Many seniors will reach a point where they need some extra support to help them stay living at home. Maybe they need some financial support because they are having trouble making ends meet. Or maybe they need help at home with some of those day-to-day activities that they can no longer do for themselves. Maybe driving is no longer an option and they need help finding transportation.
Whatever their need might be, we’ve put together a short list of government-supported programs and resources that can help seniors and family caregivers here in metro Detroit and southeast Michigan. We can’t promise any of these resources will have just what you’re looking for (many of the programs have financial or other eligibility requirements), but the list is a good place to start when looking for help for an elderly parent, spouse or loved one in southeast Michigan.
If you know a senior who is struggling to make ends meet, this free website run by the National Council on Aging can help you find federal, state and private benefit programs that might help lighten the financial load. Their online, interactive questionnaires walk you through to see if you or your loved one might be eligible for help. There are programs to help with health care costs, food assistance, utility bills and more. The BenefitsCheckUp.org site also helps you enroll in the programs.
If you know a senior who served in wartime (even for a day), they may be eligible for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit or Housebound benefit. These are special pension supplements offered by the VA that can help seniors afford home care services. The programs are designed to help veterans with a financial need, so there are eligibility requirements you will have to meet. You must also have served for 90 consecutive days, with at least one of those days being during wartime. Surviving spouses are also eligible for the benefits. You can get eligibility info and all the details at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
This free and unbiased resource operates throughout Michigan. Its team of highly trained volunteer counselors can help seniors and their families answer questions related to Medicare and Medicaid and can also help give you guidance when choosing a plan. The program is available to any Medicare or Medicaid recipient or their family, regardless of income. There are also several programs offered through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that can help low-income Medicare recipients with premiums or prescription costs. The counselors at MMAP can help you see if you or your loved one might qualify. (They will even help you enroll if you do.) You can reach MMAP at (800) 803-7174 or visit the Area Agency on Aging 1-B website for more info on the program.
Area Agencies on Aging receive funding from various federal, state and local sources to help bring services to seniors on the local level. These agencies can be a great resource for families—especially those without a lot of financial resources to spend on long-term care. Your local Area Agency on Aging should be first on your list to call if you need help for an older adult. There are three Area Agencies on Aging serving southeast Michigan and metro Detroit:
Serves six counties in southeast Michigan, including Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties
Serves the city of Detroit, Hamtramck ,Harper Woods, Highland Park, and the Grosse Pointes
Serves western Wayne County
Services that Area Agencies on Aging provide (and the way they provide them) may vary, but most offer some type of assistance finding resources, some type of direct care programs and help with meals for homebound seniors.
If you have an older loved one who lives out of state or in another area of Michigan, you can visit the Eldercarelocator at eldercare.gov and find the contact information for the local Area Agency on Aging serving the location where your loved one resides.
If you’re in the six-county region of southeast Michigan that the Area Agency on Aging 1-B serves, you can call us for help with:
Finding Local Resources to Help a Senior in Need
Our free Information and Assistance Telephone Line is staffed by “experts in aging” who know all about the organizations, programs, resources and services for older adults in our region. They can answer questions on finding housing, questions about what benefits a senior might qualify for, what companies in your area offer home care or how to find transportation for a senior who can no longer drive. It’s an invaluable resource that’s available to any senior (or anyone who is concerned about a senior) in our six-county region. The Area Agency on Aging 1-B Information and Assistance line is open Monday –Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also use the AAA 1-B online assistance form to ask your question.
The AAA 1-B has government-funded programs that can bring care into the home to help seniors with activities of daily living. These programs are based on financial need, so you or your loved one will have to meet eligibility requirements. And because so many people need care in our area, you may not be able to receive care right away, but instead might be placed on a waiting list. To see if you or your loved one might qualify and learn more about the programs, visit the In-Home Care section of the AAA 1-B website.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels can be a big help to a homebound senior who is living alone. Seniors receive a weekday meal delivery—usually from a friendly volunteer who stops for a few minutes to chat and check in. This friendly visit helps make sure that homebound seniors aren’t isolated and are safe. This program has no financial eligibility requirements. It’s available for anyone 60 or older who is homebound (This means they cannot leave the home without assistance.) A small donation is usually requested, but no one is turned away if they cannot pay. Find out more about the AAA 1-B Meals on Wheels program.
Adult Day Services
Adult Day Services helps families who are caring for an older adult who may not be able to be left unsupervised or unattended—either because of memory or cognition impairments (due to Alzheimer’s or dementia) or because of they have very high care needs. Adult Day services provide a place that a family can bring a loved one on a regular basis while their family caregiver works, runs errands or just takes a much-needed break from their caregiving duties. The Area Agency on Aging 1-B (AAA 1-B) provides direct funding to help support the operations of some adult day programs in the six-county region we serve. Some of these AAA 1-B-funded programs may offer a reduced fee to families who have a financial need. To see a full list of Adult Day Centers that the AAA 1-B funds, visit the AAA 1-B website. You will need to talk directly to the program to see if you qualify.
The AAA 1-B’s myride2 service provides a “transportation concierge” that helps older adults find reliable, affordable transportation. Seniors can call us, tell us where they want to go and we’ll arrange the ride at no charge. (Seniors do have to pay for the transportation itself.) The service is available in Macomb, Oakland and western Wayne counties. We also offer Mobility Options Counseling to help seniors who are transitioning from driving find other transportation options.
If you know a senior who resides in the Michigan counties of Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair of Washtenaw who is in need of assistance, call the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although our phone line can sometimes get busy and you may experience a wait, you will always find a friendly and very knowledgeable voice at the other end of the phone once you’re connected. You can also use our AAA 1-B online assistance form to submit your question electronically.