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Editor's note: This is the second of two parts on community-based resources. Part 1 was published Oct. 17.

We often think that there is nowhere to turn when we need help with the ordinary activities of daily living. However, there are resources for the elderly in most communities to assist you or your family. Finding them is key.

There are many types of community services and it is important to think about what type of services you need before contacting an agency. The following are a few community services that can help:

  • Cleaning and yard work services -- Your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to arrange for your chore and yard maintenance services or put you in touch with religious, Scout or other volunteer groups that provide one-time or occasional services to seniors who need help. Additionally, senior home repair and weatherization programs are also available for those in need of those services.
  • Adult day care services -- For older persons with serious limitations in their mobility, those who are frail and those who have medical and cognitive problems, adult day care centers can provide care in a safe, structured environment. Adult day care services include personal and nursing care, congregate meals, therapeutic exercises and social and recreational activities. Most adult day care centers are supported through public and nonprofit organizations. Fees may range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars a day, depending on the services needed.
  • Meal programs -- To find out about home-delivered meals programs and other meals programs, contact Meals on Wheels, Community Action Commission “Healthy at Home” program, or the Santa Maria Wisdom Center. Local churches and Catholic Charities also provide food items on specific days of the week.

Remember, calling agencies can be frustrating. Busy telephone lines and organizations short on staff or volunteers can be the norm. Sometimes, there aren’t services available due to lack of finding or there can be a long wait. Do remember that workers in community service organizations want to be helpful so give them time and tell them what you need when on the telephone.

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Mission Hope Cancer Center offers a Caregiver Support Group that meets monthly and provides a safe place to get together with those who understand your concerns, to share helpful strategies and to lend encouragement.

On Nov. 1 at 5 p.m., a CareMapping workshop will be offered to help you understand and improve your family’s experience. You are invited to learn the concept of CareMaps, which will help you better understand and manage your own situation, identify missing resources and describe your needs to others. Contact me at 346-3402.

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Have a question for Your Cancer Answers, a weekly column produced by Marian Regional Medical Center, Cancer Program? Email it to mariancancercare@dignityhealth.org.

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