Assisted living facilities primarily help residents with non-medical needs. Although minor and infrequent medical services, such as first-aid for a wound, can sometimes be met on-site by nurses. These communities may sometimes also be called ALFs, residential care facilities, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities.
The financial options available to help pay for senior care is dependent on, among other things, the type of care that is required. If you are just beginning the research process on how to pay for long-term care, it is helpful to have an idea about the type of care you or your loved one currently requires, as well as to anticipate future needs. In addition, it is important to be familiar with the associated eldercare terminology.
Can using home care technology help your family save money caring for an aging loved one? The answer is most certainly “Yes”. Our goal is not to provide a comprehensive list, but rather to make sense of those that are available on the market today and can reduce the care hours required by elderly persons. As such, they can reduce a family’s out-of-pocket care costs or reduce the hours they spend providing care themselves.
Medicare Advantage (Part C), a privately offered alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B), has grown in popularity over the years. Despite the growing popularity of Medicare Advantage, some seniors face obstacles that prevent them from truly understanding how it works and who it benefits. Common mistakes about Medicare Advantage include misunderstanding its differences from Original Medicare, getting it confused with other forms of private Medicare insurance (like Medigap or Part D), or not understanding how to look up or evaluate plans.
Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) is a network of approximately 622 non-profit organizations nationwide. They serve the elderly population (60+) of their local areas. Most agencies serve a specific geographic area of several neighboring counties. Although a few offer services statewide. This is especially true in smaller or less densely populated states. All the AAAs receive federal funding under the Older American Act. And most supplement that funding with additional state and local revenues.
Agencies may use the phrase “Area Agency on Aging” in their name, such as the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas. Or they may simply call themselves the County Office on Aging.
What AAAs Do
Each Area Agency on Aging provides a different suite of services although there are basic services that are provided by nearly all AAAs. These include:
Nutrition – counseling, home delivered meals, and congregate (group) meals
Caregiver Support – respite care and caregiver training / education
Care Management – in-home care assessments and care plan development
Information & Referral – information about home and community based assistance programs, such as Medicaid, and referrals to administrators
Long Term Care Ombudsmen – information about long term care facilities and investigation of complaints
Insurance Counseling – assists seniors in understanding and maximizing the benefits of their insurance, especially Medicare
Transportation – assistance understanding and coordinating shared, non-medical transportation services
A lesser, but still significant, percentage of AAAs also provide families with help completing applications for assistance programs, such as Medicaid, respite care, and certain veterans’ programs. Finally, case management is a much valued option, though offered more selectively than other types of help.
What AAAs Don’t Do
When planning for long term care, it is equally important to know the services with which the AAAs cannot or do not help families.
Hands-On Care – Except in very rare instances, AAAs do not provide hands-on care themselves. However, some may sub-contract hands on services to local providers.
Medicaid Planning – Medicaid has very restrictive financial eligibility requirements. AAAs can help explain the requirements. But they will not and cannot offer any assistance in helping families comply with or meet those requirements.
Veterans Benefits Planning – Similar to Medicaid, many VA programs have restrictive financial eligibility rules. AAAs cannot advise families on how to structure income and assets to meet those requirements.
Aging and Disability Resource Centers – ADRCs serve as a single point of entry for families to learn about the long term care support services available to them through federal, state, and other programs. The ADRCs provide free and objective counseling services. While very helpful, the ADRC system is still being developed and is not available nationwide. In addition, in many cases, the ADRC Agency is same agency as the Area Agency on Aging. However in some states these are separate entities.
Medicaid Planners – Medicaid planners offer families assistance with the complicated Medicaid application process. More importantly, they help families structure their finances to meet Medicaid’s financial requirements. Read more.
Veterans Benefits Planners – VA benefit planners help families to understand the different, and sometimes conflicting, benefits which they may be due. They also help to calculate and re-structure income and assets to meet program requirements. Read more.
Select Your State & County to Find Your Local Area Agency on Aging