care or supervision of a person needing assistance in the home so that family caregivers can do errands or take some personal time off. In-home respite care can be provided by licensed home care agencies, and is sometimes available from non-profit or faith-based organizations. Out-of-home Respite Care may be offered by an adult day care center, adult foster care home, housing with services or assisted living program, or care center.
Safety and Monitoring Technology
Personal emergency response devices worn on the wrist or around the neck have been around for a long time, and now other types of technology are being used to help persons with physical or cognitive disabilities live safely in their homes and have a better quality of life. Both in senior housing and in private homes, motion detectors and various types of sensors are being used to enable a family member or health care provider to monitor the person's status. Clinics are beginning to use telemedicine to monitor the health of people with chronic and complex health care issues. And even simple cameras connected to computer monitors can help family members stay in touch with distant loved ones. All homes should have working smoke/fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and some people may want the additional protection offered by home security companies. More information about the exciting technology that is being developed to support disabled persons and older adults is found at http://www.leadingage.org/CAST.aspx.
Transportation options vary from community to community. In addition to public transportation, there may be "door to door" buses operated by local non-profit groups. Private services, including taxis and medical transportation, may also be available in your community. Some senior centers, adult day programs or social service agencies offer transportation.
Assistance in paying heat, electrical or telephone bills may be available in your community through your county, your utility company or a local social service agency.
If you need any of these services and don't know where to find them, or if you aren't sure what services might be available to meet your needs, call Senior LinkAge Line® at 1.800.333.2433.