Independence is important at any age. Now, because of the many options available to senior citizens, staying independent is easier than ever. From in-home care to full nursing home facilities, local organizations allow seniors to access the help they need.

According to The Senior Source, Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas: “Too often, long-term care is equated with residential care in places referred to as nursing homes or to care given to chronic and permanently disabled persons.”

Many seniors prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible, taking advantage of the many in-home care options. The Care Guide at www.careguide.com states that “80 percent of the estimated 7.1 million elderly Americans in need of long-term care live in their own homes or community-based settings.”

Among the many care options available are in-home care, adult day care, respite care, residential care and hospice care. Honestly evaluating your needs will ensure that you receive the most appropriate level of care.

In-home care allows seniors to stay in their own home while still obtaining a variety of services, while adult day care provides activities for seniors who should not be home alone. Respite care is a more temporary option for seniors with special needs, designed to provide relief for regular caregivers.

The Dallas non-profit organization Elder Power offers many types of care for senior citizens. Director Jean Chapman says: “Our ministry is to help people stay out of nursing homes as long as possible.”

Elder Power employs 20 caregivers, who provide in-home help with basic hygiene, housekeeping and chores, as well as more health-related issues.

“We also give advice for seniors or families looking for assistance,” Chapman says. “We will come out and talk with you, and help you evaluate your situation.” Contact Elder Power at 214-824-5778.

Residential care options differ depending on the level of help seniors require. Assisted living facilities allow residents high levels of independence by providing apartment-like living. Assistance may be obtained for housekeeping, laundry or bathing services, but assisted living facilities do not generally offer serious medical aid. Continuing care retirement communities combine several living options all in one location. Residents may choose from nearly independent living, partial assistance or full nursing attention. Nursing homes are usually reserved for seniors with serious physical or mental restrictions that require full-time medical attention.

Residential care options in our neighborhood include: Presbyterian Village North, 214-355-9015; Buckner Retirement Village, 214-381-2171; Christian Care Center’s The Courtyard, 972-698-2626; and Juliet Fowler Homes, 214-827-0813.

Hospice Care is a final alternative for terminally ill patients. Hospice focuses on providing comfort to the patient and support for the families, usually during the last six months of life. For advice about choosing a hospice organization, visit www.hospicepatients.org/findhospice.html. Whatever your choice for assisted living, be sure to fully research and evaluate your options. The Senior Source, Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas, presents helpful local information about choosing and retaining senior health care, at www.theseniorsource.org/pages/nursinghome.html. AARP offers helpful advice as you search for a care facility, at www.aarp.org. The Care Guide also supplies a detailed Nursing Home Checklist, which outlines questions to ask when evaluating care facilities. Visit www.careguide.com.