The Holidays: Time To Check On Mom

Last Updated Nov 12, 2010 5:18 PM EST

In just a couple of weeks, families across the country will start gathering for the holidays. For those of us with older parents, it's a time to check in and make sure that Mom and Dad are okay. If you find your mother is more forgetful or your father isn't getting out enough, it may be time to step in and get them some help. The only problem is that most adult children don't know where to turn for assistance.

Fortunately, the Web can be a great resource for both seniors and their loved ones. Here are three websites that are chock full of advice and services that families can tap into:

1. BenefitsCheckUp
Afraid your Mom is missing out on important government benefits? Fortunately, there's a hassle-free way to found out. Just fill out a 20 to 30 minute questionnaire on BenefitsCheckup and the website will sort through the National Council on Aging's database, which includes federal, state and private programs. You never know, you just might discover that your mother qualifies for prescription drug or rent assistance.

2. Medicare.gov
Few things are as complicated as the Medicare system. So don't be surprised if your parent asks you for some help trying to navigate the insurance program and all of its choices. If you need a quick tutorial, go to Medicare.gov and you'll find a full explanation of how the program works, including some advice on what to do if a claim gets denied.

You'll find Medicare.gov is also useful as your parent ages and needs more assistance with daily living. The Nursing Home Compare and Home Health Compare tools help families locate and compare nursing homes and home health care agencies in their area.

3. National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
There are times when adult children need more than just a website. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager for more hands-on assistance. These professionals can do everything from evaluate a parent's long term care needs to coordinate a loved one's daily care. These professionals can be especially useful for adult children who live far from Mom and Dad and can't monitor them regularly. Check out the national association's website for more information and a directory of members.

Are you ready to care for your parents?

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
Thanksgiving Spread image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.
More on MoneyWatch:
College Savings Accounts: Where to Stash Grandma's Check
Talking to Your Parents: 6 Lines To Use
Kitchen Appliances: How Long Do They Last?
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  • Stacey Bradford

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