Locating formal services is often frustrating. Most persons aren't aware of aging services until a crisis develops. Advance planning, however, will decrease some of the stress involved in locating community resources. While gathering information about resources to address primary concerns, be aware of secondary ones. Securing information on secondary concerns now may prove extremely beneficial for handling future needs. Don't get discouraged if the community where your relative lives does not provide all the resources listed on the worksheet. Communities vary in the types of services they offer for older persons. Also, the name used for a particular service may vary Although these factors can cause confusion and aggravation, there are several effective methods for locating available services.

Talk with knowledgeable people Social workers, clergy, nurses, physicians and employee counselors may be able to refer you to appropriate services. Neighbors and friends who have used similar services can provide direction. The government section of your local telephone directory is filled with information. Some examples of headings include the city or county aging department, Social Security Administration, home care services, human services, mayor's or governor's office on aging. There may be personnel in these offices to offer information about other services. Other agencies which offer excellent information and referral services include the United Way, Family Services of America and religious social service organizations, such as Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities and Protestant Welfare Agencies.

Contact your State Area On Aging. They are required by law to offer information and referral services at no cost. The states are divided into smaller areas called Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). There are 670 AAA's. The State Units on Aging can refer you to the local AAA that covers the area where your relative lives. Your local AAA will the provide you with information on local community resources. The following two pages is a list of State Units on Aging.


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NIBack to the Long Distance Caregiving Index