Pennsylvania Agency on Aging.
Many resources and programs are available from the Office of Aging in Pennsylvania. Older adults, people over 55, including senior citizens and elderly, can access various services. Qualified applicants can receive information about the assistance programs offered by the agency, or they can get referrals to non-profit agencies. Seniors in Pennsylvania can receive everything from food, transportation, and case management up to emergency rental, heating and energy bill assistance. Find more information on the various agency on aging programs below.
Home safety, repairs, and modifications can be provided by the state. Some of what is offered by this program includes adaptations and improvements to a home that can improve its overall condition and safety. Improvements can make it easier and safer to manage activities of daily living such as stair climbing, bathing, and cooking. Importantly home repairs and improvements will promote senior independence by allowing people to remain in their homes. The work is coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.
Some of what can be done includes installation and removal of storm windows, air conditioners, and screens; construction of floorboard, wheelchair ramps, masonry repairs; step, porch, and floor support repair or replacement, cleaning of gutters, installation of grab bars, transfer benches, minor plumbing repairs, and hand rails.
Many of the improvements can help people save money on their utility bills. This can include items such as windowpane replacement, reglazing, installation of energy conservation lighting fixtures and CFL bulbs and more. Others that may lead to energy savings include the replacement or repair of damaged interior plaster or drywall and trim and paint as necessary.
Save money of prescription drugs from PACE (Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly) as well as county discount cards. PACE is offered for Pennsylvania residents age 65 or older with limited household incomes. There is another version of the program known as PACENET. The program is open to people who have health insurance or limited prescription benefits through other health insurance. State residents will not be qualified for these medical bill and prescription drug assistance programs if you are already eligible for prescription benefits under the federal or state government Medical Assistance program.
Discount cards are offered by many Pennsylvania counties. Residents, regardless of their income, are given the opportunity to save money when purchasing prescription medications. The cards are free to sign up for, and there is no cost to stay enrolled. Discount cards will help ensure seniors and others will receive the lowest price available for prescription medication. Most retailers and pharmacies accept the cards.
Health care insurance information is offered from the APPRISE insurance counseling program. Specially trained agency on aging staff provide information and counseling regarding the numerous plans covered by Medicare and other government assistance. They can also help people apply for and enroll in the health insurance plan of your choice.
Food pantries, congregate meals, and home delivered meals are offered for seniors, the elderly, and disabled. Seniors centers, churches, and non-profits across Pennsylvania partner with the Office of Aging, and they can provide a good, nutritious hot meal five days a week. It also gives people age 60 and the elderly an opportunity to socialize and enjoy the company of new and old friends alike. You can maintain your health and independence surrounded by people who care about you.
Home delivered meals may be provided to the homebound. They will be nutritionally balanced meals and all items are delivered to a person who is unable to prepare his or her meals, who can’t make it to a local meal site, and who has no one else available to help them.
Area agency on aging sites may also have Farmers Market Vouchers. Qualified senior citizens may be able to receive vouchers that can be used to purchase fresh vegetables and/or fruits grown in PA.
Last, but not least, food pantries in Pennsylvania may be open to low-income individuals and families of all ages, with a focus on seniors. Many people often have to choose between paying rent, bills and buying food. Seniors may sacrifice wholesome meals to afford vital medication. Food pantries can help fill this need and free up money for other basic needs and bills. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging will have information on local centers.
Rental, shelter, and housing programs for the homeless may be provided. Homeless Assistance Caseworkers across Pennsylvania assist seniors, disabled, and elderly people who are facing eviction or who may be currently homeless. The resources provide both prevention and intervention services, including information on emergency rental assistance. The goal is to help meet basic needs of seniors in the immediate or near future.
Case management is offered as part of the housing programs. The advice and social services offered by the agency on aging centers are designed to people in identifying the needs and the reasons why they are facing eviction or have became homeless or near homeless. Case Management will focus on providing people with the tools and skills that seniors and elderly need to promote self-sufficiency and to get back on track with paying their rent. Services include job preparation, budgeting, life skills, home management and referrals to local services and government assistance in Pennsylvania, if necessary.
Emergency rental assistance may be offered as a last resort. If someone is in danger of being evicted from their home or apartment, your local office of aging may be able to assist seniors with payments for rent, utilities, and security deposits. Social workers and case managers will work hard with your landlord to find a solution that will maximize your chances for staying in your home or apartment. They can help you explore rental programs. If there are no other options, then the case manager will work with you to find a more affordable apartment in your local Pennsylvania town. The program may be able to help someone move out of shelter into a low income, affordable apartment.
Transportation is offered by many Pennsylvania office of aging centers. Persons age 60 and older may be able to access transportation to social service agency appointments, medical and doctor appointments, senior centers, pharmacies, grocery shopping, work, banks, Laundromats, volunteer work assignments and rides to visiting immediate family members who are in a hospital or nursing facility. These trips are usually limited to nearby locations, and are provided for free or at no cost to qualified seniors.
Heating and utility bill assistance for seniors may be provided from the Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This resource helps seniors, elderly, and the disabled who meet low income standards pay their winter heating or summer cooling bills through energy assistance grants. People do not need to have an unpaid utility bill to receive energy bill assistance. Seniors can also receive aid from this program without being on welfare or government support.
If a senior citizen applies at an office of aging and is found to be eligible for LIHEAP, a cash grant payment will be sent directly to the utility company/fuel dealer. The cash payment will be credited on the applicant’s monthly utility bill.
In addition to the funds paid out from the LIHEAP cash program, households experiencing a heating crisis (such as a disconnection) may be eligible for additional assistance and cash benefits through one of the two components of the crisis program.
Crisis Exception Component is offered for elderly and seniors who are without heat, meaning their service was shut off or they are running out of fuel or heating oil.
Property Tax and Rent Rebate is offered to some Pennsylvania families. Certain seniors may qualify for a rebate payment of up to $650 for their taxes or rent. The amount of the rebate payments vary according to the senior’s income and the amount of property taxes or rent they paid.
Senior Community Centers across Pennsylvania are available and for seniors and the elderly. People can stop by for social activities, free nutritious meals, and other programs such as health and consumer education, health screenings, creative arts, exercise, and other special events which are unique to each individual center.
Information and Assistance is available at most agency on aging locations. This is a process of assessment and information giving that enables individuals to make informed choices regarding their families or individual particular needs. Get information regarding the many assistance programs and services that oare ffered through the agency or the state of Pennsylvania. Additional examples are below.
- Family Caregiver Support Program – Includes financial assistance to family care providers as well as educational services.
- Nursing Home Respite Services – Rest and respite for overnight absences of caregivers.
- Advocacy – Representation and support, both administratively and legislatively, for the needs of older adults and seniors as a group or individually.
- Home Medical Care – Services such as skilled nursing, therapy and health services.
- Personal Assistance Service – Includes in-home help with meal preparation, bathing and other personal hygiene, laundry, and shopping needs.
- Free Legal Services – The agency on aging offices partner with law firms to provide non-fee generating civil cases via a contract with Pennsylvania firms.
- Jobs and Employment Services – The state of Pennsylvania can offer subsidized employment for training purposes. Available to unemployed and low income persons age 55 and older.
- Ombudsman – Department of aging centers can receive complaints, investigate and assists in resolving issues about quality of long term and health care.
Dial 717-541-4214 to reach the association of Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging.