4 seniors: When you need help caring for an aging parent

4 Seniors
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Taking care of an aging parent can be physically and emotionally exhausting, but there are resources available to those who need them.

First, make a list of everything you do as a caregiver, note the amount of time it takes each day and identify the times when you need help the most. Then, list the types of care needed like companionship or active chores.

Caregiving Help: If you have siblings or loved ones nearby, scheduled a family meeting to discuss tasks they could provide. Also, see if friends or neighbors can help as well. Many communities offer a range of free or subsidized services that help seniors and caregivers with basic needs. Call your Area Agency on Aging (800-211-116) for referrals to services available nearby.

If you can afford it, you may want to hire someone part-time to help. Costs run anywhere from $12 to $25 an hour. To find someone, ask for referrals through your parent's doctor, area hospital discharge planners or try websites like Care.com or CareLinx.com. These sites charge you for the services.

Financial Aids: If you are handling your parent's financial chores, make things easier by arranging for direct deposit for their income sources and set up automatic payments for their routine bills. You may also want to set up your parent's online banking service so you can monitor the account anytime. If you need help, hire a daily money manager to do it for you. They charge between $25 and $100 per hour.

BenefitsCheckup.org is another excellent resource to look for financial assistance programs that may help parents, especially if they're low-income.

Technology Assistance: To help keep tabs on your loved one, medical alert systems like Bay Alarm Medical provide a wearable 'help button' that would allow them to call for help anytime they need it.

You can also install a video-monitoring camera like Nest  that can let you check on them anytime. There are also websites that can help you more easily coordinate with other family members.

Insurance Questions:

If you have questions about Medicare, Medicaid or long-term care, the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program offers free counseling and advice on those issues. Call 877-839-2675 or visit its website to locate a counselor.


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