December 2014
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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dear Margaret: Helping Parents Stay Independent

Dear Margaret,
My parents need some help in their home to remain independent. Where do I start?

Caring and Concerned

Dear Caring and Concerned,

That is a great question. There are several things to consider. First, what type of help could they use? For example, do they need help with daily personal care like bathing and dressing or with home making assistance like vacuuming and running errands? Another consideration is their financial situation. Can they pay for the help out of their income or savings? Thirdly, and most importantly, are they willing to accept help?

Now, let’s discuss each area in more detail. One can certainly get all types of in-home help. One category of in-home help is commonly referred to as companion care. This type of help is non-medical in nature and includes such things as companionship, light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, errands, shopping and assistance with personal care and hygiene. There are a number of agencies in the area that provide companion care. The cost averages about $20 per hour. This leads to the discussion about finances. There are a few ways to pay for in-home help including income or savings, long-term care insurance policies or through long-term care Medicaid. Finally, is your loved one willing to accept the care? As mentioned, this really should be the first question. Your parents may have very different ideas of what they think they need versus what the family thinks. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

Of course, there are many other possible scenarios than what is discussed above. Luckily, there is somewhere you can call to discuss options for your particular situation. That place is the Larimer County ARCH program. ARCH stands for Adult Resources for Care and Help. One goal of the program is to help people understand options when considering long term support services for themselves or for friends and family. The ARCH resource specialist can be reached at (970) 498-7757, Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.

If you need more general information, the Office on Aging Resource Guide is a good place to start. In the guide is a list of companion care agencies along with much more.  This guide can be mailed to you by calling (970) 498-7751. Finally, there is a good Web site with in-depth information on long term care including how to plan, information on how to pay, and costs and types of care available. That Web site is

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