What follows are online resources that may be of use to the elderly and their adult children or other caregivers. The list is both long and likely incomplete. We welcome suggestions, additions and even subtractions.
- Medicare.gov. An all-purpose site with interactive tools for planning and paying for long-term care and choosing among drug plans. Includes searchable inspection results, good and bad, for the all the nation’s skilled nursing facilities.
- NIHSeniorHealth.gov. A collaboration of the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine that provides authoritative information on all diseases and disorders of old age. Each section is available in both large-type and audio versions.
- National Institute on Aging. Describes ongoing research on aging and lists clinical trials seeking participants.
- U.S. Administration on Aging. Brief fact sheets on aging and links to outside resources for an assortment of caregiving issues, including financial planning, residential options, in-home services, case management and the law.
- CarePlanner. Free worksheets help users to create a care plan, keep track of medications and expenses, and plan home modifications.
- Govbenefits.gov. A tool to help determine benefit eligibility for a variety of government programs.
Housing and Services
- American Association of Home and Services for the Aging. Consumer information on senior housing from an association of non-profit nursing homes, assisted living centers, continuing care retirement communities, adult day care centers and the like.
- Assisted Living Federation of America. Among other resources, offers a database of assisted living facilities searchable by location or parent company.
- National Center for Assisted Living. Provides a more elaborate “facility finder” that factors in cost, method of payment, mobility, dietary needs, activities and amenities.
- SNAPforSeniors. Offers a searchable housing locator with 60,000 listings, including facilities for assisted living, residential care, nursing care and rehabilitation, continuing care retirement and independent living. (Disclosure: A New Old Age partner.)
- National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Search for a geriatric care manager by location.
- Visiting Nurse Associations of America. Search for home health services nationwide. Includes suggested questions to ask service providers.
- Homemods.org. Advice on home renovation from the University of Southern California.
- HealthGrades. Comparisons and one-to-five-star ranking of nursing homes, for $9.95 for the first report and $2.95 for each additional one.
- UCompareHealthCare. Free search by location for nursing homes, plus data on quality, staffing and outcomes from government sources. (Disclosure: Owned by The New York Times Co.)
- Getcare.com. A sleek, three-step process to assess long-term care options, learn about each type, and then search by location for a variety of services, including Alzheimer’s day care, grief support or respite for a caregiver.
- TheSeniorGuide.com. Search by state and region for all types of senior housing, case managers, lawyers and more. Includes a glossary of industry jargon.
- National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). A not-for-profit, professional association dedicated to assisting older adults with the physical and emotional demands of downsizing, relocating, or modifying their homes.
- CareScout. Charges $499 to help users select housing options and services for the elderly who can pay their own way and are not reliant on Medicare or Medicaid.
- A Place for Mom
- Family Caregiver Alliance. Offers tips on a wide range of topics, including how to hire help, hold a family meeting, balance work and caregiving, find important papers, and decide whether parents should move in with an adult child.
- National Alliance for Caregiving. Reviews of more than 1,000 books, videos, Web sites and links.
- National Family Caregivers Association. Provides statistics, research and policy reports, tip sheets, first-person accounts, a newsletter and an exhaustive resource list.
- Family Caregiving 101. A separate “how-to” site by the NFCA with advice on time management, asking for help, navigating the health care maze and communicating with insurance companies and hospitals.
- MetLife Mature Market Institute. Reports from a research arm of the insurance company on the price of assisted living, the strains of long-distance caregiving, and the cost to employers of baby boomer employees involved in eldercare.
- Strength for Caring. A site for family caregivers from Johnson and Johnson with original articles written by experts and how-to materials.
- The Alzheimer’s Association.
Legal and Financial
- BenefitsCheckUp. A search tool developed by the National Council on Aging to determine eligibility for 1,300 benefit programs that help pay for medications, health care, utilities and so forth.
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Search by location for members of the association. Provides questions to ask lawyers about qualifications and areas of expertise, and a wide-ranging resource list for the elderly.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Free fact sheets and shoppers’ guides for long-term care insurance, annuities and Medigap policies.
- Insurance Information Institute.
- Reverse.org. A consumer’s guide to reverse mortgages from a non-profit with no ties to the industry. Links to the AARP’s calculator for choosing such policies.
- ReverseMortgage.org. Similar calculator and search tool to find local lenders, with links to their Web sites.
- Nolo. Do-it-yourself legal advice. Wills, powers of attorney and other documents.
- Senior Law Home Page. Advice from a New York law firm on the legal and financial issues facing the elderly. state forms for powers of attorney, health care proxies and living wills.
- U.S. Living Will Registry. Free state-by-state forms.
- American Bar Association Aging Tool Kit. Offers a 10-step process for making end-of-life decisions with worksheets, suggestions and links.
End of Life
- The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. An excellent search tool for finding a hospice, as well as guides on issues related to palliative care, including Medicare coverage and techniques for communicating end-of-life wishes.
- Caring Connections. Contains of the consumer information from NHPCO and has state-by-state advance directive forms.
- Compassion and Choices.
- Hospice Foundation of America. Information on end-of-life issues, such as pain management. One section called “Caregivers Corner” has links, reading lists and a self-assessment tool for caregivers to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Elderweb. An eccentric site that includes the history of long-term care policy in America, census maps that show the concentration of people 60 and over, book reviews, updates on state laws affecting the elderly, and a dictionary of eldercare jargon.
- Eldercare Online. This site has a home-made look and is difficult to navigate, but includes a wealth of original and imported information.
- Caring.com. An all-in-one site with advice on caregiving, long-term care, talking with elders and insurance issues.
- National Care Planning Council. A work in progress from a couple who “didn’t have a life for five years” while caring for four elderly parents. Now a membership organization advocating for long-term care.
- Third Age. Articles, expert interviews, quizzes and discussion boards for caregivers.
- Elder Issues. Some interesting articles on caregiving. Primarily the site for a company marketing online medical records for elderly persons.
- Aging Parents and Eldercare. A commercial site with free access to same checklists, worksheets and on-line assessment tools found elsewhere. For sale are products like wheelchairs and incontinence supplies.
- KaiserEdu. An educational site from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Includes a variety of slide tutorials and podcasts on financial and policy issues related to long-term care.
- AARP. Political position papers, member discounts, demographic research, online versions of its bulletin, and magazine and consumer advice.
- Center for Medicare Advocacy. Detailed information about what Medicare covers, and how to enroll and, if necessary, appeal denial of claims.
- Medicare Rights Center. A similar tutorial on how this government health care program for the elderly works. A link to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Medicare 101” and a hotline for questions and complaints.
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Articles on caregiving, policy reports, and links to eldercare service agencies.
- Children of Aging Parents. Support groups, both online and face-to-face. Newsletter focuses on interpersonal matters like stress among siblings, caregiver depression and getting through the holidays.
- Caring Today’s blogs
- Minding Our Elders
- Our Alzheimer’s
- Aging Care
- Aging Parents Insights
- Time Goes By
- 3GenFamily Blog
- My Elder Advocate
- Alzheimer’s Reading Room
By Jane Gross