Article Series

Learning About Senior Services

Written by Staff

In the process of creating the local Internet Directories of we had to analyze types of senior services and decide how to best organize them so that consumers could learn about the variety of senior services available. We settled on organizing our books and local Internet Directories with the main categories shown below. We hope you find this information useful.

After reviewing these topics you can search our local Internet Directories from this central link:

Senior Housing

Deciding where to live as one ages presents new challenges for many seniors. Anticipating and planning for this stage of life is difficult because how well we will age and how long we will live is unpredictable. Average life expectancy is lengthening, increasing the potential for chronic health conditions that may threaten independence. The most important factors for evaluating housing options is becoming familiar with the variety of senior housing choices and the health and mobility criteria for living in these various types of senior housing levels. Another important factor to consider is that many senior housing locations have waiting lists; starting your search early before the actual need arises is very helpful. You can often put your name or a loved one's name on a waiting list to plan ahead and hopefully avoid a crisis.

Continuum of Care
Continuum of care retirement communities offer several care levels at one location, from retirement housing through assisted living and skilled nursing. As your health needs change, you can move through the levels of care without relocating.

Retirement Communities
Retirement communities offer apartment living on a rental basis. Communal dining and a full range of activities are available. Housekeeping, laundry, and assisted living services are sometimes available.

Assisted Living
Assisted living facilities offer an independent environment with 24-hour personal assistance. Several options are available: freestanding large facilities, personal care boarding homes, or continuum of care facilities. Services usually include communal meals, housekeeping, social activities, and assistance based on personal needs.

Skilled Nursing
Skilled nursing facilities are licensed to provide 24-hour medical services by registered nurses and other professionals for the chronically ill not requiring hospitalization. This is the highest level of nursing care available outside of hospitalization.

Active Independent Living
Active independent living communities refers to retirement communities designed for active seniors. These communities usually feature low-maintenance apartments, condominiums, town homes, or ranch-style residences. Communities may be designed around recreational activities such as golf, swimming, boating, or fitness. Amenities vary between communities and may have age restriction covenants.

Alzheimer's Assisted Living
Alzheimer's assisted living provides 24-hour assistance with dressing, bathing, meals, medication monitoring, and transfer assistance. These large and small facilities have secure areas both inside and outside where residents are free to move about.

Alzheimer's Skilled Nursing
Alzheimer's skilled nursing provides long-term, 24-hour nursing care. This is the highest level of nursing care available outside of hospitalization. Some facilities accept only "non-wandering" Alzheimer's patients.

Subsidized housing
Subsidized housing is federally funded housing that provides low-income individuals and families the opportunity to rent safe, decent and affordable privately owned rental housing by supplementing what they could afford on their own. The rent is reduced based on a person's income. Examples include: housing authority offices where applications are processed, low-income senior apartments, section 8 housing, HUD housing, etc.

Health at Home

Health at Home includes products and services that are available to seniors in their homes. These services make living at home easier and are a practical alternative for seniors who have reached a health or mobility level requiring help. Many seniors do not want to leave their homes; this is where you will find information to help them remain in place.

Diabetic Supplies
Diabetic Supplies are products, equipment, or resources needed for the care of diabetes, including test strips, glucometer, lancets, etc.

Emergency Response Systems
Emergency response systems provide security to seniors by connecting them at any time to those who can assist them. Systems include personal medical alert products and home alarm systems activated by pushing a button.

Home Health Agencies
Home health agencies provide healthcare professionals for in-home support services from one to twenty-four hours a day. These professionals include nurses, home health aides, homemakers, therapists, and medical social workers. Reimbursement can be from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

In-Home Care and Companions
In-home care and companion care is support by a caregiver or sitter in a client's home or senior housing community in order to provide companionship or assistance with personal care or errands.

Medical Equipment
Medical equipment companies offer a wide variety of medical equipment and supplies. Products can include oxygen and respiratory equipment, wheelchairs, and diabetic supplies. Many companies can directly bill Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

Mobility Equipment
Mobility Equipment are products that individuals use to maintain their mobility and independence. Products include traditional wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, walkers and electric scooters. Many companies may bill Medicare or other insurance for products needed by the consumer.

Personalized Visitations
Personalized Visitation services provide companionship to an older adult at home or in a senior housing community; these visits do not address any personal care needs.

Products designed especially for seniors and caregivers, and offer functional solutions that make chores of daily life easier. Products are available for different disabilities and assist with dressing, bathing, eating, walking, and many other daily activities.

Telephone Reassurance
Telephone Reassurance is regular, pre-scheduled calls to individuals who live alone as a routine safety check and to reduce loneliness.

Care Management

Care Management is one of the most important and valuable categories for seniors and their families to be familiar with. Care Managers can assist seniors and their families by providing assistance and guidance in selecting and coordinating senior housing options, long-term care, in-home care, and other related services as the senior's needs change during the aging process. Care Managers include professionals that begin with a needs assessment, creating an individualized care plan for the particular senior. A Life Care Planner will be able to provide a more thorough evaluation of the financial situation of the senior in regard to the anticipated costs of the care being recommended. Professionals in this field are sometimes referred to as a Case Manager or a Counselor. Some of these professionals may have some type of geriatric accreditation. Companies or individuals may provide these services, and some care management companies are non-profit, charging on a sliding scale.

Care Management
Care management agencies and professional care managers can help evaluate, coordinate, or provide crisis intervention for seniors. They can assist seniors and their families by providing guidance in selecting and coordinating senior housing options, long-term care, in-home care and other related services. Many care managers can develop individualized care plan so the senior's needs can be met as they change during the aging process.

Housing Specialist
Housing specialist offers advice and referral services to senior housing communities; some are at no charge to the individual.

Referral and Caregiving Resources
Referral and caregiving resources includes private, government and non-profit agencies that provide resources, guidance and/or assistance in selecting and coordinating senior housing options and resources for in-home care.

Community Resources

Community resources are the public and private agencies providing local support to seniors and their families. You will find a wide variety of website resources and phone numbers for government agencies that assist seniors. This is an excellent section to browse and learn about senior resources and issues that may be useful.

Charitable Giving
Charitable Giving includes nonprofit organizations along with descriptions of the services they offer and suggestions of how individuals can help.

Consumer Affairs and Legal Aid
Consumer affairs and legal aid includes government and non-profit organizations that provide information that protects the rights of consumers.

County Health Departments
County health departments promote, protect and improve the health and wellness of the community, by maintaining good health and preventing problems that contribute to disease and injury.

Dating and Relationships
Dating and relationships includes resources and education, as well as, internet dating which allows people to provide information, then search for others, most allow photos.

Disability Programs
Disability programs originate at national, state and local levels and provide financial support, health care coverage, transportation and other support services to individuals with disabilities.

Government Agencies on Aging
Regional Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are local government agencies that provide information and resources to seniors and their families. These agencies offer a variety of information on community services, advocacy issues, and provide ombudsman service programs.

Elder Abuse
Elder abuse are government and non-profit agencies which advocate for and protect seniors from abuse in housing, financial matters, and physical harm.

Employment Resources
Employment opportunities are companies, volunteer, and community service organizations that employ seniors or other age groups and train them for various jobs.

Faith-Based Senior Groups
Faith-based senior groups are social, service or interest based groups who provide resources in a manner that reflects a commitment to religious beliefs or spiritual values.

Financial Assistance and Tax Credit Information
Financial assistance companies specialize in assisting seniors facing financial problems or in need of financial assistance.

Food Resources
Food resources provide groceries, meal at home programs or congregate meals for individuals facing a financial crisis or those with limited resources to meet their needs.

Government Resources and Services
Government resources and services are links to government organizations, such as Area Agencies on Aging, and other agencies serving the needs of older Americans.

Many libraries provide special services for seniors and those with physical impairments. Main libraries in your community will provide satellite library information.

Medicaid serves people with low incomes and resources, and is funded by the state and federal government, and is managed by the states.

Medicare, the nation's largest health insurance program, provides health insurance for Americans.

Pet Care
Pet services includes products and services for pets, pet shelters, low cost veterinary services and a source for finding pet companions for individuals.

Senior Centers and Services
Senior centers are gathering places for seniors who are still active and are seeking a place for planned activities, friendship, and planned programs. Lunches are usually served, and transportation may be available.

Senior Organizations and Services
Senior organizations are government, non-profit, and community organizations created to assist seniors in many areas of their lives.

Social Security
The Social Security Administration can be contacted through local and national offices.

Transportation includes routed public transportation, flexibly scheduled van service, taxi services, and medical transport vehicles. Vehicle Modification may also be found here.

Veteran Services
The Veterans Administration can be contacted through local and national offices that provide services to veterans.

Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer opportunities are available for older adults through non-profits, government and volunteer organizations.

Professional Services

Professional Services provide help with legal, financial, and end of life concerns to seniors and their families. The true importance of this area is the communication and resolution of issues that impact not only life, but death as well. Facing these issues while one is in good health and making a plan of action is so important for seniors and their families during the aging process.

Computer and Internet Services
Computer and Internet related companies that provide computers, computer training, and connections to the Internet. Some companies may have special programs and discounts available to seniors.

Elder Law
Elder law companies are legal firms that devote all or part of their practice to the legal rights and issues of seniors. Services can include power of attorney, guardianship, conservatorship, estate planning, and wills. This topic also includes companies that specialize in the preparation of Legal Documents. These companies do not have law degrees but they can prepare legal documents.

Estate Planning
Estate planning refers to the process of planning for an individual's assets; this generally requires involvement of an attorney or financial planner.

Fiduciary and Money Management Services
Fiduciary and money management services may include daily money manager, bill paying services, managing finances, and other similar services, but could also be a court appointed or other legal relationship dealing with financial matters such as guardian, conservatorship, personal agent, personal representative, trustee and power of attorney.

Financial Services
Financial service firms devote all or part of their practice to assisting seniors with their financial affairs. Services can include financial planning, insurance claims, bank reconciliation, bill payment, income tax preparation, and preparing medical insurance claims.

Funeral and Preplanning
Funeral and pre-planning businesses specialize in providing traditional funeral and cremation services. These companies may also provide advance directives and pre-planning funeral arrangements.

Home Modification
Home modifications services adapt living spaces to meet the needs of individuals with limitations in order to maintain or improve independence and safety.

House Cleaning Services
House cleaning services also known as maid service can be provided on a weekly or monthly schedule or arranged for one time large cleaning jobs.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance covers the financial risk of long-term care. This type of insurance helps pay for assisted living, nursing homes, home health care, or alternative care

Mediation Services
Mediation services utilizes a trained mediator to guide people through the process of negotiation with the goal of finding a mutually agreed upon resolution to a conflict or dispute.

Mobile Beauty Services
Mobile beauty service is salons or individuals that offer their services to clients in their home or in a senior housing community.

Move Management and Organizing Services
Move management and organizing services assist with moves from a larger home to an apartment or community and often handle personal details of a move.

Moving Services
Moving services include personalized services, packing and unpacking, general moving, storage and specialty shipping of antiques and valuables.

Real Estate Services
Real estate services include Realtors specializing in serving the senior housing and relocation market. They are familiar with the current real estate market and can offer assistance to seniors wishing to downsize and move to senior-oriented housing.

Remodeling and Home Repair Services
Remodeling and home repair services include sources for plumbing, roofing, tile work, HVAC, gutter cleaning and more.

Reverse Mortgages
Reverse mortgages are designed for adults 62 and over who own their own home and wish to access their home’s equity while retaining ownership. These programs are government insured and can provide tax-free cash on a monthly basis.

Health Services

These are local health care resources available to seniors. This category includes services such as adult day care programs, hospices, hospitals, associations for specific illnesses, HMOs and health insurance, hearing and dental resources, prescription assistance, rehabilitation facilities and other topics relating to health and wellness.

Adult Day Care Programs
Adult day care programs are for seniors needing a place to stay during the day because they have dementia or physical limitations and cannot be left alone. These programs provide purpose and stimulation through planned activities.

Health and Wellness
Alternative health services provide health care based on traditional oriental medicine. Services can include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, nutritional consultation, and massage therapy.

Associations for Specific Illnesses
Associations for specific illnesses are those organizations that perform advocacy roles and inform the public about latest research developments and can provide assistance for specific illnesses.

Counseling is a process of therapy and can be practiced in independent practice, community agencies, behavioral health care organizations, hospitals and in the home. Counselors are highly skilled professionals who provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment therapy.

Dental Resources and Services
Dental resources are private, government, and non-profit organizations providing dental services. Organizations and businesses listed range from private pay to senior dental assistance programs. Some mobile services offer dental hygiene care in the home.

Dialysis Services
Dialysis is used to clean individual's blood when one or both kidneys are defective or absent, and to remove excess accumulation of drugs or chemicals in the blood.

Hearing Resources and Services
Hearing resources are private, government, and non-profit organizations providing hearing services and resources to the hearing-impaired. Listings include contacts for hearing evaluations, hearing aids, referrals, and hearing societies.

HMOs and Health Insurance
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) offer senior oriented health coverage, but are only available in certain metropolitan areas. These managed care health plans are designed to supplement and enhance Medicare coverage.

Hospices provide individuals facing terminal illness with care at home or in a healthcare facility. The goal is to assist patients to live the last stage of their lives with dignity. Most hospices will accept Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, and private pay.

Hospitals are medical facilities for emergency, medical, and surgical care.

Mental Health Services
Mental health services includes services such as inpatient and outpatient counseling, as well as, information, resources and education on mental health.

Pharmacies provide prescription services to individuals and their families; many will help review prescriptions and compare costs.

Prescription Programs and Assistance
Prescription assistance resources are private, government, and non-profit agencies that offer lower cost prescriptions or financial help to pay for certain medications.

Rehabilitation Services
Rehabilitation facilities specialize in helping individuals recover from accidents, brain injuries, strokes, and other debilitating occurrences on both an in-house and outpatient basis.

Respite Care
Respite care provides a period of relief for those giving constant care to an ill person.

Senior Health Clinics and Physicians
Senior health centers and physicians provide checkups when you're well, treatment when you're sick, immunizations and prescription drugs.

Support Services
Support services are non-profit, for-profit and government organizations that provide support and associated services for specific illnesses and conditions.

Vision Resources and Services
Vision resources are private, government, and non-profit organizations providing help with vision disabilities. Resources can include vision evaluation, blind rehabilitation, talking book libraries, and advocacy groups.