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Campaign To Raise Awareness On Senior Resources

Chautauqua County Office for the Aging is excited to participate in the 2019 “Home for the Holidays” campaign, led by the Eldercare Locator, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and the U.S. Administration for Community Living in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

The goal of the campaign is to ensure that older adults and their caregivers are aware of the many local resources available in communities around the country to support older adults who may need to make home modifications to ensure their homes meet their evolving mobility needs.

Launched every year during the holiday season, Home for the Holidays encourages discussion of important issues affecting older Americans at a time of the year when family and friends often gather. The new consumer brochure that is the centerpiece of this year’s campaign, Modifying Your Home for Healthy Aging, aims to ensure that older adults and their caregivers are aware of the services and programs available in communities around the country to support them as they modify their homes for successful aging.

Many older adults living in Chautauqua County will likely experience changes to their mobility as they age.

As a result of these changes, many older adults and their caregivers will turn to local organizations for support with updating their homes to meet their evolving mobility needs. This can be a daunting process.

Since older adults and their family caregivers may not know where to start on the home modification process, Office for the Aging and our NY Connects helpline is participating in the “Home for the Holidays” campaign to ensure older adults in our community have the tools and resources they need as they update their homes–and continue living in the community. NY Connects is the one number that can connect older adults and their caregivers to services and programs that can support them as they modify their homes for successful aging.

OFA home repairs program can help older adults in need of repairs or modifications to their homes in several ways.

Our Aging Services specialist works side by side with CHRIC (Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp.) to link older adults with reputable contractors who have experience performing home repairs for older adults.

If the older adult is unable to afford the modification, an OFA specialist can counsel them on all the programs through government and local or state agencies that may assist with financing or outright pay for the home repair or modification. Many government programs that pay for these modification may put a temporary lien on your home. Having a lien can scare an older adult into rejecting the assistance, but most liens disappear after a few years as long as you stay in your home. If you sell your home within a year or two of the repair, the lien ensures that you pay back some or all of the repair costs and it prevents abuse of the program.

Some insurances like Medicaid long-term care plans through Fidelis, Kalos, Nascentia and I -Circle may pay for bathroom modifications, ramps, and other access adaptations if it is deemed needed by your case manager. The VA has similar programs for service connected veterans. In addition there is a local fund through Chautauqua Region Community Foundation that may assist veterans and their spouses with necessary repairs and modifications who can’t get help through another source. Office for the Aging can also help people pay for necessary home repairs or modifications but our funding is limited. OFA clients may be responsible for part of the cost (called cost-sharing) according to their income. Cost-sharing for a home repair can be structuring in small monthly payments over 6, 12, or 18 months to make it easier to afford. Reverse mortgages are another option to pay for home repairs or modifications. Office for the Aging recommends you talk to an independent counselor (at CHRIC or another agency) about the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage before you enter into this type of agreement but it is another way to pay for a home repair and other things you may need as you get older.

Chautauqua County has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, so most people who want to stay in their homes as they age may need to make changes for safety or to accommodate changes in mobility. Remember to call our NY Connect helpline for your copy of this year’s Home for the Holidays brochure, Modifying Your Home for Healthy Aging, to get you started. In addition to discussing major home repairs, this brochure also gives tips on simple changes you can make to your home to ease access and for safety.

Every year the Home for the Holidays campaign, chooses different topic for family discussion around the holidays. Other brochures available from previous years include Caregiving Across the Miles: A Resource for Long-distance Caregivers; Living well with Dementia in the Community; Expand Your Circles: Prevent Isolation and Loneliness as you Age; and Home Improvement Scams: Tools to Reduce your Risk. For more information about anything in this article or other local resources available for older adults and their caregivers, contact Chautauqua County NY Connects at ccnyc@co.chautauqua.ny.us, or call (716) 753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582 and check us out on Facebook. If you are looking for help with a relative who lives in another county or another state, call the Eldercare Locator at National Call Center at 1(800) 677-1116 or visit their website at www.eldercare.acl.gov. Happy Holidays!

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