A MetLife study on caring for aging parents, as cited in U. S. News and World Report, showed that over the last 15 years, the numbers of people caring for aging parents has soared. Improved healthcare treatments allow people to live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life than in years’ past. The toll of caring for an elderly parent or loved one causes stress on the caregivers. From respite care to full-time nursing care, Pittsburgh caregivers can access different kinds of programs according to their loved ones’ needs.
Get the best first look at available help and services for senior caregiving with the Senior Citizen’s Guide. It’s a comprehensive guide for caregivers that contains local information that spans services from respite to nursing care. Use the helpful guide to find senior services, housing, health services, and local senior activities. Read articles about senior care and senior care management in the guides, or find them by searching the online archives. Find services by category or search through the comprehensive listing. The guide can be accessed online or by ordering a hard copy.
Regardless of whether seniors are able to live on their own, many can no longer drive and need transportation to errands and appointments. One of the ways that caregivers can get some respite from full-time caregiving is to use senior transportation services. Pittsburgh offers the following transportation services for seniors:
Access 65 PLUS- A door-to-door, advance reservation, shared ride, transportation service provided throughout Allegheny County.
Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP)- Senior transportation provided by DHS that provides transportation to medical appointments for Medical Assistance recipients who do not have access to transportation.
Older Persons Transportation (OPT)- Door-to-door transportation for errands and medical appointments at a minimal cost.
PAT Senior ID Card (Port Authority Transit)- Provides adult day services, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and transit to senior centers. Must be approved by DHS.
Caregivers may be able to provide care during some parts of the day or night and not others. Some seniors can take care of most of their needs, but they may need some assistance and supervision. Contracting with an in-home caregiving service may be a fit for either of those circumstances. In-home care services in Pittsburgh include:
Country Meadows at Home- offers non-medical care from a few hours daily to around-the-clock care. Country Meadows offers companion and homemaker services, personal care and transportation, restorative care, and medication management. Country Meadows was named one of the “2015 Best Places to Work.”
Interim Healthcare- offers home and hospice care. Interim Healthcare also offers articles and education on consumer caregiving. Contact them to receive a free Senior Care Decision Guide and sign-up for their newsletter.
Individuals who offer personal caregiving often start out with an enthusiastic plan surrounding how to balance their home and work lives, while dedicating themselves to senior care. Enthusiasm can quickly turn into overwhelm once the duties begin, leaving little time to research other services and programs that can offer help and respite. Geriatric case managers or case management organizations can be helpful in connecting the dots between public and private programs for any level of care. Essentially these are organizational experts or lay advocates who are knowledgeable experts in the federal, state, and local service planning. They are people with seasoned expertise in forming a customized caregiving plan that adequately meets the needs of the senior and caregiver.
Another geriatric care management organization is Life Pittsburgh. Life Pittsburgh offers services that help caregivers manage one or more needs including medical care, physical care, companionship, transportation, medications, meals, social work, and activities. Rather than looking for help in multiple places, Life Pittsburgh does all the coordinating for you.
When you choose to hire a service to care for a senior, it’s a good idea to interview the organization or the person who will be doing the caregiving. Review the website of the organization and look for independent reviews from others who have used that service. Whenever possible, get acquainted with the caregivers from the service and meet them in person. Request references from others who have used the service. Call the references to get answers to your questions and to gain insight about the facility or service. Spend some time with professionals from a new service, especially in the beginning, until you gain trust in the level of care. Check on the senior periodically to make sure they are safe and that their needs are being met as agreed upon with the service provider.
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