Resources for seniors vary a great deal, based on the need of the individual. Fortunately, there is a strong network of local, state, and federal agencies, intent on providing helpful senior services or, at the very least, directing you to another resource or agency. Learn more about some of the most popular organizations.
National Resources for Seniors
Aging and General Topics
- The U.S. Administration on Aging has a website that provides a thorough overview of senior issues and government agencies of assistance.
- National Council on Aging is another good site to bookmark. Its "Benefits Access" section provides resources for seniors to pay bills, decipher Medicare D plans, and other help.
- AARP, once known as the American Association for Retired Persons, is the recognized leader in senior advocacy.
- 60 Plus is a multi-mission advocacy group, with an interest in maintaining medical care for seniors and social security.
- Gray Panthers is for those seniors who don't mind a little more aggressive action with their advocacy. Founded in 1970 by Maggie Kuhn, the organization continues to be a vital watchdog for seniors' rights.
National Family Caregiver Support Program offers a wealth of information to both family caregivers and senior care professionals. The site includes numerous fact sheets, study results, and more.
With the increased use of computers in society, the number of elderly people who have become victims of telemarketing frauds and other financial crimes has increased significantly. The Triad program joins senior citizens with law enforcement to reduce crime.
Common Disease Information
Certain diseases are more common in the elderly population like Alzheimer's and dementias; these organizations list information about the condition as well as support for caregivers and doctors who treat the condition. The sites may also have information about clinical trials too.
Doctor and Dentists Directory
MedlinePlus is a website designed by the National Institutes of Health and the National Libraries of Medicine to provide comprehensive location assistance for qualified doctors and dentists. You can even search for a specialist in a particular field or condition and corresponding hospitals and clinics. The site is also an extensive guide to medical conditions and research information.
Elder Care Locator helps caregivers and loved ones uncover more resources for seniors, especially those designed specifically to assist in elder care.
Federal Citizen Information Center provides detailed information on the importance of writing a will and other estate-related issues. This site also demystifies the funeral process so that consumers can make the right choices.
Health Care and Income
Medicare Online streamlines information regarding drug purchases and has a calculator for estimating costs.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development lists a variety of options for in-home care assistance, home repair assistance, reverse mortgages, senior apartments, homes for the elderly, and neighborhood networks.
National Senior Citizens Law Center is one of the best resources for seniors regarding the law and legal issues. The site has extensive consumer information to help avoid identity theft, scams, elder abuse, as well as a clear guide to seniors' rights.
Senior Corps matches a senior's skills and desires to needy non-profits, community centers, and individuals. A brainchild of President John F. Kennedy, this organization trains seniors age 55 and over to become mentors, companions, and coaches.
State Resources for Seniors
Most states have a division of elder affairs, which is usually found in the phone book. Here are some other comprehensive listings.
State and Local Consumer Protection Agencies
Consumer protection agencies mediate complaints and conduct investigations of complaints by consumers. This is a listing of these agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provides information on end-of-life issues and a state-by-state hospice locator.
Nursing Home Advocates
Long Term Care Ombudsman is the watchdog of nursing homes. This site makes it easy to contact your state's ombudsman.
American Public Human Services Association provides a list of social service agencies. Most link back to the state's human services department, but some include additional information for topic-specific agencies such as Medicare, rehabilitation, and temporary assistance.
Local Assistance Agencies
Some assistance agencies are very well known, but not available in all areas.
For example, a meal service agency such as Meals on Wheels, which provides hot meals to those in need because of income or disability, is as popular to meal assistance as Kleenex is to tissue.
However, without the proper funding and staffing, that particular program may not be available in certain areas, but a church, senior center, or other assistance agency may run a similar service.
Most communities of the U.S. also have a 211 response center for human services. Currently 41 states in the U.S. have 211 active as a resource for approximately 196 million people. Canada and Puerto Rico have this service in some areas as well.
Simply dial 211 to receive information on a number of different services, including local food banks, adult day care, medical information, and more.
Caring for Seniors
Taking care or helping take care of an elderly person can be challenging but it is important to remember that there are resources to help. While these links are good starting places, often the best guides to resources for seniors in your community are your doctor, the local hospital, a church, or a senior center.