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Rhode Island Agency on Aging and senior assistance programs.

The Area Agency on Aging in Rhode Island supports the state’s senior citizens and elderly. The centers administer a number of assistance programs. Examples include consumer education on health care, medical counseling, case management, caregiver programs, and more. While some of the programs are offered directly by the Rhode Island agency, other services are provided from referrals.

Get information on health care options, prescription drug assistance, and other medical needs. Specialists and case managers can advice of resources such as Medicare, which is the federal government health insurance program for people 65 and older. Or learn about prescription savings from RIPAE. Learn about the four main components of Medicare, which include:

  • Part A - Hospital Insurance and it also covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, home health and hospice care.
  • Part B – Supplemental Medical Insurance and additional coverage for durable medical equipment, physician services, outpatient hospital services, home health, and laboratory and x-rays, ambulance and other services.
  • Part C - Medicare Advantage Insurance Plans.
  • Medicare Part D, which is the federal Prescription Drug Plans.

Prescription medication assistance is offered from Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Elderly (RIPAE). Income and age guidelines need to be met, and people need to be enrolled in the Medicare Part D plan. Benefits of RIPAE include members 65 and older can purchase medications listed in Category B at a discounted price, and also co-payments for prescriptions used to treat medical conditions listed in Category A are based on a variable rate scale.

Case Management can help older Rhode Islanders remain in their current home or apartment as long as possible. In order to qualify for this agency on aging program, the Rhode Island resident needs to be 60 years of age or older, frail, Alzheimer’s victims of any age, homebound, or disabled. Applicant can’t be able to stay in their home without supportive care.




First and foremost, an assessment of their needs will be conducted. This is done in partnership with a case manager, who will develop a plan of care. The agency on aging case manager will assist in securing needed resources, offer support and training for family caregivers, and direct individuals to any other assistance programs. Rhode Island senior citizens with few cash resources and limited incomes may qualify for free or reduced-cost home care services.

Many Rhode Island agency offices work closely with local Community Action Agencies. These are local non-profit social service type agencies (in every town and city) that also help address and alleviate the problems of poverty and low income families through a positive and coordinated approach. They can offer services such as LIHEAP, minor home repairs, weatherization and energy audits, window replacement, and much more. They are also a great place for referrals and information. Read more community action agencies.

Providing information and referral is a key service of the Rhode Island Agency on Aging centers. They do what they can to help seniors, caregivers, and families assure the independence and dignity of elders. Customer Information Specialists are highly trained and can offer guidance. Examples of what they can advice on include Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Elderly (RIPAE), Medicare, health insurance coverage, housing, prescription medication assistance, the Medicare Prescription Drug program (Medicare Part D), Medicaid and more. Call 462-3000.

The Ocean State Senior Dining Program is the state’s primary food assistance program for seniors. It offers nutritionally balanced, hot lunches five days a week. Dozens of sites across the state serve the meals to the disabled, people over 60 years of age, their spouses, and seniors. While a donation is appreciated, the food will be provided even if someone can’t afford it. Transportation is offered to many dining centers and meal sites as well. A second program is the federal government Food Stamp program, which helps low-income and working poor households buy groceries and food.





Heating bill assistance is offered by LIHEAP, or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Funds and grants are offered to income eligible customers in meeting the costs of heating their homes during the winter.

Home Care was designed to help the elderly and functionally impaired senior meet a wide variety of social, medical, and environmental needs. Qualified Rhode Island individuals can be provided with a personal emergency response system, home health aide services, adult day services, food from Meals on Wheels, minor assistive devices, Senior Companion, and also minor home modifications. For most of the Rhode Island Home and Community Care Programs, applicants need to be at least 65 years old and be basically homebound. Individuals on Medicaid may be offered Home Care for free.

Transportation can be arranged by senior centers and agency on aging centers. The RIde program provides affordable transportation services to residents who are 60 and older. Other beneficiaries include handicapped persons under 60 who meet certain criteria. While you need to call days if not weeks in advance to schedule an appointment, transportation is generally available weekdays for senior day care, doctors’ appointments, therapy, meal site lunches, medical tests, kidney dialysis, and cancer treatments. 1-800-479-6902

Rhode Island Legal Services Senior Citizens Program offers legal advice and assistance to people 60 and under. This free or low cost legal services program assists seniors with problems relating to civil issues such as Medical Assistance, housing, Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, predatory lending, and other problems. Call 1-800-662-5034 or 1-800-637-4529. A free program is available for certain low-income seniors, while lower rates are offered for moderate income seniors and elderly.

Senior housing is available from Rhode Island Housing. Thousands of apartments are offered for low-income seniors, persons with disabilities, and families. Many units are section 8 apartments. Not only can someone receive housing from the apartment, but they also receive other services, case management, and assistance in a setting designed to offer choice, independence, and dignity. Many of the residents must be ambulatory, whoever they can’t require on-going nursing care or extensive medical treatment.





The Agency of Aging can also refer people to the nationwide information program known as Eldercare Locator. This is a nationwide, free service to help seniors (and their families) find information about community services for older people. Get referrals to programs for affordable housing, home delivered meals, free transportation, legal advice, adult day care, housing options, home health services, and additional resources. Get more details on Eldercare locator.

Address and phone numbers of aging centers in Rhode Island

Aquidneck Island, Child & Family Service of Newport County, call 848-4185
East Bay Community Action, 437-1000
Kent County, Westbay Community Action, phone 732-4660
Northern RI, NRI Community Services, telephone 822-6208
Cranston, Comprehensive CAP, dial 467-9610
Northwest, Tri-Town Community Action, call 519-1910
Providence County, Meals on Wheels of RI, telephone 351-6700
Woonsocket, Family Resources CAP, phone number 766-0900
South County/Coventry, NRI Community Services, call the agency at 822-6208

By Jon McNamara

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