Illinois Department on Aging

Pat Quinn, Governor

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  Most Frequently Asked Questions  

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Below are the questions most frequently asked by people who call the Senior HelpLine. With the answer to each question, weíve provided links to other Web pages or sites that may provide more information. However, please feel free to call the HelpLine staff at 1-800-252-8966, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY) or e-mail for more clarification on any of the questions.

My parents need help cleaning, cooking and shopping. What should I do to help arrange these services?
You can apply for the Community Care Program which provides homemaker and adult day service. A case manager assesses the client and establishes a care plan. Agencies send a trained qualified worker to provide essential tasks. Persons who have too much in assets to qualify for the Community Care Program are given information on private pay services and other options.
For more information, see Assistance in Your Home and Community.

What is case management?
Case management is provided by Case Coordination Units in Illinois. Case Managers conduct home visits and provide assessments of an individualís needs and for what services s/he may qualify. Then Case Managers explain the options available for clients and their families to consider and establish recommended plans of care. Knowing all the options helps seniors and their families make decisions on what best will meet the needs. Case Managers also act as brokers to link seniors to various agencies and services as well as explain eligibilities.
For more information, see Case Management Services.

My spouse cannot be left alone and I need to leave the house occasionally. What can I do?
The local Caregiver Resource Center may be able to provide information on local Respite Services that give caregivers a break in many areas of Illinois. Respite Services provide for someone to come into the home Ė similar to a sitter service Ė while the caregiver runs errands, goes to appointments or handles business. Programs vary throughout the state, and some respite services may have a fee.
For more information, see Family Caregiver Support Program.

My parents monthly income does not meet all of their expenses. What can I do?
A Case Manager can review the financial information and recommend programs and services, which may help with expenses. These include energy assistance programs for utility payments, property tax rebates for qualified persons, or even property tax deferral programs and the homestead exemption. Some persons may not realize that they qualify for food stamps, subsidized housing, nutrition sites, transportation programs and even Supplemental Security Income (SSI) even when the Social Security check is low or the client is not eligible for Social Security. There are many programs and services with varying financial eligibility factors. This is why a Case Manager needs to conduct a comprehensive assessment and then explain the various programs and options.
For more information, see Case Management Services or Assistance in Your Home and Community.

Iím worried that my neighbor is no longer able to care for herself. Is there someone who can check to see that she is safe?
A local Case Coordination Unit can send a professional Case Manager to assess the situation and determine if the client is at risk of self-neglect. Frequently, services are suggested if the senior is receptive to them.
For more information, see Case Management Services or Assistance in Your Home and Community.

How do I get help paying for prescription medications?
There are many options, based on individual needs. One program is the Circuit Breaker and Pharmaceutical Assistance Program which has a household limit as part of the qualifications and Illinois SeniorCare.
For more information, see Pharmaceutical Assistance in Illinois.

Eligible veterans can obtain low cost prescriptions from Veteran Administration Hospitals.
For more information, see Illinois Veteransí Administration.

Persons eligible for Medicaid can obtain prescription medications.
For more information, see Illinois Department of Human Services.

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Program is where certain companies offer free or low cost prescription medications to eligible persons when the physician writes to a specific manufacturer. Many pharmaceutical companies have their own programs. The Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) has a comprehensive list of options.
For more information, contact the Senior HelpLine. You may also link to the Patient's Assistance Program page of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Web site or call 202-835-3400.

I need more information on housing options. Iíve been hearing about assisted living and Supportive Living Facilities. What are these?
The local Area Agency on Aging, Case Coordination Unit or Information and Referral site all have lists of local housing, such as subsidized rental units, retirement communities and assisted living. Waiting lists and eligibilities vary. The Illinois Department of Public Aid provides Supportive Living Facilities. Illinois Department on Aging publishes a "Housing Directory."
For more informationon housing options in Illinois, see Housing Options.

How can I arrange for transportation escort?
Many local programs are available, and they require a reservation.
For information on local services, contact the local Area Agency on Aging, Information and Assistance site, or the Senior HelpLine.
For more information on Transportation Services in general, see Transportation Services.

This is a two-part question. I have had a problem with a long-term care facility, where do I call to report my concerns? Also, I must select a different nursing facility to care for my loved one. Is there a check list or advice on how to select one?
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program can assist with both questions. Upon request, a local Long Term Care Ombudsman will visit the nursing facility resident and advocate on his/her behalf.
For more information on the program or how to reach your local Ombudsman, see Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

For information on how to select a nursing facility, there are several options. They include the local Long Term Care Ombudsman (see the list in the Directory for contact information), the Senior HelpLine and/or linking to any of the Web sites listed in the "Housing and Nursing Homes" section of Web Resources for Seniors.

Also, the Nursing Home Hotline: 800-252-4343, a service of the Illinois Department of Public Health, provides answers and information.

I live 200 miles away from my aunt, and Iím concerned that someone is taking advantage of her finances. What can I do?
People who suspect abuse or exploitation can call either the Senior HelpLine or their local Elder Abuse Investigating Agency (see the list in the Directory) and discuss their concerns with someone. Unfortunately financial exploitation occurs; and Elder Abuse Prevention Agencies, working with the Illinois Department on Aging, conduct thorough investigations.
For more information, see Abuse Prevention and Legal Services.

Can I get a listing of all the programs I may be eligible for?
Yes! The BenefitsCheckUp Web site, provided by the National Council on Aging, enables anyone with Internet access to screen nearly 1,000 public programs/services and identify local contacts. Simply fill out the online questionnaire to find programs that can assist seniors. It's simple, fast, free and confidential.
For more information, contact the Senior HelpLine.

How can I get meals delivered to my motherís house?
The best way to find out about meal delivery programs is to call the local Area Agency on Aging or the Senior HelpLine.
For more information, see Nutrition Programs.

  Frequently Requested Services  

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Are you familiar with these frequently requested services?
  • SSI
  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Property Tax Relief
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Health Insurance Counseling
  • Caregiver assistance
  • Help with utility bills
  • Nutrition Services

These important services can make a big difference in stretching a seniorís monthly fixed income, providing needed benefits and getting services started.

The Senior HelpLine would like to explain these services and provide literature and applications.

Also, seniors who need comprehensive information will be forwarded to their local Case Coordination Unit for comprehensive Case Management Services.

Section Links

Frequently Asked Questions
Information Request Form
National Information & Assistance Sites

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