Paying for Home- and Community-Based Services: Lessons From Oregon

Many older adults need services to stay in their homes or in community-based settings. Getting help with shopping, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, bathing, dressing or mobility can extend community living. But Medicare and private health insurance do not pay for these types of services, and Medicaid (which does) is limited to people with low incomes and almost no savings. As a result, most people pay for these services out of their own pockets. The Symposium Even people who can …

Help for Family Caregivers

While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children – one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught …

Supporting Seniors, Family Caregivers: Where Does Your State Rank?

My sister always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I was reminded of this adage when I heard Loren Colman, Minnesota assistant commissioner of continuing care, explain how Minnesota is consistently ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to providing support for seniors and their family caregivers. “We planned,” he said.  Indeed, Minnesota developed a plan decades ago to transform the way the state would deliver long-term care services to older residents in their …

Study: Support Services a Good Alternative to Nursing Home

You may feel you have stark choices for frail and elderly family members: Keep them at home without the help and support they need, or help them move to an assisted living facility or a nursing home to get those services. A new report from the Center for Housing Policy (CHP) encourages a third possibility: getting services for them in their home and community. The report, produced by the research arm of the National Housing Conference, says that option is less expensive and allows …

The New Federal Rule on Home- and Community-Based Services: All Eyes on the States

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently took an important step toward helping low-income people with disabilities. In January, CMS issued a final rule [CMS-2249-F/CMS-2296-F] giving states new flexibility and responsibilities for using Medicaid dollars to pay for home- and community-based services (HCBS). The rule – which should help Medicaid recipients overcome fragmented systems of care and limited options for living in the community – is likely to affect states in three significant ways. New Definition of …

Choosing Home for Someone Else

I am my husband’s guardian. I was appointed by the Vermont probate court after a court hearing over 13 years ago. He had suffered a severe stroke, was disabled and could no longer manage his affairs. Although he had lost his speech, he developed his own sign language and could make his wishes known, at least to those of us who were close to him. And he clearly wanted to go home, and to make sure, he celebrated leaving the …