Resources for Seniors in Oregon
Oregon has a median age of 39.6, making it older than the national average. About one and a half million of the state residents are 50+. This represents 37% of the entire population. Older residents 60+ are represented by 24.2%. 11.9% of seniors aged 65+ are living on their own. Read more at https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=Oregon&g=0400000US41&tid=ACSDP1Y2018.DP05. The percentage of older people in Oregon is higher than the national average, but out of the number, only about 12% are people of color, which is significantly lower than the national average, standing at 28%. Generally, the cost of senior living in Oregon is a bit here, but there are several programs and perks helping seniors to live quality lives in Oregon.
Oregon is definitely an expensive state to retire from, considering several factors, including the housing index, which stands at 118.00. The good news? Seniors have numerous opportunities to thrive in Oregon, and sometimes many retirees’ benefits outweigh the challenges they go through after retirement. Also, wages for older adults aged 65 and above are better than the national average. There is a small percentage (higher than the national average) of seniors aged 55+ still working as opposed to other states.
Senior Living Options
Older adults in Oregon have several living options, depending on their needs and circumstances:
- Independent Living: This option is perfect for seniors who prefer staying independent. It means they are active, healthy, and can thrive on their own without assistance with daily living or constant health care. Seniors opting for this kind of living can choose to join a 55+ or a 65+ community. These facilities are over 300 in Oregon and have walking trails, pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers, and more. Their cost in Oregon ranges between $1,207 and $3,004 per month.
- Assisted Living: Over 600 Assisted Living facilities exist in Oregon and they cost between $2,196 and $5,463 per month. The living option is suitable for older adults in need of attentive caregivers, social opportunities, healthcare services, and local activities.
- Nursing Homes: Nursing homes are for older adults who need constant healthcare because they are suffering from serious chronic infections. The average cost of a nursing home surpassed $10,000 in 2020 and requires seniors and their loved ones to plan to ensure they can comfortably pay for long-term care services.
- Memory Care Facilities: These institutions are designed for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other ailments related to memory. Over 400 memory care facilities offer long-term care services in Oregon, and the average cost is $5,624.
Financial Assistance for Seniors
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The purpose of TANF is to provide cash support to low-income seniors who face daily struggles to become self-sufficient. The goal of this program is to reduce the number of older adults living in poor conditions and offer them economic opportunities and community benefits to reduce dependency and promote self-sufficiency among them. Seniors can use the benefits to buy food and clothing or pay their utility bills, including rent and heating costs. Read more at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/assistance/CASH.
Housing Assistance for Seniors
Aging Americans find it challenging to find safe and affordable housing. It’s a good thing Oregon has several programs and services to help seniors suffering from homelessness, living in unstable housing conditions, or being unable to pay for their housing because of low-come.
The Oregon Elderly Rental Assistance (ERA) Program
ERA provides rental support to renters aged 58+ through tax relief. To qualify, renters’ income must be less than $10,000, use at least 20% of their earned income to pay rent, are homeless, or live in unstable housing conditions. More information is available here.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)
HCVP offers rental support to elderly persons facing challenges in paying their rent. The program provides vouchers that pay up to 40% of the seniors’ rent. To apply for the program support, older adults are required to provide their income information, including tax returns, social security, and statements; the size of the family; proof of immigration status and citizenship; and total assets. Also, they may be asked to provide information related to medical expenses, prescriptions, and health insurance payments. Click here to apply for rental assistance.
Public Housing Program
Public Housing Program is committed to helping seniors obtain safe and affordable housing. Public housing can include duplexes, high-rise departments, and single-family homes. To be eligible for the program support, the elderly must meet the low-income limits in their area (80% of median income). The local Public Housing Authorities administer the program in different areas and have all the details one may need to apply for and obtain quality housing. Find your area Public Housing Agency here.
Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
This program is specifically designed to meet the housing needs of Oregon seniors and people living with a disability. The goal is to offer rental assistance while promoting independence among seniors finding it difficult to pay for their housing. The program extends its support to assist with daily living to older adults who may need such resources. Support services may include help with bathing, grooming, and feeding. Other services include counseling, transportation, and referrals. Older persons aged 62+ and earning 50% of the area median income or less are the ones eligible for this program support. the type of housing this program offers includes one-bedroom apartments with kitchens and bathrooms. These apartments may include grab bars, ramps, and nonskid flooring, depending on the needs of the applicant. Click here to apply.
Home Repair Assistance For Seniors
Owning a home is an American dream, and many people strive for it. But it comes with a lot of responsibilities, including repairs and modifications to maintain the safety and health of the residents. Fortunately, there are programs and services in Oregon to assist older adults with home repairs.
Restore Health and Safety (RHS) Program
RHS is designed to provide seniors with financial support to help repair and improve their housing conditions. The goal is to protect their health and safety and that of their loved ones. The program services include:
- Upgrades to code compliance
- Emergency repairs
- Repairs for structural integrity
- Repairs to improve accessibility, like installing grab bars for seniors living with disabilities
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) allocates the program funds to qualified organizations to serve the interests of low-income homeowners. The applicants must provide proof of risk of living in unsafe and unhealthy homes or about to face displacement because they are not safe in their current living conditions. Visit https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/homeownership/Pages/improve-a-home.aspx for more details about the program.
USDA’s Section 504 Home Repair Program
This program provides home repair support to older adults through grants to help them remove health and safety hazards from their homes. Only seniors aged 62+ are eligible for this program assistance. Applicants can receive up to a $10,000 grant and must be repaid if the elderly homeowner sells or change the ownership of the property within three years or receives financial support. visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices to apply for a home repair grant.
Home Access and Repair for the Disabled and Elderly Program (HARDE)
HARDE offers seniors in Washington County funds for home repairs. Applicants may qualify for grant funds of up to $8,000. Floorings and damaged foundations are some of the major causes of accidents that should be addressed to improve the safety of homeowners. The elderly persons can use the HARDE funds to enhance flooring and repair damaged foundations. Read more at https://www.co.washington.or.us/CommunityDevelopment/HousingRehabilitation/index.cfm.
Home Access Grants and Loans
This program provides financial support to older adults in need of home modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, bathroom accessibility, kitchen accessibility, and widened doorways. The program supports seniors in Clackamas County. Through this program, seniors may also qualify for loans with 3% interest and deferred payment. Find out more at https://www.clackamas.us/communitydevelopment/repair.html.
Accessibility Improvement Program
Accessibility improvement Program offers home repair support to seniors in the City of Eugene. The program funds come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Older adults should use the money to make accessibility improvements and get rid of architectural barriers. Seniors can also use the money to install strobe smoke alarms. Grants and loans are each available for up to $5000. Seniors applying for grants do not have to repay them. The property must be within the city limits of Eugene. Repair support is limited to living areas only and older adults must meet the low-income limits (50% of Eugene Area Median Income). Learn more about the program at https://www.eugene-or.gov/4051/Accessibility-Improvement-Program.
Healthcare Assistance for Seniors
As older adults’ ages advance, they tend to suffer certain ailments, which can be difficult to maintain on low incomes or lack health insurance coverage. Luckily, Oregon has several medical and health care assistance programs and services to support seniors. Most of these benefits are administered by Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). Seniors may also qualify for certain long-term care services through some of the programs. Working older adults and the disabled are also covered in these programs.
Oregon Medicare for the Elderly
Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed to help seniors pay their medical expenses. To qualify, the older adult must be at least 65 years, or younger, if disabled.
Medicare Savings Programs
Medicare Savings Programs help older adults with Medicare pay for their hospital bills and other medical expenses. Eligibility requirements include meeting low-income limits and receiving Medicare Part A. Income limits change every year, depending on the national cost of living. The programs’ benefits packages are divided into three categories:
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB): this program pays for Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. Seniors applying for the program assistance must have income not exceeding $1,133.
- Qualified Disabled Worker (QDW): This program supports disabled seniors with Medicare Part A plans who are not eligible for Social Security because they are working. The program pays for Medicare premiums. The income limit is $2,265
- Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary and Qualified Individual (SMB and SMF): Help older adults pay for their Medicare Part B premiums, and the income limit is $1,359.
Visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/SENIORS-DISABILITIES/pages/qmb.aspx for more information.
Also known as the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), Medicaid helps seniors pay their medical bills and is administered by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The Oregon Supplemental Income Program-Medical (OSIMP) is the program through which older adults receive medical care. Under this program, seniors in long-term care facilities are covered, that is healthcare costs associated with assisted living, adult foster care, and nursing home services. Medicaid Oregon also pays for non-medical services given to frail older adults living in their homes. Medicaid programs have slightly different eligibility requirements as well as benefits:
- Nursing Home Medicaid: anyone eligible for this program assistance will receive support, which is only provided in nursing homes.
- Medicaid Waivers: This program operates on a wait-list basis, and support is limited to a specific number of qualified seniors. The purpose of the program is to delay the need for older adults to join nursing homes. Qualifying adults may receive services from their homes, adult day cares, adult foster care, or assisted living facilities.
- Regular Medicaid: this program is offered to all eligible seniors. Services may include personal care assistance or long-term care support.
More information on Oregon Medicaid for the elderly is available at https://www.medicaidplanningassistance.org/medicaid-eligibility-oregon/.
Help Paying Bills
Oregon Lifeline is a state and federal-run program providing support to low-income older adults to help them pay their telephone bills. The program offers monthly discounts on phone bills (up to $15.25) and broadband bills ($19.25). Seniors residing on federally-recognized Tribal grounds may qualify for a $25 more discount per month. Visit https://www.oregon.gov/puc/pages/oregon-lifeline.aspx for more information.
Affordable Connectivity Program
The purpose of this program is to help older adults pay for their telephone bills. Through the program, qualified seniors can receive up to $30 per month. Seniors earning very low income may receive up to $75 discounts. Qualified applicants may also receive discounts for both cell phones and standard lines. Find out more at https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
OHCS funds LIHEAP to help low-income seniors pay for their home energy bills. The funds are paid directly to the energy service providers. Older adults in need of repair and/or replacement of dysfunctional or unsafe heating systems may also qualify to get help from LIHEAP. Read more about the program here.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP offers food benefits to low-income seniors and their families. The benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, and older adults can use it to purchase healthy food products from stores where the card is accepted. Seniors are not allowed to use the benefits of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, or any other substance-related product. Visit https://www.adrcoforegon.org/consite/index.php for more information.
Oregon Older Adult Meals Program
Also known as Meals on Wheels, the Older Adult Meals Program offers meals to seniors across the state, and anyone aged 60+ can receive food. The program does use income limits to determine those who qualify for meals.
Senior Farm Direct Nutrition Program
The purpose of this program is to offer low-income elderly people checks to enable them to purchase fresh local farm produce from the farmers’ markets participating in the service. The program only runs from June through November every year, so seniors must ensure they apply in that period. Application for this program does not interfere with other food programs, such as SNAP or Medicare benefits. The goal of this program is to enhance nutrition among seniors and support local producers. The Oregon Health Authority in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services runs this program. Eligibility requirements include:
- Seniors must attain the age of at least 62 by April 1 of the current year.
- Be a SNAP or Medicaid beneficiary on April 1 of the current year.
- Meet low-income limits (below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level)
- Not receiving food support in their current living situation.
Visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/seniors-disabilities/sua/pages/sfdnp.aspx for more details.
Transportation Assistance for Seniors
Office of Development Disabilities Services (ODDS) – Transportation Assistance
ODDS offer transportation to older adults in Oregon under K-Plan – a Medicaid state plan option authorized under the Affordable Care Act, which allows Oregon to offer community-based services while receiving a 6% increase in federal medical assistance funds. So, under this plan, the ODDS do not offer transport assistance to seniors planning to get to their medical appointments, unless they have health insurance, whereby, the benefits will be used to cover these costs. ODDS provide Employment/Day Support Activity (DSA) transportation for seniors if they need daily living care services in the course of transportation or upon reaching their destination are receiving benefits provided by ODDS. Another type of transportation authorized under this service is Community Transportation which allows the older adults to access their local communities and meet their ADLs. Monthly transportation costs shouldn’t exceed $577.32.
Assistance Given Senior Veterans and Disabled
The General Assistance Program (GA)
GA offers financial support to elderly people with severe disabilities who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. ODHS Aging and People with Disabilities, Collaborative Disability Determination Unit (CDDU) administers this program. However, the senior applicant’s age must not exceed 64, and not have a minor child living with them. Other eligibility requirements include meeting Oregon State residency, meeting the description of severe disability as detailed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), being homeless or at risk of suffering homelessness, and meeting the eligibility criteria of the SSI. Read more at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/SENIORS-DISABILITIES/SPPD/Pages/General-Assistance-Program.aspx.
Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pension Program
This program provides senior veterans facilities to improve their quality of life by helping with daily tasks. Eligible senior veterans and their spouses can qualify if they need support with ADLs, including bathing, dressing, eating, transportation, and medication management. Qualified seniors can also use the benefits to settle costs associated with home care, assisted living, skilled nursing home care, or daycare facilities. Visit https://www.veteranaid.org/veterans-benefits-oregon/ for more details.
Assistance for Seniors from Charities and Nonprofits
Support Northwest Housing Alternatives Inc (NHA) works to offer housing opportunities to older adults by offering affordable housing options. Established in 1982, NHA is the leading nonprofit in Oregon offering affordable housing to older adults. Visit https://nwhousing.org/about-us/mission-and-history/ for more information.
Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas County Inc offers resources to homebound, frail, and geographically isolated seniors. The organizations strive to improve independence and quality of life among seniors. Learn more about the program at https://seniorcitizenscouncil.com/services/.
Volunteers of America Oregon works to empower seniors and uplift them from their vulnerable states by promoting self-determination among them. Visit https://www.voaor.org/ for more information.
Clackamas Service Center is dedicated to supporting homeless and low-income seniors by offering critical services, including clothing support, meals, medical assistance, and groceries. The organization only operates in Clackamas County. Visit file://localhost/url for more information.
Community Action Network comprises a network of 17 Community Action Agencies, dedicated to enhancing the lives of low-income older adults through programs and services. Find out more at https://caporegon.org/who-we-are/the-community-action-network/.
Community Action Partnership of Oregon works with Community Action to support low-income older adults by advocating for resources. Read more at https://caporegon.org/.