Originally intended to assist individuals with Alzheimer’s, the charter of the Senior In-Home (SIH) Services program has been expanded in recent years to provide services to all low income, elderly Alaska residents with limited mental or physical capabilities. This type of program is occasionally referred to as a “nursing home diversion program,” in that the objective is to help individuals who might otherwise require nursing home care remain living in their homes.
This program focuses on providing non-medical assistance, such as with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), like dressing, bathing, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and light housecleaning. Some additional services, such as chore services and respite, are provided based on a sliding scale of the applicant’s income.
The SIH program is administered by the State of Alaska Department of Health’s Division
of Senior and Disabilities Services through its Home and Community Based Grants Unit.
Residents should also be aware of the Pioneer Homes Program. These state-funded assisted living residences offer a higher level of care than the SIH Services program, but less than a Medicaid-funded nursing home.
Senior In-Home Services are intended to assist the low income, elderly population, but not those individuals who are so impoverished that they are already receiving benefits from or are eligible for Medicaid. Therefore, the first eligibility requirement is that the candidate not be receiving Medicaid benefits, such as the Alaskans Living Independently Medicaid Waiver. However, one may be eligible for the SIH program if they are on a waitlist for Medicaid services.
Other requirements include age: Participants must be at least 60 years old and be cognitively or physically impaired, unless they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Lewy body, Parkinson’s, etc. (There is no age requirement for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.) Participants also must be residents of the state of Alaska, must be living at home or in the community in some fashion, and must require minimal assistance. In-Home Services are not provided to nursing home residents.
For most of the services provided via this program, there is no income limit or asset limit. However, services are provided based on need. Therefore, the lower income and fewer assets a candidate has, the more likely it is they will be eligible to receive assistance.
Benefits and Services
Services provided under this program are selected to help individuals remain living in their homes. Services may vary based on geographic location and may include:
- Meal preparation: Grocery shopping, meal design, storage, and labeling
- Assistance with activities of daily living: Mobility, toiletry, dressing, eating, bathing
- Housework: Laundry, cleaning, and minor maintenance
- Yardwork: Maintaining the safety of the premises
- Other chores as needed: Such as chopping wood, hauling water, etc.
- Respite care: In-home caregiver relief up to approximately 40 hours / month (10 hours / week)
- Extended respite care: In residential (including assisted living facilities and nursing homes) or adult foster care situations up to 14 days / year
- Case Management
For assistance with ADLs, IADLs, and chore services, one may receive up to 10 hours of care per week.
In addition to the services listed above, this program provides for unspecified “supplemental services.” These supplemental services grants may be for anything that enables the participant to remain living at home independently, such as personal emergency response systems (PERS) and minor home modifications. In 2022, the value of these supplemental services is limited to $500 per household per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
Make note, there are income restrictions for those applying for the supplemental services grant. In 2022, these limits remain the same as they have for the past few years. An individual applicant must not have monthly income in excess of $2,022, and additional members of the household may not have income in excess of $913 / month. Assets (resources) are not considered.
Please note that service amounts may change year to year and based on the geographic location within the state.
To see a list of service providers, click here.
How to Apply / Learn More
To apply for this program, interested parties should contact the Senior & Disabilities Services Regional Office located nearest them. Potential program candidates should be aware that services are provided based on need, not based on a first come, first serve basis. Priority is given to seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another related dementia, live alone, are physically disabled, have the greatest financial need, or live in an area that is rural.
1835 Bragaw Street, Suite 350
(907) 269-3666 or 800-478-9996
240 Main Street, Suite 601
(907) 465-3372 or 866-465-3165
751 Old Richardson Hwy., Suite 100a
(907) 451-5045 or 800-770-1672
Some very limited information is available about this program on Alaska’s Department of Health website.