Local Resources in Coos County

Most of us have little experience with elder care until a parent becomes suddenly ill or in need of help. It may start with an unexpected event (a fall or hospitalization). Then, over time, your loved one needs more and more help.

The good news is that there are people who specialize in elder care, from the legal side to the medical and everything in between. They can serve as great local resources to help you get a sense of what to expect and the best way to address whatever issue you are facing. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel!

Below are local services offering support to caregiving families. For more assistance, give us a call at 603-752-7505, or toll-free in New Hampshire 1-800-559-7505.

Elder Law Attorneys

“Elder law” is a special branch of the law that has to do with issues of special concern for older adults. People consult an elder law attorney when they are setting up a living trust. Or when they are creating a will. Elder law attorneys can also help in situations where families are worried that an older relative may no longer be safe living alone at home. Or if they have concerns about a loved one’s ability to handle finances wisely. Elder law attorneys can also advise you about financial options, tax matters and Medicare coverage for long-term care.

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Financial Planners

Especially as retirement looms and income earning years draw to a close, it’s important to have a nest egg. Financial planners can help you manage your loved ones assets. They can also help you determine your own retirement needs and set savings goals while investing your money in a manner that matches your personal style. (Some people are said to have a high risk-tolerance. This means they tend to be more willing to take chances with their money on the possibility that they can earn more interest. Others have low risk-tolerance, meaning they would prefer security and a more predictable rate of growth.) Whatever your investment style, a financial planner can work within your comfort level to help you achieve your monetary goals.

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Care Managers

These professionals understand the process of aging. Plus they know the many physical, emotional and financial pressures that families come under when caring for an older relative. It’s difficult to be objective when a loved one is having problems. Adult siblings frequently disagree about the severity of the issues. And they often have different ideas about the best way to handle the situation. A geriatric care manager provides perspective. He or she can do an assessment and give you and your family a sense of any threats to independence. The geriatric care manager can then recommend home modifications. Or, he or she can direct you to community services, or alternate living arrangements. The goal is to suggest workable options that will support your relative’s current and future needs. Because this type of help is non-medical, it is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

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Home Health Care (medical)

Home health care is a program that allows patients who cannot leave home easily to receive periodic visits from a nurse or other medical specialist. Often this is when someone is recovering from a surgery. But it can also involve management of an illness that needs periodic medical attention. The care might include a nurse overseeing the healing of a wound. Or it could be a physical therapist coming out to help with exercises after a hip replacement. This type of care is called “Home Health Care” because it is medical in nature. It differs from in-home care, which involves non-medical help. Because home health involves medical specialists, it may be paid for, in part or in whole, by Medicare.

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Hospice and Palliative Care

If the person you care for has a serious, life-threatening illness, he or she might start to think more about the quality of his or her days, rather than the quantity. This is especially true if treatments are difficult and offer only a slim chance of recovery.

For those with incurable conditions, whose focus is to remain comfortable and pain free, hospice is a wonderful option. It is available at no cost to persons on Medicare. A nurse makes regular home visits. A home health aide comes several times a week to help with bathing. And the services of a chaplain and social worker are available for spiritual, emotional and social support. A volunteer can even come for a few hours a week to give the family caregiver some time off.

People often think that hospice is only for the last few days of a person’s life. Not true! It is available for weeks and months. Most families say they wish they had signed on to hospice sooner. Palliative care is similar to hospice, but is available even while a person continues to seek curative treatment. Ask you doctor if hospice or palliative care services are appropriate support for your family member.

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In-Home Care (non-medical)

In-home care is for individuals who need assistance with personal tasks. These are non-medical in nature, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, or going to the bathroom. Kind and knowledgeable caregivers can provide much needed assistance and companionship so your loved one can stay comfortably and safely at home. Because this type of help is non-medical, it is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

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