Resources for Seniors in Utah
Utah is one of the youngest states in the US., with only 15.8 of its population representing seniors aged 60+. 7.2 of older adults aged 65+ are living alone in their homes. The state’s median age is 31, younger than the country’s average by seven years. Utah has an affordable cost of living with a one-bedroom apartment going for $682, which is significantly lower than the U.S average, of $842. There are also resources throughout the state to support older adults struggling to live economic-sufficient lives. Here are the resources for seniors in Utah.
Living Options for Seniors in Utah
The elderly Utahans have several senior living options to choose from. Depending on one’s needs and circumstances, older adults can choose independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care.
There are over 85 independent living facilities in Utah costing between $907 and $3,437 per month. These facilities are designed for seniors who are strong and healthy enough to thrive on their own without 24/7 nursing care. Older adults choosing this kind go living can choose between 55+ and 65+ living communities. These facilities offer pools, Jacuzzis, fitness centers, and walking trails. Plus, these seniors are exposed to several socialization opportunities.
Memory Care facilities are for elderly persons with dementia-related illnesses. The facilities work to help seniors deal with the stress and frustrations that come with dementia. Utah has 122 memory care facilities, and they cost anywhere between $2,392 and $9,270. Salt Lake City has the most expensive facilities, where memory care can cost as high as $11,138 per month. Cheaper memory care facilities are found in Provo and Orem. This living option can be expensive, but it is the right choice for a senior loved one suffering from memory issues.
There are over 180 assisted living facilities in Utah, costing between $1,650 and $6,250. Seniors joining these facilities need support from caregivers, including help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – bathing, dressing, feeding, and taking medications. Other services offered in these facilities are transportation, laundry, housekeeping, meal services, and constant supervision to ensure the safety of the residents. Provo Orem area boasts the least expensive assisted living facilities. Salt Lake City area has the most expensive assisted living communities.
Nursing homes are designed to offer constant nursing care to older adults with chronic infections. These facilities have skilled nursing professionals employed to look after seniors. Utah’s nursing homes are highly regulated and offer both medical and non-medical services. The facilities sometimes offer rehabilitation services, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and help with speech. The average cost of a nursing home in Utah is $6,388 for a semi-private room, as of 2020. Seniors seeking private rooms should expect to pay an average of $8,365. These facilities are the most expensive in the state, but choosing them for seniors with chronic infections is the best thing to do. Luckily, there are financial support programs in Utah helping the elderly pay their nursing home costs.
Healthcare Assistance for Seniors
Medicare is a federally-funded health insurance program designed to help seniors pay their medical expenses. Eligibility requirements include being at least 65, disabled, or having End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Most of the beneficiaries use Part A, which cost up to $499 as of 2022. Medicare Part B cost $170.10 per month or more for those with high income. About 42 Medicare Advantage Plans are there in Utah, and seniors can choose them, depending on their medical needs. Original Medicare is the basic plan which has Part A and Part B. Part A covers hospital stays and institutionalization in nursing homes. It also covers hospice care and lab tests. Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) is an alternative to the Original Medicare, and are provided by insurance companies. Part C includes Part A and Part B, but without hospice care. Part C offers additional coverages, including prescription drugs and dental care, and sometimes adult day care services. Medicare Part D covers the prescription medication, and services vary across insurance providers. For more details, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/whats-medicare.
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
The purpose of SHIP is to offer seniors their loved ones, and caregivers with one-on-one counseling services and assistance with Medicare. The program has certified counselors who help seniors opt for the right Medicare plan, based on their needs and circumstances.
Medicaid Program for the Elderly
More than 400,000 Utahans are using Medicaid, and 11.4% of them are older adults aged 65+. Medicaid is a program dedicated to helping seniors pay their medical expenses by acting as an insurance provider. Seniors living in nursing homes can get help from Medicaid by having their transportation to medical appointments, nursing care, room and board, and dietary supplements catered for. Of all the nursing home care facilities in Utah, 97 of them are certified to accept Medicaid and Medicare. There is a Utah Long-Term Care Medicaid program to help older adults pay their nursing home fees. Older adults with special needs will always qualify for Medicaid Waiver programs, including Aging Home and Community Based Waiver, Utah Community Supports Waiver, Physical Disability Waiver, New Choices Waiver, and Autism, or Brain Injury Waiver. Find out more at https://medicaid.utah.gov/medicaid-long-term-care-and-waiver-programs/.
Housing Assistance for Seniors
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers the Utah Section 8 House Choice Voucher Program, which subsidizes the monthly rental payment of low-income seniors. The program’s purpose is to help low-income older adults have access to affordable decent and safe housing. The seniors are allowed to choose housing units within HUD-approved areas. The housing units must meet the safety and quality standards set by HUD. Older adults only contribute about thirty percent of their income towards rent as the government pays the rest of the arrears. Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) administer the program at the local level, and are in charge of applications and putting qualified seniors on the waiting lists. More information is available at https://www.hud.gov/states/utah/homeownership/seniors.
Home Repair Support for the Elderly Utahans
USDA’s Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants
Also known as the Section 504 Home Repair Program, the Single-Family Housing Repair Loan and Grants Program offers up to $10,000 in grants to low-income elderly homeowners. These grants are not repaid unless the senior homeowner resells r changes the ownership of the property within three years of receiving assistance. The grants are used to help seniors remove the safety and health hazards from their homes and live in quality housing conditions. To qualify for the home modification assistance, one must be the homeowner and occupy the property, at least 60, unable to get credit elsewhere. Find more details at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/ut.
Hud’s Emergency Home Repair Program
This program can help low-income elderly Utahans with their home improvement needs. The Housing Rehabilitation Program also assists seniors to help to live in safe and healthy housing conditions. These programs may not be available in all areas of the city. Visit https://www.hud.gov/states/utah/homeownership/homerepairs for more information.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an organization concerned with helping low-income seniors build their homes. But they also provide home repair support in emergencies, which include health and safety hazards in seniors’ homes. The goal is to make these homes safe for seniors and their loved ones and allow them to age well in place. https://www.habitatuc.org/services/critical-home-repair/ offers more details about the organization.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a program dedicated to solving hunger among older adults by delivering hot, midday meals to those confined in their homes because of a permanent disability. The meals are available on Mondays through Fridays, but eligible seniors may receive such deliveries even on weekends. All the meals are nutritious and low in fats, calories, and sodium.
Utah Food Bank (UFB) Food Box Program
The purpose of this program is to have food delivered to homebound seniors in their homes every month. The program aims to offer emergency food support to the elderly Utahans who aren’t able to access the emergency food network and are not eligible for the Community Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). How does the program work? Each food box delivered contains non-perishable food items that can last a week. Some fresh farm foods are also available in the food boxes. Foods included are nuts, oil, vegetables, fruits, plant-based proteins, pasta, meats, and more. To qualify for this program support, senior applicants must meet the low-income limits, and be homebound because of qualifying disabilities.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
The purpose of CSFP is to enhance the seniors’ health of the elderly Utahans aged at least 60 and living in poverty. How does the program work? USDA foods are shipped directly to Utah Food Bank through which low-income seniors receive food items, including canned fruits, cereal, cheese, vegetables, and more. The institution’s services include nutrition education, nutritious foods specifically designed for older adults, recipes that exclusively advise on how the provided foods are prepared, and a free monthly package with USDA food items valued at $55. Visit https://www.utahfoodbank.org/csfp/#:~:text=Commodity%20Supplemental%20Food%20Program%20(CSFP)&text=This%20federally%20funded%20program%20works,cereal%2C%20cheese%2C%20and%20more for more details.
Helping Older Adults Pay Bills
Home Energy Assistant Target (H.E.A.T)
The purpose of Utah’s H.E.A.T program is to support low-income older adults by helping them settle their home energy bills. The program is the state’s version of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), so it’s 100% funded by the U.S. government through the U.S. Department of Human Services. The Utah State Department of Health and Human Services (DWS) administers the program. More information about the program is available at https://jobs.utah.gov/housing/scso/seal/heat.html.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
Administered by the Utah State Department of Work Force Services (DWS), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a support initiative designed to help low-income older Utahans make their homes more energy efficient and lower their utility expenses. To qualify for the program assistance, seniors must meet the age requirement, of at least 60 and earn below 125% of the current federal poverty income limit. More information is available at http://housing.utah.gov/scso/wap/index.html.
Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP)
Also administered by DWS, the Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP)’s purpose is to support low-income households led by seniors to pay for their home electric energy. One must meet the low-income and age requirements to qualify for the program support. Read more about HELP at https://jobs.utah.gov/housing/scso/seal/help.html.
Utah Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP) – Lifeline
Utah Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP) assists low-income seniors with their telephone bills by offering monthly discounts on their local phone services. The program’s services are funded through the Universal Services Fund (USF). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the State of Utah approved the program’s funding. Find out Lifeline providers near you at https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report.
Transportation Assistance for Seniors
Utah has some transportation programs and services to help seniors to meet their needs, including getting to doctors’ appointments, visiting the hospital, picking prescription medication, and more. The State offers these services to older adults aged at least 60 and can demonstrate that they have no other transportation means. Visit https://www.utah.gov/local/seniors/seniors/transportation.html for more details.
Assistance to Family Caregivers
Utah Caregiver Support Program
Utah Caregiver Support Program provides in-home support services to family caregivers of seniors and older adults living with disabilities. The goal of the program is to enable them to keep providing services to the elderly for as long as possible and reduce the chances of them being institutionalized. The program’s services include:
- Offering information about local resources ad services available that they can use.
- Support to have access to the local services.
- Counseling, support groups, education & training to help caregivers make informed decisions and solve issues that come with their roles as caregivers of their loved ones.
- Respite care services allow caregivers to take a break and have some time to rest.
Who is eligible for the program assistance? To qualify for the program support, one must be a family member and have attained the age of 18. The senior care a must be at least 60 and suffer from dementia-related infections. Visit https://daas.utah.gov/seniors/#:~:text=Call%20Toll%20Free%201%2D(,with%20Medicare%20and%20their%20families for more details.
Assistance for Senior Veterans and Older Adults With Disabilities
Utah has gorgeous nursing homes specifically designed to provide long-term care services to senior veterans. The State’s Department of Veterans and Military Affairs oversees the facilities and ensures that the right services are offered to the residents by the right professionals. Healthcare providers in these facilities must be licensed to operate within Utah. There are four different nursing homes within this program, which have all received praise and a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Find out more at https://veterans.utah.gov/veterans-homes/.
Veteran Directed Home and Community-Based Service Program
This program allows senior veterans to be in charge of their long-term care services by helping them direct them on their own. That is, older veterans can employ a caregiver to cater to their needs, thereby reducing the chances of institutionalization, and helping them remain living independently in their homes. The elderly veterans also decide which services they need and manage their own budgets. Read more at http://seualg.utah.gov/index.php/community-services/aging/.
Help From Charities and Nonprofits for Seniors
Utah is home to several charities and nonprofits that work to address the most pressing needs of older adults in the state. The organizations and charities operate through programs and partnerships to enhance the quality of life for seniors in Utah. Some of them include:
Utah Non-Profit Housing Corporation (UNPHC)
The purpose of this organization is to provide low-income seniors with independent housing options that allow them to only use 30% of their income toward rent. These independent living spaces do not only offer older adults with private housing, but they also offer common rooms, which they can use for gatherings or fellowship. UNPHC partners with the U.S. Department of Housing, West Jordan City, and Salt Lake County to provide its housing and support services and programs. More information is available at https://unphc.org/.
Mission Health Services
Mission Health Services is Utah’s largest non-profit nursing care facility, offering seniors and disabled older adults long-term care services, regardless of payment capacity. Seniors are given multiple options for nursing care to choose from, and staff to look after them. they are even allowed to make their rooms personalized if they want to. While this organization runs nursing homes, they don’t consider their institutions to be standard nursing homes. They take the as communities where older adults can reside and thrive. Read more at https://missionhealthservices.org/.
Senior Charity Care Foundation (SCCF
The goal of this organization is to improve the quality of life among older adults in Utah by offering services not available in Medicaid and Medicare. The organization’s programs focus on uninsured and underinsured low-income older adults and those not in a position to have access to dental, hearing, and vision services. These services are offered at much lower costs than for-profit insurance providers, offering older adults with accessible and affordable options to age healthy and strong. SCCF runs a dental and mobile vision clinic and helps seniors obtain hearing aids by collaborating with the Starkey Hear Now Foundation. Seniors must meet the age limit, which is at least 55, and be a resident of a long-term institution, assisted living facility, and low-income apartments for older adults. Learn more about the organization at https://utahcf.org/community-impact/senior-charity-care-foundation.