I know I need help planning for my care, but where do I start?
It can be scary when you find yourself or a loved one struggling to manage daily life. When needs are increasing and you realize you need more help, it may be hard for you to picture what the next stage of life looks like for you or a loved one. Knowing what services are available and being able to communicate your or your loved one’s wishes is a great first step in planning your long-term care solutions. Also, it’s important to remember that what works today may change as you or your loved one’s goals and needs change.
A few signs can indicate that it’s time to start understanding your options: perhaps more symptoms are appearing from a chronic condition, or you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a new condition or illness. Maybe you’ve had a recent fall or accident, or are finding that you need a little more help to do the things that used to be simple. Perhaps you are aging and are wondering what the future might look like for your adult child with a disability. Regardless of the situation, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed as you or your loved ones need more attention.
Don’t worry, it’s never too late to plan for what’s next—or too early. It can take a little work to get everything in order, but planning ahead can create peace of mind, which may be the best gift you can give your family during this life chapter.
If you need help sorting through your options, consider Community Options Counseling.
I want to stay in my home, but daily tasks are becoming more difficult for me. Are there any services available?
Do you find yourself or a loved one having more difficulty with personal or household tasks? Is it getting harder to prepare meals, clean the tub, or get dressed? Whether you’re facing increasing symptoms, a new diagnosis, or a new life stage, there are options available.
Services to help you live at home
Services that can help you more easily manage everyday tasks, feel safer living on your own, and help you maintain a higher level of independence are sometimes called “Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)”. Empowerline counselors can help you explore which of these services you may quality for.
HCBS refers to services like:
- Homemaker: help with light housekeeping or meal prep
- Personal care: help with eating, bathing, grooming and other personal care needs (sometimes called “activities of daily living”)
- Meals delivered to your home
- Transportation to appointments
- Home modification and repair
How do I pay for these services?
If you can afford to pay for these services (called “private pay”), we can help you connect to service options. If you can’t afford to pay, there are HCBS funded through the federal Older Americans Act as well as state and local funds that are available at low or no cost to you.
Just so you are aware, some of the services are limited to individuals over age 60, and, as demand is high and funding is limited, there may be waiting lists for services. Let empowerline counselors help you explore what services might make sense for you.
Extra assistance to help you live at home
Maybe your needs are a little more complex or you or a loved one is starting to require an even higher level of assistance. In Georgia, Medicaid waiver programs provide a higher level of assistance for people who are low-income and functionally impaired to allow them to stay in their homes and communities as an alternative to nursing home placement. The recipient must be Medicaid-eligible to access the Medicaid waiver programs. Depending on the waiver, services can include:
- Adult day health: day programs that are community-based and designed to meet the needs of adults with functional impairments. These programs are structured and comprehensive and provide a variety of health, social and related support services in supervised, protective settings.
- Emergency response systems: devices that connect you or your loved one to a 24/7 call center in case of an emergency.
- Personal support: help with bathing, housekeeping, laundry, grooming, dressing, meal preparation.
- Home delivered meals
- Respite: services that allow you as the caregiver to take a break
Some of the specific Medicaid waiver programs for older persons and adults with disabilities in Georgia include:
- Georgia’s Elderly & Disabled Waiver Programs
- Community Care Services Program (CCSP)—for individuals of any age with disabilities that have the same level of medical, functional, and financial need as for placement in a nursing facility under Medicaid
- Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment (SOURCE)—for frail older persons and individuals with disabilities
- Georgia’s waiver programs for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities
- New Options Waiver Program (NOW) and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP)
- Georgia’s waiver program for people with physical disabilities
- Georgia’s waiver program for children
- The Georgia Pediatric Waiver Program (GAPP)—for medically fragile children
How do I pay for these services?
If you qualify for Georgia Medicaid, these waiver services may be right for you and are available at low or no cost to you. However, as demand is high and funding is limited, there are often waiting lists for services. Find out more about what you might be eligible for.
Things are getting more difficult for me to manage. What if I can no longer stay in my home?
Are you worried that you or a loved one will no longer be able to safely remain at home? Are you experiencing more frequent falls? Or maybe a loved one is experiencing advanced dementia, making it harder for them to live independently. Residential long-term services and supports options in Georgia include personal care homes, assisted living communities, and nursing homes that may be the right fit. Visit empowerline’s housing options page to learn more about these options.
I’m already living in a nursing home, but I want to move back into the community. Are there services that can help me?
Being in a nursing home doesn’t always mean you or your loved one needs to live there permanently. Maybe you were admitted after a stroke or an accident, and with rehabilitation complete, you feel that you can successfully move back home. Or maybe your mother has been living in a nursing home, but now that you’re retired, you feel you can take care of her in your own home.
At any time during a nursing home stay, you can ask the nursing home social worker to make a referral to empowerline to learn about your options in metro Atlanta. In fact, the nursing home should be asking you during your assessment whether you would like to receive information about returning to the community. If you say “yes”, they are required to contact empowerline for us to provide you with that information.
After empowerline receives a referral, one of our Certified Options Counselors will visit you or your loved one in the nursing home to discuss options and services that can help you move back into the community. Options Counseling is a coaching and decision-support model in which you or your loved one engages with a Certified Options Counselor who will discuss available long-term service options and help you determine the most appropriate services to meet your needs and preferences to help you successfully move back home. In addition to the long-term supports and services listed above, there are several programs people living in nursing homes may be eligible for to support them during a transition out of the nursing home.
Help to transition out of a nursing home
Empowerline helps individuals transition out of nursing homes into community settings through two programs:
If you are a Medicaid eligible nursing home resident and have been living in a nursing home for at least three months, empowerline can help your transition through a program called Community Transitions (formerly known as Money Follows the Person [MFP]). We use Community Transitions to pay for your expenses involved in any move, such as acquiring furniture and household items, assisting with moving costs, home modifications, and utility deposits, for up to 365 days after your transition. Visit Georgia’s Department of Community Health for more information about the Money Follows the Person program.
Nursing Home Transition Program
If you have been in a nursing home for at least 30 days and are at least 55 years old, you may be eligible for the Nursing Home Transition program, whether or not you are eligible for Medicaid. This program is similar to Money Follows the Person in that it will help you get set back up in the community either in your own apartment, a personal care home, or at home with loved ones. Empowerline can help you transition under this program and connect you to other services to enable you to live in the community.
Need more help planning for your aging family member? Empowerline is here for you
If you’re still not sure where to start, empowerline is here to help. Our counselors can help you understand what long-term service options are available and how the cost of those services are covered.
Additional resources to help plan for long-term services and supports for yourself or your loved one
Planning for Long-Term Care
This guide from AARP will help you understand the needs of older adults as well as some of the myths and facts around long-term care.
Long-term care: Is where you live now “aging friendly?”
This short video from the Administration for Community Living will help you identify the best and safest environment for you or your family member who is aging or living with a disability can live and thrive in the community.
Find your path forward
The resources at LongTermCare.gov can help you understand the basics and make decisions around long-term care planning.
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