Seniors and their families often face challenges in meeting their daily needs, whether it is dealing with pandemic-related problems such as access to groceries and social isolation or ongoing health, housing and nutritional requirements. Fortunately, there are many agencies devoted to providing information and services to meet those needs – many of them no-cost.
The federal Administration for Community Living is one of the best places to start. The Administration is dedicated to helping seniors and people living with disabilities remain in their communities. The Eldercare Locator – www.eldercare.acl.gov or 1-800 677-1116 – provides links to local resources. The site asks for a zip code or a city/state to make the connection. The National Area Agencies on Aging have put out a useful pamphlet describing the Eldercare Locator: www.n4a.org/files/EC-Connections-EngA-508.pdf).
For example, in Tallahassee it links to the local Area Agency on Aging, which can serve as a one-stop resource for most needs, including nutrition and Meals on Wheels service, health insurance and caregiving, employment and technology. The Eldercare Locator for Tallahassee also provides links to the Florida Department of Elders Affairs, Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Legal Services of North Florida, the Florida Senior Legal Hotline, and the Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE) program for help with Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap and other insurance.
Finally, there are resources to deal with specific issues. For example, the Medicare Rights Center – 1-800-333-4114 – provides free Medicare counseling and help in getting benefits. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development – www.hud.gov or 1-800-569-4287 – provides free or low-cost assistance for issues like reverse mortgages or evictions. The Office for Older Americans www.consumerfinance.gov/olderAmericans — at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources on retirement security, protection against scammers, and financial planning. Individuals can also file complaints at the CFPB, which, since its establishment in 2021, has provided $14.4 billion in consumer relief by stopping unfair practices and getting consumers restitution.
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