Wisconsin Agency on Aging programs.
Seniors in Wisconsin who need help can find assistance from their local Agency on Aging center. Offices around the state will assist individuals with addressing a wide variety of needs. Learn where the elderly can turn to for meals, prescription medication assistance, food boxes, legal aid, and caregiver programs.
Home-delivered meals, food boxes, nutrition programs, and meal sites are all available for seniors. It is well recognized that healthy nutrition is critical for seniors and key to their overall health. Adequate food intake and the correct diet is important for older adults, and poor eating habits or lack of food is the biggest threat to a seniors independence and overall health condition.
One option is Wisconsin’s Elderly Nutrition Program. The government funded and administered food assistance program provides quality nutritious meals to any residents aged 60 and older. Each distributed meal provides the elderly at least 1/3 of the daily amounts of nutrients needed to promote good health. While a donation is appreciated, the food will be provided for free by your area on aging office if you can’t afford to pay for it.
Senior centers and other non-profits in Wisconsin serve as meal sites and feeding centers. Older people and senior citizens can gather at a local center or office for free food, companionship, and fun. Most of the meals are served at lunch, but some senior centers, churches, or charities may serve a hot meal at dinner too.
If you can’t make it to a nearby senior center or agency on aging center, then home delivered meals may be the best option for you. The program is offered for people who meet certain eligibility requirements, including they need to be homebound. Food is offered for people who still need a nutritious meal. Friendly volunteers and other drivers bring home-style, delicious, and freshly prepared meals directly to your door seven days a week. The driver will also check on and provide some quick company to the senior citizen. The meals on wheels program is offered by all county and tribal aging units/ADRCs across Wisconsin. The meals service can be ordered from your local aging office on a temporary basis, for instance if you are laid up due to surgery or recovery from an illness.
Family Caregiver Support is offered for people who are taking care of an elderly family member. Agency on aging runs the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and it provides people with support, information and resources to help caregivers better care for themselves and their loved ones.
Your local office has staff on hand that can help caregivers find solutions to their care giving dilemmas and challenges. This can include setting up services such as transportation and respite care. Or meet with a professional to get information and better understanding of your options for care.
Many people can qualify for support. If you care for an individual with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders regardless of age, or someone over 60 then the National Family Caregiver Support Program may be for you. Also, this Wisconsin program also assists grandparents, uncles, aunts, or other relative caregivers 55 years of age and older who care for teenagers or children under age 19 or someone who is disabled.
Elderly Benefit Specialist Program and Free Legal Services can help senior citizens understand the assistance programs that are available to them. Many times people who need help are unaware what programs exist, or they don’t know how to apply for them. Many of these programs are also complex and difficult to understand. The rules and regulations that govern them, eligibility guidelines, and application processes are not standard and are complicated.
The state of Wisconsin's Elderly Benefit Specialist Program operates across the state and is offered at agency on aging offices. Case managers provide counseling, advocacy, and assistance in the area of consumer law, public benefits, health insurance, public aid, and more to people who are 60 or older.
Case managers and benefit specialists are based in Wisconsin aging offices or your local social service department. The benefit specialists are highly trained, experienced, knowledgeable and their casework supervised by attorneys from mostly pro-bono firms who specialize in public benefits and elder law. The services provided to seniors are free, although donations are always needed.
Wisconsin SeniorCare can help people pay for their prescription medications and drug bills. The federal government Medicare Part D is another option for many individuals. The SeniorCare Rx program can help residents who are 65 or older pay for their prescription coverage for just a $30 annual enrollment fee. While the exact program benefits and amount of aid varies based on the applicants total household income, those people who qualify for the SeniorCare rates pay $15 a month for brand names or $5 a month for generics. Another option is Medicare Part D, which is the federal government program that provides health insurance coverage for both brand-name and generic prescription drugs.
Job training is offered from the Older Worker Program. People over 55 years of age who want to re-enter the workforce due to changes in their financial or personal situation can get help in finding a job and gaining employment. They can acquire new knowledge and skills.
The formal name of this resource is Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE). It is run by agency on aging offices, and it can help people 55 and older learn and acquire new skills by placing them in short term, temporary job training positions. Workers are paid minimum wage while they work, but importantly they gain new skills. The program serves a wide variety of individuals across Wisconsin who are from all walks of life. Training and the part time job is provided by host agencies and non-profits.
Senior utility bill assistance can be provided by the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, or WHEAP. This is offered across the state and can help low income individuals, including seniors, pay their heating and electric bills. Also get emergency aid if you are faced with a crisis.
Transportation is also key to helping seniors stay independent. Many studies show that lack of transportation contributes to seniors feeling isolated, can cause them to face poor health, and decreased quality of life. Almost every community across Wisconsin has some type of free or low cost transportation options available. Some of the transportation choices available to qualified seniors include taxis, buses, vans, or volunteer driver programs. The exact type, price, and availability of transportation programs and services vary by town and city, so call your local agency on aging office for details. Some rides are free, but others will charge people based on a sliding fee scale or a donation basis.
There are three main locations to call as listed below.
- Dane County Area Agency on Agency, 2306 S. Park Street, Madison, WI 53713, call (608) 261-9930.
- Milwaukee County Area Agency on Aging, 1220 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI 53205, phone (414) 289-6874
- Statewide is served by Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, 1414 MacArthur Road, Suite A, Madison, Wisconsin 53714, dial (608) 243-5670