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Expert Blog

What Can I Do If Alzheimer's Services Aren't Available in My Area?

August 17, 2012

No group in my area offers home care for Alzheimer's patients. Whom do I call when my husband gets bad enough to need 24-hour care, help with toileting and feeding, or assistance when I need to be out of the home on errands, paying bills, etc.?

It certainly sounds like you will need assistance in the future.

Can you try digging a bit deeper? While I know that families living in rural areas have significant challenges when it comes to accessing services, most areas offer something for caregivers. Look for a private company that offers in-home care, an assisted living facility that offers respite care, or a local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). AAAs are generally private, not-for-profit entities designated by the Older Americans Act to advocate, plan, coordinate and fund a system of elder support services in their areas. Search for your local agency at the website of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging [].

Even though this website told me that neither of the AAAs closest to you directly serves your county, you should give them a call. They may have received similar calls and have some good ideas for you.

Another resource is the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, which lists your county in its service area. Find them or any local chapter at

If your rural area really offers no formal services, you may need to recruit informal help. Check with your faith community, friends and neighbors to try to find someone—perhaps a student—who can help.

While it may be challenging, many caregivers in your situation will move to be closer to family, or move to a community with more services and resources. You may want to consider this sooner, rather than later, so you won't find yourself completely exhausted.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be difficult. I encourage you to read my book for families, A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care, which will be coming out in a new edition in October, or to read the helpful information and advice on this website.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. April 8, 2013 at 08:38 am
    Posted by jonathan smith

    Hi, if there is no Alzheimer's services in your area and you are not able to get it from anywhere, then you do not need to worry about it. You can handle this situation by yourself. You just need to keep some things in your mind. You have to provide a safe environment to the patient. You should handle the patient peacefully. You also need to keep doing medication and bathing on a daily basis.

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