What is the Office of Aging?

Two years ago at age 65, I qualified for Medicare. In order to “get it right,” I called on an expert. Her name was Sandy and she worked at the local area office of the aging. Sandy navigated me through the application and helped me find a great, supplemental plan. I have been very satisfied with the results of our collaboration.

A few months back I was talking to a friend who is having some medical issues. She rejected my suggestion she go to her local, aging office. She told me they had too much money to qualify for services. My friend thought the aging office services are only for poor people!

Department of Aging

In Pennsylvania, aging office services are open to everyone age 60 and above regardless of income. If you live in Pennsylvania and have an “unmet need” you are in. My unmet need was needing to understand the Medicare system. About a dozen years ago, I went to the aging office in my father's county to get him a reputable home health aide, a “Daddy Daycare” program, and van transportation. His unmet needs were reliable care and transportation. Those needs were satisfied through the aging office.

Finding help with transportation

And speaking of transportation, if I have trouble with my van service, I complain to the aging office. They administer that, too.

And also while I am speaking about transportation, I probably should mention that while subsidized by the Pennsylvania Lottery - and, of course, Gus the groundhog - my transportation is not free to me. It is on a sliding scale. I expect I am paying “top dollar” at $2.10 a regular trip and $ 0.75 for a medical appointment. For many, the service is free. Administered locally by the aging office.

Support and Education

There are a number of other things the aging office does. Their web page suggests they host education and support groups for caregivers. They offer programs for living with and managing chronic health conditions.

There is a program called Domiciliary Care that sounds like foster care for us older folks. People who need assistance, supervision and support are matched with families that can provide them with those things.

What other home help does the office of aging provide

Even if you don’t want to be a “foster child” in someone else’s home, preferring to stay in your own home, you can still get some help from the aging office. If you need modifications to make your home safer, the aging office says it can help you with that. It also says it can help you with basic cleaning, shopping and laundry in your own place. The website even says they will help you with pest control. Many of the things we need to stay safely in our homes appear to be available through the aging office.

Medication delivery

Here’s another interesting little wrinkle: the aging office can get your medication delivered from the pharmacy for free. Pretty good for we visually impaired folks who no longer drive.

There are other programs offered by the aging office I just mentioned some that I have already used or thought you would find interesting. The main point I want to get across is there is a variety of free or low-cost services available through your local office of the aging. If advancing age and disability have you struggling, consider the aging office.

Editor's note: You can learn more about state aging and disability offices at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Services may differ by state.

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