They say that no one is an island. There are times in all of our lives when we need help, and it’s a sign of strength, not of weakness, to recognize when one needs help and ask for it. Fortunately there are many sources of different kinds of help for seniors and retirees in both the government and private organizations.
Looking for help? Here are three sites to get you started.
The Eldercare Locator, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, can connect you to a variety of resources in your area.
The AARP QuickLink page can assist in finding the help you need.
And your state agency for senior services can help as well. Below is a list of state services that are typically offered. Scroll to the bottom of this page for the link to the agency in your state.
For home repairs, the federal government offers assistance to qualified seniors. Senior citizens can go to the Home Repair and Modification section on the Eldercare Locator website maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services.
State Senior Services
Each state offers an array of services specifically for senior residents. As you look at different states, you can find out what services each state offers.
Every state has an agency dedicated to serving the needs of senior residents with home and community-based services. Individual states differ in the types of benefits they provide. All states provide services to promote the welfare and protect the rights of elderly, disabled, and low-income senior residents. Many states also have special programs for all senior citizens, and caregiver assistance programs that provide family caregivers with information, counseling, and temporary relief services. Below are services that are commonly offered.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, provides monthly financial assistance to people who need help paying for food. Although a federal program, SNAP is run by the individual states. Those who are eligible, including low-income or disabled seniors, can apply through their state government.
Many local agencies offer seniors and caregivers nutrition counseling, to help them make healthy dietary choices, and give suggestions for nutritional aspects for preventing and dealing with various health conditions.
Many communities have programs where nutritious meals are prepared and served to eligible residents at communal locations such as senior and community centers. Programs like Meals On Wheels also deliver meals to residents in their homes.
Most states a prescription assistance program to help low income elderly and disabled residents fund their prescription medications. Most of these programs pay for all or most of the cost of prescriptions for seniors without other prescription coverage. For seniors who have partial coverage through a Medicare Drug Plan, these programs can supplement the coverage and lower out-of-pocket costs.
The Medicaid Waiver program provides in-home care as needed to eligible seniors so that they can continue living with their families at home for as long as possible.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) provide trained insurance counselors to give accurate and objective information and guidance regarding the public and private health insurance options available for the elderly in their state, including Medicare and Medicaid benefits, Medicare Advantage and Supplement Plans, and state-sponsored prescription assistance programs.
In many states seniors can apply to receive help with routine household chores, such as shopping, general house cleaning, home repairs, and general yard work such as mowing grass, raking leaves, and clearing snow.
Home Repair and Modification Assistance
States often provide grants and low interest loans to eligible seniors who need help making necessary home repairs, or who need to make modifications to their home.
Heating and Energy Assistance
This program helps low income senior homeowners pay their winter heating and summer cooling costs. Although this is a federal program, it is usually administered at the county or local level. The eligibility qualifications and amounts of assistance available varies by state.
In most states, seniors can receive transportation for necessary errands like medical appointments, shopping, and filling prescriptions.
Senior Housing Assistance
Senior Housing Apartments
Many communities maintain public housing apartments for low income senior citizens and disabled persons.
Section 8 Housing
Section 8 housing is a federal program administered by the states that provides subsidies to eligible seniors to allow them to rent a home or apartment from a private homeowner.
Through the legal aid program, qualified attorneys provide legal advice, prepare and review legal documents, answer seniors’ legal questions, and represent seniors in certain legal proceedings.
Caregiver Assistance Services
Family caregivers for elderly residents can often get help and support through several programs designed specifically to address their needs.
Most states have some type of caregiver relief program which provides family caregivers with a break from caregiving. Another person can come to the home and provide care to the elderly family member, or the family member could be temporarily moved to another facility like a nearby assisted living center.
Caregiver counseling services provide information on how to access state programs and services for the elderly, offer guidance and information to help seniors and their caregivers about their care options, and assist them with applying for benefits.
Links to state senior services agencies