What Do Senior Centers Offer?
Senior centers can be public or private, large or small, with many services or with just a few. Even those in small towns often provide:
- A range of fitness classes, including aerobics, weight strengthening, walk clubs, tai chi and yoga, and other exercise opportunities
- Health clinics
- Individual help with financial, legal, tax, and insurance problems
- Informational programs on health, legal, financial, and other issues
- Support and discussion groups
- Classes on art, crafts, and many other topics
- Social and recreational activities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Spirituality programs
- Congregate lunch programs and home-delivered meals
- Friendly visitor programs
- Medical transportation
- Care and case management
- Information and referral
- Counseling for elders and family caregivers
What Do Home Care Corporations Offer?
Home care corporations offer a wide variety of services. Like senior centers, they may be public or private. Many services are the same in all home care corporations because they are federally funded, while others may be special initiatives of an agency supported by state and local or private funds. Services may include:
- Case management of individual elders
- Information and referral to other elder services agencies
- Direct care such as chores, personal care, or homemaker services
- Protective services for abused elders
- Money management for those who are no longer able to handle finances
- Caregiver training and respite
- Community education
Other Services for Elders
A variety of services for elders and their caregivers have been created over the past several years. Among those that might be useful for your patients are:
- Social and medical day care centers which offer care and activities to elders who need supervision and socialization but who still live in the community.
- Private geriatric care managers who evaluate an individual's needs and arrange and monitor services for an hourly fee.
- Respite care, including both in-home care providers and short-term nursing home or assisted living stays, in order to give caregivers a rest.
- Private organizations or universities that offer travel and educational opportunities for seniors.
- Private membership organizations that offer many services similar to those provided by senior centers and home care corporations.
- Elder legal service providers who offer no or low-cost legal services on aging-related issues such as health benefits.
Although genetics plays an obvious role in longevity, the length and quality of life in later years can be influenced by lifestyle choices and healthy habits. Healthcare providers can support and encourage those behaviors that improve physical, mental, and spiritual well being. Providing resources; facilitating mobility, physical activity, good nutrition, social interaction and relationships; managing chronic illness; and encouraging mental stimulation can improve daily lives and add years to life expectancy.