How Family Caregivers Can Find Local Resources and Assistance

Laura Herman, Dementia and Eldercare Professional
Added: 06.23.2022
8 minutes read
Throughout the nation, thousands of resources and programs exist to help older Americans and their caregivers – but finding them can be tricky! Many are limited to people in a certain area or who meet particular criteria. 

In this article, we look at some of the most helpful websites and organizations for finding local, state, and federal programs, resources, or services to help you help your loved one.

Whether you’re looking for…
  • Transportation programs
  • Resources for the hearing or vision impaired
  • Help to afford or prepare healthy food
  • Financial assistance programs for low-income older adults
  • Low-cost legal assistance
  • Tax relief programs
  • Respite services
  • Assistance with home repair
…or something else, chances are you’ll find what you need through one (or more) of these organizations.

The Eldercare Locator is a nationwide public service provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging. They’re one of the top go-to's for resource finding, with comprehensive coverage of a wide array of resources. You can also contact them via telephone for assistance, which can be nice for those who have difficulty using the internet.

The Eldercare Locator includes a vast array of resources under these umbrellas:
  • Support services
  • Housing
  • Elder rights
  • Insurance and Benefits 
  • Health
  • Transportation
  • Caregiving
Telephone: 1-800-677-1116

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are rich sources of information about local services and resources for seniors in your area. AAAs are designated by each state to address the needs and concerns of older adults in their assigned area and to help coordinate services to make it easier for adults to age in place at home. 

AAAs can connect you to resources such as:
  • Referral services
  • Transportation assistance
  • Care services
  • Food and nutrition services
  • Legal services
  • Insurance resources
Across the nation, there are hundreds of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Some AAAs serve a single city, while others cover one or more counties. Some are public agencies while others are privately run non-profits. Each may have its own specific name, but they’re required to identify themselves as an “area agency on aging” so it’s easy to identify yours.
To find your local AAA, you can:

  • Search online for “Area Agency on Aging near me” 
  • Look in the yellow pages under “Area Agency on Aging”
  • Enter your zip code into the Eldercare Locator
  • Find it on AgingCare’s AAA Directory
Enter your zip code to find free and low-cost local services in a number of categories. The website’s included translator supports dozens of languages, and if you wish you can create a user profile to save programs to refer back to later.

Broad categories of support include:
  • Food 
  • Housing
  • Goods
  • Transit
  • Health
  • Money
  • Care
  • Education
  • Work
  • Legal
Each of these headings breaks down into a number of subcategories, so there’s a good chance that you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in their comprehensive database.
Enter your zip code into the National Council on Aging’s Benefit Checkup and answer a few simple questions to find which of their 2,500 benefit programs are available to you and your loved one. The site is available in both English and Spanish.

Their benefit programs include:
  • Medication coverage
  • Health insurance
  • Home care and health care assistance 
  • Cash income assistance
  • Food and nutrition
  • Housing, utilities, and home repair
  • Tax relief programs
  • Veterans programs
  • Employment and volunteer opportunities
  • Health insurance counseling to better understand your insurance
  • Services for hearing or vision loss
  • Respite care services
  • Pension assistance
  • Transportation programs
  • And more

The AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association worked together to create the Community Resource Finder, a database of aging-related service providers with a special focus on the needs of people living with dementia. It features filters to help refine searches based on helpful criteria, like languages spoken or forms of payment accepted. 
  • Programs and Events - Alzheimer’s Association
  • Programs and Events - AARP
  • Home care and home health care
  • Hospice providers
  • Referral agencies
  • Adult day programs
  • Elder law attorneys
  • Geriatric care managers
  • Transportation
  • Local senior housing options
  • Medical service providers

Senior Centers
Your local senior center can also offer helpful programs, resources, or activities for older adults. There are many thousands of senior centers across America. 

To find a senior center near you:
Employer-Based Caregiver Support Programs

If you’re one of the many family caregivers who also work for a company, talk to your employer to see if they offer any benefits for family caregivers. More and more companies are doing so. Common types of employer support include flexible scheduling, job sharing opportunities, flexible spending accounts, employee assistance programs, and paid or unpaid time off (sometimes through the federal Family Medical Leave Act). 

No-Cost Benefits Counseling

If you’d like to talk to a professional who can help you understand any public benefits available for your loved one it’s a good idea to start with your local Area Agency on Aging to see what's available in your area. In addition, you have some other options.

Medicaid Planners

Commission-based Medicaid Planners don’t charge clients for their services as they’re paid by commission when the client purchases a Medicaid-compliant annuity, a common strategy for achieving Medicaid eligibility

Commission-based Medicaid planners are very knowledgeable about Medicaid eligibility, but they aren’t right for everyone, since annuities aren’t always the best course of action. Still, it’s a good place to start gathering information at no charge. 

Find a Medicaid planner near you using the American Council on Aging’s Medicaid Planner finder.

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The SHIP program is a federal program that provides assistance and guidance to seniors in matters relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and Medigap (Medicare supplemental insurance). It’s available in every state. 

Find local SHIP assistance through their website.

Veterans Benefits Advisors

Caregiver Support Program Coordinators can help caregivers of veterans find and enroll in the right programs and services to support their loved ones. Connect with yours at your local VA Medical Center

You Have to Find Resources in Order to Benefit from Them

There are many resources available for your loved one through a variety of sources, but there isn’t one single, simple way to find them – although many of the organizations featured here endeavor to create just that. 

By compiling these resource-finders here, we hope to make it easier for you to find and access the range of benefits and resources you need to support your aging loved one.