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Financial Assistance Available for Elder Care

Part Three in Our Four-Part Series on Elder Care

Long term care options for the elderly can become an expensive proposition – and the more extensive the care needed, the more money it will cost. For those who are already on a tight budget it’s important to understand your options and know what to expect.  In part three of our four-part series on elder care, we’ll take a look at how to meet the needs of your aging loved one as well as the needs of your budget.

In order to avoid paying more than is necessary, it’s important to evaluate all the possible sources of funding available for the care that is needed. The first step in the process is to evaluate the financial situation of your family member or friend. In some cases, this will determine what programs or assistance they are eligible for, what they are capable of paying for with their own resources, and what you may end up being responsible for.

There are several federal government programs that may help pay for long-term care and other health related needs for the elderly if your loved one meets certain eligibility rules:

  • Medicaid – Medicaid may pay for your loved one’s care if they qualify based on level of need, disability, or savings. Itallows for the coverage of long-term care services including institutional/nursing home care as well as home care and community based services. For more information and access Medicaid resources in your area, visit Medicaid.gov.
  • Medicare –Medicare is another government program which guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older and generally pays about half the cost of medical expenses, with the recipient expected to pay the remaining amount. For more information on Medicare, visit their website.
  • The Older Americans Act – This legislation is a federal initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network comprising the Administration on Aging (AoA) on the federal level, and State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding for nutrition and supportive in-home and community-based services.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)–If your loved one served in the military and is 65 years or older, they may be eligible for benefits through the VA. You can visit their website for more information and to check eligibility.

In addition to these federal initiatives to assist in paying for the health care of elderly Americans, there are also state and local assistance programs in place. You can locate resources in your area by looking in the blue pages of your local phone book. The following are links to help locate those resources in your state.

  • Elder Care Locator– In addition to help in finding elder care facilities and caregivers, you can also search by zip code for financial assistance for elderly care.
  • Benefits Check Up– Has links to help you find and enroll in programs that can help save your loved one money on health-related goods and services.
  • Senior Citizens Resources– Is a part of USA.gov and has links to help users access all government sites that provide services and assistance for senior citizens.

If your elderly loved one requires long-term care or assistance, hopefully they have at least some retirement savings, private health insurance, or long-term care fund to help pay for it. However, if they do not, the resources outlined in this article may help make their golden years more comfortable. Even if they have some financial resources set aside, be sure to investigate all of the opportunities they may be eligible for to make sure that they have access to the best care possible – and that your financial situation is not put in jeopardy as you attempt to care for them.

Part four of our series will introduce you to additional resources available for those who are responsible for providing elder care to a loved one or friend. 

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