The Older Americans Act Programs / Legislative Initiative for the Elderly (LIFE) offers West Virginia seniors a variety of supportive services to assist them in living independently at home. While these services do not include medical care or personal care, they do include assistance with many of the home living activities that frail, elderly individuals find challenging, such as maintaining their home, transportation to and from home, and preparation of healthy meals. Since personal care assistance is not a benefit, program candidates should not think of this program as providing for all their needs to remain living at home. Rather, it can be used in combination with assistance from Medicaid, the Ron Yost Personal Assistance Services Program, or the Lighthouse Program.
There is some confusion over the program’s name. One may hear the program referred to as the Older Americans Act Programs, the Legislative Initiative for the Elderly, the LIFE Program, or depending on the county in which one resides, the program may simply be referred to by the specific service, such as Home Delivered Meals or Chore Services. This confusion is partially due to the fact that different services are available in different counties and the fact that funding comes from both state and federal sources.
The eligibility criteria for these services vary from county to county and from year to year. Consistent across the counties are the requirements that individuals must be legal West Virginia residents and have reached a minimum of 60 years of age. Final eligibility determination is done by one’s local county senior center.
While many different services are available, they are not available consistently across each county in the state. For the exact services available in one’s area, one needs to check with their county senior center. The following list is not exhaustive, but should give the reader a general idea of the types of assistance available. As mentioned previously, medical care and personal care are not included in this list. Most services are provided free of charge. However, at times donations will be requested, or there may be minor fees on a sliding scale based on the applicant’s income.