I presented a seminar last week at the Nantucket senior center, which is known as The Saltmarsh. During the program, “Living Where You Want, With The Care You Need”, I described various programs by which seniors can receive assistance in paying for home care to help them stay in their homes. Through programs funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, most seniors who need assistance can get from two to six hours of home care per week. While there may be a modest co-payment depending on income, there is no asset test that limits eligibility.
I also discussed eligibility for other programs. The Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance program, available to veterans, their spouses and their widows if the veteran served during a period of wartime and if they meet certain qualifications, helps pay for home care if the individual is homebound. MassHealth has a number of other programs that may help pay for home care, and may even pay children or friends to provide the care, in certain circumstances. I will be discussing each of these programs in future posts; but for an overview of them, you can watch my presentation on my YouTube channel.
During my presentation you will hear my guest, Officer Kevin Marshall of the Nantucket Police Department, tell about an array of programs designed to keep Nantucket seniors safe at home. There is a program that allows residents to call the Nantucket Police Station every morning to let a dispatcher or volunteer know that they are alright. If you don’t call in, one of the program volunteers will call you; and if you don’t answer, someone will check in on you. Through another program designed for people living at home who might have a tendency to wander, the Nantucket police will keep their names, addresses, phone numbers, and pictures on file. If the person wanders and gets lost, he or she can be found more easily.
Less than 15,000 people live on Nantucket year-round, and the closest help in case of emergency is a long way away; therefore, the islanders are used to solving their problems locally. On Nantucket, helping seniors stay at home safely is considered to be a community public safety issue, involving both professional staff and volunteers. Perhaps a similar approach exists in your local community.