Aging: There's No Place Like Home - Growing Old (cont.)
How much will this cost?
Some types of help could cost a lot. Thinking about how you are going to pay for the help you need is an important part of planning. Some things you want may cost a lot. Others may be free. Some things may be covered by Medicare, private "Medigap" policies or other private health insurance, Medicaid, or long-term care insurance. Some may not. Check with your insurance provider(s). There is a chance that paying for just a few services out of pocket could cost less in the long run than moving into an independent living, assisted living, or long-term care facility. And you will have your wish of still living in your own home.
Once you have thought about which services you need, you can find out about Federal, State, and local government benefits at www.govbenefits.gov. If you can't get to a computer, call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) for the same kind of help.
Another website to search for benefits is www.benefitscheckup.org from the National Council on Aging. By typing in general information about yourself, you can see a list of possible benefits you might qualify for. You don't have to give your name, address, or social security number in order to use this service.
Are you eligible for veteran's benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs? The VA sometimes provides medical care in your home. In some areas they also offer homemaker/home health aide services, adult day health care, and hospice. You can learn more by going to www.va.gov, calling the toll-free VA Health Care Benefits number, 1-877-222-8387, or contacting the VA medical center nearest you.
What if I need more help?
At some point, support from family, friends, or local programs may not be enough. If you need help on a full-time basis, you might want to think about having someone live in your home. Or, you could have someone from a service come in for as many hours and days as you want for a fee. You might also decide to move to a senior living facility that provides many or all of the services you need. But, in the meantime, you will have enjoyed your home and neighbors for longer than you once thought. A little help from family, friends, and local services will have made that possible.
For More Information
General Government Sources
Administration on Aging
Department of Veterans Affairs
Federal and State Government Benefit Information
FirstGov for Seniors
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
Assisted Living Federation of America
National Adult Day Services Association
Source: National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health
Last Editorial Review: 3/24/2006