While most Americans are familiar with social service benefits for older Americans, there are many programs and services that fall outside this umbrella. Designed to make life easier and more enjoyable for seniors, while also protecting fundamental rights and access, these programs work wonders to uplift and support seniors throughout the country.
12 Programs All Seniors Should be Aware of
Throughout the country, the following services and programs are available to seniors who seek them:
1. Adult Day Care
Adult Day Care programs exist in virtually every part of the nation. Designed to act as a form of “in-between” care for seniors who are bored, lonely, or suffering from cognitive decline, Adult Day Care provides day care for at-risk or disabled adults.
Ideal for families who work and cannot be with a senior throughout the day, and do not have live-in help, Adult Day Care facilities often offer pick-up services and fun activities like craft classes, community time, and meal prep. Your local senior center or nursing home should be able to provide you with information about prominent Adult Day Care facilities in your area.
2. The National Senior Citizens Law Center
While nobody wants to deal with legal complications, especially as they age, the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) has a long history of advocating on the behalf of low-income, disabled, and elderly Americans. Dedicated to promoting independence and ensuring well-being, this resource can help seniors get the benefits they deserve, or resolve legal disputes during their golden years.
While most people have heard of AARP, few understand what it does. A nonprofit organization, AARP addresses the needs, concerns, and interests of people who are 50 years old or older. The company’s website offers helpful information and a resource guide for concerns ranging from economic security, work, retirement, long-term care, independence, and wellness.
4. American Society on Aging
The American Society on Aging is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults and their loved ones. The website offers a resource list of local programs, and a wide selection of resources for aging-related topics and concerns.
5. Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is a reputable health organization dedicated to supporting seniors and their families who are coping with Alzheimer’s. Committed to eliminating Alzheimer’s disease through high-quality research and support, The AA is a valuable resource for anyone who is struggling to understand, cope with, or find resources surrounding Alzheimer’s.
6. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, or INPEA, is on a mission to do away with elder abuse in homes, nursing facilities, and hospice care. Dedicated to helping society understand and address elder abuse, INEPA also provides a series of resources and programs for people who are experiencing or have experienced elder abuse.
7. Family Caregiver Alliance
The Family Caregiver Alliance, or FCA, Is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and loved ones who provide caregiving services to their loved ones. Offering programs at the local, national, and state level, FCA is dedicated to supporting and uplifting caregivers and their clients.
8. Local Benefits Counseling
If you’re confused about the benefits available to you as a senior, look for local benefits counseling in your area. Dedicated to helping seniors understand what type of help is available to them, benefits counseling is offered through local Offices for the Aging, and area designed to answer questions about everything from medical and life insurance to food stamps.
9. Free Denture Installations
Dentures can be prohibitively expensive, which prevents many people from getting them. Fortunately, many state dental associations offer free or low-cost denture programs designed to facilitate denture installation for low-income seniors.
Dental colleges may also offer similar services, so don’t hesitate to ask around in your local area.
10. Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program
The Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, or EPIC, is available in New York and 22 other states, including Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington State, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Wisconsin.
Designed to help seniors access the prescription medications they need to stay healthy and comfortable, this program helps eligible seniors access free or low-cost prescriptions.
11. Free Cell Phones
If a senior falls or has an accident at home, a cell phone can suddenly be a life-saving device. Luckily, LifeLine knows this. A government program designed to outfit low-income Americans with cell phones that will keep them safe, help them get jobs, or make it easier to access needed services, LifeLine outfits seniors with a free or discounted phone – either in the form of a cell phone or landline.
12. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Once known as Food Stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and seniors access healthy, nutritious food. While each state has different income and eligibility requirements, you can generally apply for the program through a local Office for the Aging. Benefits vary depending on the size of your family, but can be substantial.
Bonus: Discounted Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be some of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a senior’s life. Luckily, organizations like the local Lion’s Club offer programs that provide free or low-cost hearing aids to seniors in need. This can be a critical service for seniors who are feeling isolated or lonely because of advanced hearing loss.
Get to Know Your Local Resources
Beyond the resources listed here, most local communities offer a wide assortment of assistance and outreach programs for seniors. To learn more about them, visit your local senior center or inquire with a home health or aged care agency, as they are typically familiar with what’s available in a given community or area. These organizations may also be able to match needy seniors with local or grassroots organizations that provide needed services and programs.