Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Home care advice

If it’s gotten tough for you or an older relative to prepare meals, get dressed or keep track of medications, a new guide can help you explore your options for getting some in-home help.

The guide was prepared by Home Instead Senior Care and is full of insights into when it’s time to seek help, what kind of assistance is available, how much it might cost and where you can get it.

I’m always a little guarded about getting information from a group with a strong financial interest in directing people toward the kinds of services they offer.

But when it comes to elder care, I think it’s wise to seek out as much advice as possible, and this guide includes some good details about how to detect when a senior is struggling—scorched pans and piles of bills are examples—and the range of services home care workers can provide.

The guide also includes phone numbers and Web links you can use to learn more about things like how to talk to seniors about their needs, and whether Medicaid or Medicare might pay for some assistance.

The free guide is available at

You can also get to it by going to and clicking on “resources.” Or, you can order a copy by calling 866-996-1087.

Home Instead Senior Care provides non-medical care to seniors in the United States and 14 other countries. The new guide is called “The Home Care Solution: A Guide to the Best Choices for Seniors and Those Who Care About Them.”