As ever more of the 78 million baby boomers continue to age into their golden years and approximately10 million senior citizens already receive daily care to help get dressed, prepare meals or or other daily activities, it may be time to become more familiar with various types of elder care that allow the elderly to maintain some form of independence and live at home.

Medical alert systems: Offering the most privacy and possibly one of the least expensive options for senior care assistance, medical alert systems call or signal emergency services when necessary. The devices may consist of a necklace or wristband with an emergency button and when the button is pressed, a dispatcher who has access to the senior’s profile and medical history is called. The type of help dispatched usually depends upon the situation and the dispatcher may call a neighbor, family member or medical center. Most medical alert systems fees range between $30 and $50 a month, though an extra level of services, such as motion-sensor technology that automatically contacts a dispatcher if it detects the user has fallen, will be more expensive.

Adult day care: An actual facility that generally operates during business hours Monday through Friday. Senior centers and adult day care may provide activities and meals for seniors, providing an opportunity to socialize as well as allow a chance to caregivers to go to work, run errands or simply take some time for themselves. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state and county. Be sure to ask about activities, amenities and transportation options in advance, including door-to-door transportation and accessibility.

Home visiting services: An elder care companion comes into the senior’s residence to help with daily chores and activities, such as getting dressed, shopping, meal preparation, overseeing medication doses and housekeeping. May also include services such as visiting nurses and physical therapy. Usually charged at an hourly rate, the price varies greatly depending upon the type of services provided as well as the regional area.

Working with a professional elder care company can help alleviate some of the stress of a difficult situation by providing prescreening and background checks for all employees. Hiring a private caregiver can be less expensive in the short term but you will be responsible for performing background checks and meeting tax requirements, since you are hiring them as an employee. For assistance locating elder care services or if the time has come when you or a family member is no longer able to live independently, contact ElderLink to discuss the options and learn about assisted living services and facilities within California.