Everyone knows someone in Ahwatukee who is getting along in years and needs more help with daily living. Finding people and places to help can be as easy as the Internet, phone book or senior living magazines at the grocery store. Finding the right service for you or a loved one can be very complicated.

In order to make an educated choice it is best to take an objective evaluation of current needs and projected difficulties. There are several in-home care agencies with qualified hourly services in all categories. As needs for supervision increase, this hourly alternative can become very costly.

The choice to give up the family home or retirement condo can be one of the most difficult decisions of a lifetime, but with careful planning the transition can be made easier. Knowing what is available can be key to selecting the proper care for now and later. Without some prior knowledge of types of facilities, one can fall for the sales pitch of how adaptable they are to one's needs. Actually, there is a myriad of opportunities for care in different settings.

Independent Living Apartments can offer companionship of other active seniors with added security and amenities geared toward senior interests and social events.

Assisted Living Communities are similar and may even share the same campus, but offer a common dining room or activity center with more supervision and assistance. They may offer pay per service assistance in medication monitoring, personal grooming, housekeeping and laundry services.

Nursing Homes can be apartments or rooms with around-the-clock monitoring for medical conditions, physical and/or mental disabilities.

Residential Care Homes offer a more home-like setting where many seniors can enjoy aging in a place without having to move every time a change in status occurs. Residents can live in familiar surroundings and receive more individualized care suited to their personal wishes.

Arizona Department of Health Services offers listings of licensed care services. When searching for care or placement don't be afraid to ask questions. The more you know the better you will be able to choose the right situation for lasting satisfaction.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Loretta Hullinger, R.N., is owner and manager of Ahwatukee Senior Services Residential Care Home. Reach her at (480) 893-7985.

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