Approximately one-third of adults in the United States provide care to other adults as unpaid caregivers.
Caring for an aging spouse or parent tests your budget, patience, and endurance. Fortunately, there are federal, state, and local government programs that can help you make ends meet, find care for your loved one, and even obtain respite care for yourself.
Millions of seniors are eligible for various benefits from more than 2,500 federal, state, local, and private benefit programs. These programs can help cover the cost of everyday expenses like prescriptions, health care, utilities, and more for those who qualify. Unfortunately, many miss out on these programs because they do not know about the available assistance or how to apply for it. BenefitsCheckUp® is a free service by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) that helps older adults determine their eligibility for more than 2,500 federal, state, local, and private benefit programs.
With your senior family member or loved one, visit this link to begin your BenefitsCheckUp®. BenefitsCheckUp® will prepare a comprehensive report identifying benefit programs to consider. For added convenience, the final report includes details of the individual programs, contact information that answers questions and helps with enrollment, and a listing of the necessary documentation to aid in the application process.
The Eldercare Locator is a free, national service that connects older Americans and their loved ones with local resources designed to help seniors live independently in their own communities. The Eldercare Locator’s website contains a wealth of information for both seniors and caregivers. It features a searchable database to identify the state and local resources available to you or your senior loved one.
Established in 1973 under the Older Americans Act, Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are a national network of organizations that help adults age 60 and older live in their homes and communities for as long as possible by connecting them to a variety of services and resources. Each AAA is responsible for a specific geographic area, such as a city, a single county, or a multi-county district. Today, there are more than 600 AAAs serving seniors in every community across the country.
AAAs also provide support for eligible family and informal caregivers through the National Family Caregiver Support Program. These services include respite care, individual counseling, support groups, caregiver training, and emergency assistance on a limited basis. AAAs also play a crucial role in connecting caregivers with local providers who can help them create a caregiving plan, address specific challenges, or identify additional support services. Visit the Eldercare Locator to find your local AAA and contact them for more information.
If your loved one is a military veteran, they may be entitled to several different benefits through the VA. The VA offers health care services, long-term care services, pensions, disability compensation, burial benefits, and other benefits to eligible veterans.
Additionally, the VA also provides special support to those who care for the veteran at home or in the community. Every state has a VA Caregiver Support Coordinator to help caregivers find the right support to meet their needs and enroll the caregiver in those programs and services. Click here to connect with your VA Caregiver Support Coordinator.
It’s no secret that Medicare can be confusing. Medicare’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a free counseling service for all your Medicare questions. The service is available to all Medicare-eligible adults and their caregivers. SHIP counselors are highly trained, unbiased volunteers who live in your local community. They don’t work for insurance companies, and they don’t profit from your enrollment decision. Their goal is to provide up-to-date information about all aspects of Medicare.
There are SHIPs in all 50 states. It’s important to note that some SHIPs go by different names. For example, Texas’s SHIP is known as Health Information, Counseling, and Advocacy Program (HICAP). Find your local SHIP here to get started.
Operating in practically every community in the country through a network of 5,000 independently-run local programs, Meals on Wheels can help ensure your senior loved one receives a nutritious meal and friendly visit when you can’t be there. Meals on Wheels focuses on caring for individuals whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, prepare meals, or socialize with others. Generally, programs serve adults 60 and over, although age requirements can vary by program and areas served.
Most Meals on Wheels programs begin the process through an application, which may include assessing the need for meals and other supportive services. Some programs may require a referral letter from a doctor or social worker. Visit this link and search by ZIP code to find the Meals on Wheels provider closest to your loved one. They can help guide you and get you started.
Hire In-Home Care
There may come a time when your loved one needs more care than you can provide. Hiring a home care company is the next step in helping a loved one remain safe, healthy, and happy at home. You can choose non-medical home care or home health care, depending on a senior’s unique and changing needs. Best of all, these services are delivered in the comfort of their own home. If you think your loved one may benefit from at-home care, contact Intrepid USA to be walked through the next steps.