When older adults and their families need to make decisions about long term care, care coordination services are available to assist them in making informed choices.

Care Coordination Services provided by "care coordinators" help older adults and caregivers determine what their specific needs are and what services are available to meet those needs. The care coordinator can discuss community-based services that are funded by the state and federal government and those that an individual can purchase with his or her own resources. Care coordinators are based in local agencies which are often referred to as "Care Coordination Units."

Through care coordination services, older adults in need of long term care will first meet with a care coordinator to discuss what kinds of daily activities they can do on their own, as well as those that require help. The care coordinator can then proceed to identify services that could help participants to continue living in their own home or community. For instance, older adults recovering from a stroke may need home delivered meals or transportation service – or they may need a Homecare Aide to help with medications, preparing meals and household chores. The care coordinator can help arrange these services in a "package" so that older adults can continue to live as independently as possible.

The care coordinator is key in terms of developing a plan of care and linking the older adult and family caregivers with other agencies that actually provide the care. The care coordinator periodically checks with the older adult and family to find out if any service changes are needed.

Care coordinators also perform pre-admission screenings of all persons age 60 and older seeking admission to a nursing facility. See Choices for Care.

Contact

To locate Care Coordination Services (Care Coordination Units) in your community,

To locate community services anywhere in the U.S., contact a national information and assistance service.