There are government assistance programmes available if you are caring for an ageing parent or acting as an advocate and caregiver for an elderly person who requires additional support. Several federal, state, and local government agencies provide funding and other resources to senior citizens who require assistance with finances, healthcare, retirement, and other issues. Obtain government assistance for the elderly by determining their needs and contacting the appropriate government agency.
Part 1 Determining Appropriate Forms of Assistance
1. Engage in conversation with the elderly. Do not assume that you can determine an elderly person’s needs unless they have been diagnosed with a severe cognitive or mental illness. Ask elderly people to express their difficulties, hopes, and desires, and pay close attention to what they say. This will assist you in determining which types of government assistance are appropriate.
Remember to ask specific questions about what would make their lives more fulfilling, independent, financially stable, and safe for the elderly.
2. Investigate the available assistance programmes. The Administration on Aging is the best source of information (AOA). This organisation oversees a wide range of programmes for the elderly. Their website, www.aoa.gov, contains a comprehensive list of all national services and programmes for the elderly.
Visit websites such as www.govbenefits.gov and www.benefitscheckup.org to help elders find appropriate services and programmes.
3. Look into the services that are available to you. Caring for and advocating for the elderly can be frustrating, time-consuming, and exhausting. It can also be costly, as it can result in missed work and many hours of unpaid labour. Taking care of your own health and well-being will increase your effectiveness as a caregiver and advocate for the elderly.
The National Alliance for Caregiving, the Caregiver Action Network, and the Family Caregiver Alliance all provide excellent resources.
www.caregiving.org and www.caregiveraction.org are their respective websites.
Part 2 Accessing Financial Assistance
1. Fill out a Social Security application. This is the most important financial assistance programme for the elderly, and it is one that they have contributed to for the majority of their lives. In the absence of retirement savings, social assistance can supplement or replace an elderly person’s income. Between the ages of 62 and 70, the elderly can apply for Social Security.
The longer an elderly person waits to apply, the greater their monthly benefit.
2. Fill out an application for the Supplemental Security Income programme (SSI). This federal programme is funded through general taxation rather than Social Security taxes. Elders are eligible if the amount of social security they receive is insufficient to support them and they have few or no other sources of income. The programme also takes into account factors like disability and medical history.
The Supplemental Security Income programme is intended to assist people in meeting their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Visit https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/ for more information and to determine eligibility.
3. Obtain local assistance. Federal programmes frequently require states and local communities to assist elders and senior citizens in obtaining funding and other resources. Look for your city, town, or county’s Area Agency on Aging. These organisations can connect seniors with counsellors who are trained to assess their needs and match them to available programmes. Visit www.agingcare.com/local/Area-Agency-on-Aging for a comprehensive list of Area Agencies on Aging. These organisations offer a variety of cost-cutting services, including:
Yardwork and snow removal
Meals on wheels
Home repairs and accessibility modifications
4. If applicable, contact the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). An elderly person who served in the armed forces may be entitled to additional compensation and assistance. Determine whether a service-related disability or medical condition will increase benefits or provide a pension to an elderly veteran in need of government assistance. Visit the website www.benefits.va.gov.
If an elderly person is bedridden, in a nursing home, or unable to care for themselves, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs may provide special pension benefits.
Additional benefits may be available to elderly veterans who are unable to leave the immediate vicinity of their home due to a permanent disability.
Part 3 Accessing Medical Assistance
1. Begin taking advantage of Medicare and/or Medicaid. They are government assistance programmes that help the elderly over the age of 64 manage their healthcare costs. Medicare and Medicaid can be complicated; research which Parts are best suited for the elderly individual in question. Parts A and B, which cover hospitalisation and physician services, are the most commonly used components of coverage. However, it is also worth considering Parts C and D, which deal with supplemental insurance and prescription medication coverage, respectively. To learn more, go to www.medicare.gov and www.medicaid.gov.
Consider deducting Medicare premiums from Social Security payments for the elderly person who receives both types of government assistance.
2. Prescription assistance is available through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA can assist seniors by assisting them in managing their prescriptions. Use the FDA’s database to learn about drug safety protocols and to make sure you’re not mixing drugs that could be harmfully interacted with.
The FDA offers services to assist seniors who are taking prescription medication in managing their diet, lifestyle, medication schedule, and communications with doctors and pharmacists.
The FDA also assists seniors in lowering the cost of prescription medications, such as by requesting senior discounts, purchasing in bulk, using mail-order services, purchasing generic drug brands, and obtaining samples.
3. Get access to government-run medical programmes. Medi-Cal in California, Mass Health in Massachusetts, BadgerCare in Wisconsin, and SoonerCare in Oklahoma are examples of such programmes. Many of these programmes are means-tested, which means they are only available to people with low income. Programs differ by state, so contact your state government for details on eligibility requirements and specific services available. However, the majority of these programmes offer assistance in areas such as:
ambulatory patient services
mental health and substance abuse treatment
long term care
4. Make an application for in-home care. These services provide additional assistance so that elderly people can remain at home following hospitalisation or due to long-term disabilities. Regular visits by trained professionals such as registered nurses, physical therapists, and/or direct service workers are part of in-home support services. These services may be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or long-term care insurance depending on where you live; for more information, go to https://medlineplus.gov/homecareservices.html. Standard in-home care services include assistance with:
Bathing and showering
Dressing and laundry
Using the toilet
Eating and light meal preparation
Walking and transferring
Taking and managing medications
Injections and IVs
Wheelchairs and mobility devices
5. Concerns about accessibility and disability should be directed to the Department of Justice. The Justice Department, in fact, enforces and disseminates information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Keep in mind that all elderly people have the right to reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. Visit the ADA website for information and instructions on how to ensure that elderly people have safe access to their homes, workplaces, and places of worship.
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