Continuing to Live in Your Own Home

Like many people, you may want to stay in your home for as long as possible, but you may also need help and support to stay there. That's where home and community-based services (HCBS) can help. HCBS providers offer everything from help with housekeeping chores to health care services to more readily available social opportunities. They can even provide the reassuring service of having someone call daily to check on you. If you are a caregiver coping with a family member's chronic illness or disability, you may also benefit from these services, particularly if you work outside the home or have other major demands on your time.

Some services can be brought to your own home, while others are available at different settings in your community, usually during the day. In addition, some programs can help make modifications to your home for greater ease and safety. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging for more information on which of the following services are available in your community and how to access them.

  • Adult day services enable you to spend your daytime hours in an organized setting, with engaging pastimes. You'll usually find both physically and mentally stimulating activities, as well as socialization with others. Some day care programs are designed especially for people experiencing memory loss, such as early-stage Alzheimer's or dementia.
  • A continuing care at home program (life care plan) is for healthy older adults to assist them with maintaining independence and aging in place through wellness coordination and programming.  It also provides short term and/or long term care services at home or in a facility as care needs change.
  • Congregate meal programs offer free or low-cost meals in a group setting, often in a senior center or senior housing.
  • Financial counseling programs provide assistance with balancing checkbooks, filing taxes and paying bills, as well as completing Medicaid, Medicare or other insurance forms.
  • Health education and wellness programs help you maintain your health through direct teaching, counseling and similar services.
  • Home-delivered meals, usually provided by the Meals on Wheels organization, deliver nutritionally balanced meals to your home if you are unable to prepare your own.
  • Home health care offers a variety of health care services in the home, such as providing wound care and health education, administering medication and monitoring health concerns. Home health aides may assist with personal hygiene, prescribed exercises and other personal care under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists and social worker services may also be provided in the home.
  • Homemaker or chore services help with different responsibilities around the house, such as cleaning, preparing meals or doing laundry. They also help with shopping, running errands, driving and companionship.
  • Hospice delivers nursing care to terminally ill people, as well as counseling for their families. Hospice care can be provided in nursing homes, hospice centers or in an individual's home, where nurses, social workers and volunteers can visit regularly.
  • Information and assistance services offer information about services and resources in the area.
  • Personal care services provide help with grooming tasks, such as bathing and dressing.
  • Rehabilitation services offer different kinds of therapies (physical, occupational, and speech) to assist in recovery from an illness or surgery.
  • Respite care provides time off for family members caring for loved ones who are ill, injured or frail. Caregivers need time away to relieve stress, prevent burnout and attend to other events in their lives. Respite care provides planned, temporary, substitute care for a day, a weekend or even longer, as in the case of a vacation. Care is usually provided in the individual's home, but it may also be provided in an adult day care center or the residential setting of an assisted living or personal care home, or nursing facility.
  • Senior centers provide a place where people can come together for social and recreational activities.
  • Telephone reassurance is particularly helpful if you live alone or are alone during the day. This service provides a daily check-in to make sure you are okay.

Factors to Consider When Choosing to Remain in Your Home


  • Stay in the comfort of your home where you've made a life
  • Remain close to neighbors and friends
  • Maintain established contacts and connections in the community
  • Enjoy the ease of moving about in a familiar neighborhood and community
  • Incur potentially lower costs by paying only for services needed


  • Deal with costly and time-consuming chores - lawn care, leaf and snow removal, maintenance and upkeep issues, cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Become isolated
  • Continued responsibilities and obligations to rising property taxes
  • Limited options, should health conditions change suddenly
  • Potentially create additional responsibilities and worries for your family

Although you don't always have a physical place to visit when you're exploring home and community-based services, you can still compare your options by asking questions and doing research. Use this handy checklist to write down your reactions and see how providers stack up.

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