In the best of times, many seniors need a helping hand. During hard times, the vulnerability of our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents and neighbors, becomes even more of an issue deserving our attention and care.
What we want to do here, make sure every senior has the ability to tap into the wide variety of programs designed to protect, feed, care for and support our cherished loved ones.
Government and Local Agencies
If you need help with regards to what financial, healthcare, caregiving, medication, transportation, food and housing benefits and/or assistance is available to you at a local level, we highly recommend you check out the following websites. They will either list what programs are available to you at the federal, state and local levels, or point you in the direction of a resource that you should call, explain your needs and they can further assist you.
- Benefits Check-up - The National Council on Aging (NCOA) lists many resources available to you at the Zip code level, based on your age, income and marital status. We gave it a try and it listed 81 resources available to us in our state! Fantastic resource.
- Area Agencies on Aging - Public or private non-profit agency designated by your state to address all needs of seniors at the state and local levels. Helps a lot with resources for seniors living on their own.
Food Banks & Assistance
Food security is not just a financial issue. If you're immobile or physically unable to cook, you'll still need help. Many of these programs are hyper local, so we can't list them all. Some have national umbrellas, which we'll try to list. We'll also list the types of organizations you can reach out to, to see what's available in your local area. These programs can cover everything from food banks, to food delivery, food kitchens and meal delivery. There is plenty of food to go around, and no one in America should go hungry.
- Feeding America - Network of over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries in all 50 states
- Salvation Army - Provides over 56 million meals annually through food pantries and meal programs
- Meals on Wheels - Delivers over 220 million meals to over 2.4 million seniors a year
- United Way - Check your local United Way chapter, as many offer meal and food programs
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Federal government program providing financial assistance for food
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program - Federal program of the USDA supplementing senior diets with nutritious USDA foods.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program - Provides food and nutrition help at no cost
Elder Rights Organizations
More than 1 in 10 seniors suffers from some sort of abuse or exploitation in any given year. If you believe you, or a parent or older family member is being financially, physically or verbally abused, neglected or exploited, it's imperative you do your best to protect them.
- 911 - If you witnessed a case of physical abuse and/or someones health or safety is at risk, call 911 immediately.
- Adult Protective Services - Many states have their own elder protective services. Here is a list of contacts for each state if you suspect elder abuse, want to report a case of elder abuse or want to have a case of elder abuse investigated.
- Carie - The Carie Line is a very helpful resource for senior or caregivers to call if they suspect abuse or neglect. The Carie line's advocates will help with resources available to address each situation.
Sometimes the biggest help is right next door. Local organizations, are often out of site and out of mind until we need them. When you do, you'll realize just what a gift they are. When looking for community organizations that can help with services, activities, socialization, exercise, learning, travel, care and so much more, call on some of your local resources as well. Here are just a few that might have a program for your needs in your area:
- Local church, synagogue, mosque or temple
- Local senior center, YMCA, YWCA
- Lions Club,
- Local community center or library
Family and Friends
The best support you may ever get, can only come from family and friends. While it takes a village to raise a child, it can also take a village to care for our elders. Family and friends can pitch in to visit, drop off meals, take parents to and from medical appointments, help with medications, and so much more.