We all would prefer to live in our own home or apartment, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Unfortunately, if a senior does not have family living in the area who can check in on them or help with transportation to doctors’ appointments or grocery stores, they may have difficulty living alone in the community. Living independently can be especially challenging for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Luckily there are numerous products and services that can help make independent living possible for many seniors.

  • Citizen Well Check Program – The Wake County Sheriff’s office offers a daily well-check phone call for senior citizens age 65 and up. The senior will receive a recorded call each day at 9 a.m. that instructs them to press 1 if they are okay. If the senior does not answer or press 1, two more attempts to reach them will be made. If they do not answer, the sheriff’s office will notify the person designated as their key contact, and if necessary, dispatch a deputy to check on them. Sign up by calling 984-289-1363.
  • The Program for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) provides home health care, transportation, medical care, adult day care, and other services to seniors who need skilled nursing care but want to remain in their home. Medicaid helps cover the cost of this program for seniors who meet the eligibility requirements. Several agencies provide PACE services in North Carolina. Find out more about the Wake County PACE program by clicking here.
  • Durable General Powers of Attorney. Seniors who need help remembering to pay their monthly bills on time or managing their finances can appoint a family member as their agent under a Durable General Power of Attorney. A family member living out of state could use this document to manage the finances through online banking or to hire and pay in-home caretakers for the senior. Signing a Durable Power of Attorney doesn’t take away the senior’s ability to keep managing their own finances, but gives the agent authority to step in and help as needed. Contact us at 919-863-4183 if you need help preparing a North Carolina Durable General Power of Attorney.
  • Meals on Wheels. Seniors age 60 and over in Wake County can apply to receive a free or low-cost daily hot meal delivered. The program is available to home-bound seniors or to seniors recently discharged from the hospital.
  • Dementia Clock/Calendar. Often people with dementia are confused about dates and time. This clock has a large easy-to-read electronic display showing the day of the week, the date, and the time. Multiple alarms can be programmed for each day to notify the senior about meal times and remind them to take medications or drink water.
  • Pill dispenser. Seniors who take multiple medications often struggle with remembering to take their pills on time or in the correct dosages. Weekly pill boxes can be helpful if a family member or caretaker is available to load the doses into the boxes and the if the senior is able to remember to take them at the appropriate time. Alarms can be set on the dementia clock mentioned above to help remind the senior that it’s time to take their medications. Seniors that have multiple medications and who suffer from dementia may benefit from a Hero Pill Dispenser or a Medacube device that allows a caretaker to insert a 90-day supplies of multiple medications that are dispensed at the appropriate times. If the senior does not take the medication as scheduled, the device can alert a family member or caretaker. The devices are not inexpensive, but the cost is considerably less than the alternative of residing in an assisted living facility or paying home health aides to come several times a day to administer medications.

Amanda Spence has been practicing Elder Law and Estate Planning in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1995. She works with clients in Wake, Johnston, Harnett and other counties throughout North Carolina. To schedule a consultation with Ms. Spence call  (919) 863-4183 or email her at aspence@allenspence.com.