Getting Started

What You Need to Know

Are You Caring for a Loved One?

Learn more about resources for caregivers

This section will help you understand the basics of finding and getting services for an adult who needs help with care. This would include such things as meals, transportation, daily personal care, house and yard work. 

There are also state programs that help pay for food, shelter, medical or general expenses, or offer reduced rate healthcare coverage. Learn more.

Finding care can seem complicated and even overwhelming when you first start looking. The key is to find knowledgeable people who can help you. The information included here can help you sort through what you need to know and do to find these people.

What Type of Care is Needed

The first step is to understand what care or additional support is needed. It is a good idea if everyone involved (the adult who needs more care/support and his/her loved ones) can sit down and talk about the current situation. Learn more about having this conversation.

It is also helpful to have an understanding of the types of care that is available. These are often referred to as services. Services can help with things the person is having difficulty with including:

  • physical care (e.g. getting dressed, preparing meals, assistance with medications, help with personal hygiene, getting in or out of the bed, tub, toilet or the house);
  • taking care of the house or apartment (e.g. light housekeeping, shopping, laundry);
  • transportation (e.g. to doctor’s appointments, shopping);
  • staying socially active and connected to others in the community.

See the Needs Assessment Worksheet to help guide you through these possible care needs. Learn more about the types of services that help an adult remain at home.

A professional care manager (e.g. nurse or social worker) can also help evaluate the current situation. If you would like professional help, ask for some referrals when finding out what help is available in your area.

Do you know someone preparing to leave a hospital, nursing home, or other health care setting?  The CDC has developed a Planning for Your Discharge (PDF) checklist of important things patients and caregivers should know in order to plan for a safe discharge from a health care setting.

How to use this information

Make a list of the care needs required now and soon. This list will help you communicate the kind of care, services or programs you are looking for. Though helpful, having this list is not a requirement to call for help.

Who to call to find out what help is locally available

The types of services and programs available is different in each community. Who to talk with depends on where the person lives who needs the care, how old he/she is, and whether or not state funding (Medicaid) is needed to help pay for care. Learn more about who to contact to find local services or programs.

Looking for services for someone outside of Washington State? The Eldercare Locator can help you access resources and services in any state.

You can also call them toll-free at 1-800 677-1116 between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM Eastern time, Monday through Friday, to talk to an Eldercare Information Specialist.

In-home care or residential care

The first avenue for most adults who need additional care is to get services to help them remain at home. Learn more about in-home care.

There are now many different types of homes or facilities where a person can live and get care services in a residential setting. These are often for people who are too frail or no longer wish to remain at home. Learn more about residential assisted living options.