November is long-term care month. This is the second article on long-term care that briefly touches on some programs and resources. Everyone should remember a couple of points; you don't have to be elderly to require long-term care and a significant portion of long-term care population is disabled and under the age of 65. Lastly, although we are living longer; the growing trend is that we need more care during our lifetime. Now most folks don't think about long-term care until they need it. For a more in-depth discussion on these resources and programs, go to www.kdads.ks.gov.
The state of Kansas has recently an activity called the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Their website is at www.ksadrc.org and their toll-free number is 855-200-2372. They are a centralized resource center which provides information and referral services for older adults and persons with disabilities. Based on your needs, they refer you to the appropriate agencies that can provide further assistance.
A local resource is the Leavenworth Council on Aging. This is a county agency that provides services to any person age 60 or older. They are involved in many of the programs I will touch on in this article. For a full listing of their services go to www.leavenworthcounty.org/home.asp. Programs.
The Older Americans Act. This is a federally funded program for folks over the age of 60 that has been around since 1965. It funds nutrition programs, disease prevention and health services, as well as family caregiver support. The family caregiver support provides an array of services to support in-home care to include respite care. Respite care provides relief when a family member or friend is the primary caregiver. The nutrition programs for seniors include both meal sites and home delivered meals and are offered locally through the Leavenworth Council on Aging.
Senior Care Act. This is a state-funded program for Kansans over the age of 60. It also provides in-home services and respite care. Services are offered on a sliding scale fee based on income and assets.
Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). To quote the KDAD website, "this is a Medicare program and Medicaid option that provides community-based care and services to people age 55 or older who would otherwise need a nursing home level of care". This program is expanding in the state of Kansas.
Home and community-based services for the frail and elderly (HCBS). This is a Medicaid program that provides in-home services. To qualify, an individual must be 65 years old and meet Medicaid income eligibility guidelines. There are other programs funded by Medicaid that assist disabled persons under the age of 65 who meet the eligibility criteria.
Veterans Administration (VA) Pension. A number of years ago the Kansas City Star wrote an article about the VA pension calling it the forgotten benefit. It is available to any veteran age 65 or older who served anywhere during a wartime period. The benefit is designed to help veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income, which is tax-free. I have been working in this area for a number of years and found that it helps veterans or widows of veterans in one of three situations:
Page 2 of 2 - If a veteran or his widow is considered low income. Remember though, to be considered low income doesn't mean you're broke. It means that your net income is low. Veterans with high out-of-pocket medical expenses will typically fall into the low income category.
If a veteran, his spouse or his widow is homebound and requires in-home assistance.
If a veteran, his spouse or his widow is in a nursing home.
For more information about the VA pension you can go to www.benefits.va.gov/pension. Also, be aware that there are a lot of sharks out there peddling their services for a fee to help people qualify for the VA pension. My advice is to stay away from them.
All the information is free. If you have any questions you can contact a service benefits officer at the VA in Leavenworth or contact me.