Idaho is one of the safest states in the United States, with crime rates that rank below average. This makes it a suitable place for older citizens to reside. Coupled with the relatively low property prices and beautiful outdoor attractions, living in Idaho can be a wonderful experience for seniors. However, sometimes financial challenges creep in. In cases like these, there are many places that an elderly resident can turn to for help to get back on their feet.
State Resources for Seniors
The state of Idaho provides many resources to help aged residents. Several programs are sponsored by the state and directly attend to the needs of elderly people. The Idaho Commision on Aging is the state body charged with administering and managing these programs. Links to other useful resources are also provided by the Commission, making senior living a little more comfortable. Seniors can visit the website of the Commission at https://aging.idaho.gov/.
Delta Dental of Idaho runs a special program aimed at providing dental care to senior residents of Idaho. The program, known as GrinWell for You provides low-income seniors with free dental care, based on their income levels. Seniors receive up to $1,850 worth of dental care in their first year and can then purchase subsidized dental care plans. When these dental plans are purchased, Delta Dental of Idaho pays over half of the premium. The program is open to seniors aged 60 years and older. To apply, seniors can visit https://www.deltadentalid.com/Idaho/Content/Docs/2022/GrinWell%20for%20You%20-%20Application%20-%200322%20FINAL.pdf. to download a paper application.
Seniors over the age of 65 may qualify for dental care provided by Donated Dental Services (DDS). This is a care program staffed by dentists who volunteer their time and services to low-income residents. Free treatment is usually offered, although those who can pay may be asked to pay for a part of their care. Beneficiaries of DDS get matched with a dentist near their location and get an appointment date. Emergency services are not provided as there may be a waitlist to see an available dentist. Further details can be obtained from https://dentallifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Idaho.pdf.
The Medicaid program provides low-cost healthcare to residents of Idaho. Special plans exist to cover the needs of elderly people in the state and help them get the right care at a manageable cost. Income and resource guidelines are used to determine eligibility for the Medicaid program, while those who wish to apply as seniors must be over the age of 65. Some services covered by Medicaid are behavioral management, skilled nursing, non-medical transportation, respite services, residential habitation, etc. Interested seniors can visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/medicaid-health/about-medicaid-elderly-or-adults-disabilities.
The Marie Blanchard Friendship Clinic provides free medical care for uninsured residents of Idaho. The clinic is staffed by volunteer medical professionals who attend to the needs of patients without any fees or charges. A wide range of services are offered by the Marie Blanchard Friendship Clinic which include health assessments, treatment of ear infections, treatments of urinary tract infections, glucose monitoring, blood pressure screening, etc. Seniors who want to request medical assistance are required to provide a means of identification and proof of residency in Idaho, along with a proof of financials. More information is provided at https://friendshipclinic.com/our-services/.
The Wellness Tree Clinic is another nonprofit organization that takes care of the healthcare needs of financially challenged seniors in Idaho. Seniors whose income falls at or below 300% of the federal poverty level and who lack insurance can receive free medical and dental care from the clinic. You can utilize the updated 2023 Idaho Federal Poverty Level calculator to ascertain whether your household falls below the poverty line. Care is usually provided on a short-term basis while a long-term solution is sought out. Seniors can visit https://wellnesstreeclinic.org/services/ for more details.
Charities and Organizations
ElderHelp is a charity based in north Idaho that renders assistance to seniors in the region in various forms. Seniors can get help with accessibility modifications (wheelchair ramps, handrails), minor home repairs, weatherization, smoke alarm systems, etc. from ElderHelp. All assistance is provided to help seniors live independently in their homes. Seniors in Idaho can visit http://www.elderhelpofnorthidaho.org/home1.aspx for assistance.
Another organization that helps seniors in Idaho is Catholic Charities. Senior citizens can visit the organization for assistance with food, clothes, minor expenses. Financial assistance may be provided but this is subject to the availability of funding at the time. Counseling services are also offered by Catholic Charities. For more information, visit https://www.ccidaho.org/.
The Salvation Army is an international charity organization that helps challenged persons around the world. Elderly residents of Idaho can seek help from the Salvation Army to alleviate some of the challenges they face. The Salvation Army runs a food pantry that dispenses food to those in need, helping them stay healthy and strong. Congregate meals are also offered, these can be eaten on site, unlike packed food that is taken home for preparation. Fresh food items are also available for purchase at Farmers Markets run by the Salvation Army. Elderly residents of Idaho can visit https://boise.salvationarmy.org/boise2/ for further details.
Seniors in Idaho may be eligible to apply for financial assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Families (TAFI) program. This program provides some cash assistance to low-income families in the state, up to a maximum of $309 per month. The funds can either be received on to an existing bank account, or credited to an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. Eligibility is determined by income and value of assets owned by the applicant. Seniors can visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/financial-assistance/apply-tafi for more details and download an application form from https://publicdocuments.dhw.idaho.gov/WebLink/Browse.aspx?id=3170&dbid=0&repo=PUBLIC-DOCUMENTS.
Another possible form of assistance available is the Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD) cash assistance. This program provides a small cash payment each month for seniors over the age of 65 to help meet everyday expenses. The program is open to people who meet certain income restrictions or who are receiving Supplemental Security Income. For more information, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/financial-assistance/about-aabd-cash-assistance.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSI provides financial aid to seniors in the form of monthly payments meant to be used to meet basic needs. The funding provided is available to seniors aged 65 or older and can be used to pay for food, clothes, and shelter. Seniors can get more details on SSI assistance at https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/4412.
In Idaho, there are several congregate meal sites that serve nutritious and well-balanced meals to seniors. These meals are provided in a setting that promotes socialization, while also providing nutrition education to helps beneficiaries get the most of out the food they have available. Congregate meals are usually served at senior centers in various locations around the state. Seniors can visit https://aging.idaho.gov/stay-healthy/congregate-meals/ for more details and a directory of congregate meal centers sorted by region.
For elderly residents who are unable to leave their homes, home-delivered meals come in very handy as a viable option. In Idaho, the Home Delivered Meal (HDM) program is offered to seniors who are home-bound and unable to access quality food on their own. Meals are prepared at senior centers and delivered to the homes of qualified seniors by volunteers. The meals sent out include cold, hot, canned, frozen, fresh or supplemental food items. Services are open to residents over the age of 60 who cannot get out of the house or prepare a meal at home. For more details on the HDM program, visit https://aging.idaho.gov/stay-at-home/home-delivered-meals/.
Food support can also be sought through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). The CSFP provides additional food sources for low-income seniors from the age of 60 years. Monthly food packages are sent out to supplement their diet and help maintain healthy nutrition. The food packages contain items such as cheese, oats, rice, juice, canned fruit and vegetables, fish, etc. The items are not meant to be the primary food source, but a supporting source for nutritious items. Further information on the CSFP in Idaho can be obtained from https://aging.idaho.gov/stay-at-home/commodity-supplemental-food-program/.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides healthy food to low-income residents of Idaho, including seniors. Eligibility is determined by income level and beneficiaries are given an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This card is used like a regular debit card to purchase approved food items from grocery stores. Every month, a certain amount is loaded onto the card for use by the seniors. As a complement to SNAP, certain farmer’s markets offer a 100% match up on EBT expenses. This is done through a program known as Double Up Food Bucks. The program allows seniors to get double the value of the amount provided on their EBT cards by providing a matching amount equal to what is being spent. This way, the food purchasing power is doubled. For more information on SNAP in Idaho and Double Up Food Bucks, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/food-assistance/about-snap and https://www.idahofma.org/doubleup.
Housing Assistance and Home Repair Grants
Seniors whose homes are within the city of Boise may qualify for the city’s Home Improvement Program. The program helps low-income residents make essential repairs on their homes to ensure that safety is guaranteed. Assistance may be provided to fix new roods, replace heating/cooling systems, fix plumbing and electrical issues, install insulation and energy efficient doors/windows, etc. Seniors with income less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) qualify for grants which they don’t have to pay back, while those with income in the range of 61%-80% of the AMI receive a home improvement loan. Applications can only be submitted online at https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/BOISEID/Participant, while more information on the program is available at https://www.cityofboise.org/departments/planning-and-development-services/housing-and-community-development/home-improvement-program/.
In Meridien city, seniors with less than 80% of the AMI may receive assistance with home repairs. These usually include accessibility and weatherization modifications, as well as emergency repairs. Grants ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 are available to assist individual with repairs. The assistance is usually based on an agreement that the home will not be sold for a certain period of time after repairs are completed. Interested seniors can find more details at https://nwboise.org/homeowner-repair-program/ and submit online applications at https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/meridianid/participant.
The Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity (BVHFH) runs the Home Repair Program to assist seniors living in Ada County. Assistance is available to seniors whose income falls below 80% of the AMI. Applicants are required to pay a portion of the material costs, but the calculation of how much to pay is done using a sliding scale a payment plan. Payments can be spread out over up to 2 years, at 0% interest. The help offered is for projects with an initial cost not exceeding $2,500. More details can be found at https://www.hfhboise.org/home-repairs-program.
The Supportive Housing and Innovative Partnership Inc. offers seniors free transportation services for seniors in parts of Idaho. This assistance is provided in partnership with the Valley Regional Transit (VRT) to help seniors aged 65 and above get around to places they need to visit. Transportation services are available from 5:00am to 10:00pm daily, while scheduling can be done between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm, Monday to Friday. Seniors can request services by calling 208-573-2584 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Area Agency on Aging of Eastern Idaho also has transportation support services available. Transportation assistance is provided to residents over the age of 60 to get them to and from social services, medical and health care services, meals programs, places of employment, senior centers, shopping, civic functions, and recreation locations. The services help seniors who cannot use other available transport arrangements and have no alternative means of transportation. Several agencies partner with the Area Agency on Aging of Eastern Idaho to offer these services. For more information, visit https://www.eastidahoaging.com/services/transportation/.
Seniors in Idaho may receive assistance from Comfort Keepers to get to and from various locations. Transportation is provided to and from doctors’ appointments, for running errands, visiting family, etc. Seniors who require the services of Comfort Keepers can visit https://www.comfortkeepers.com/offices/idaho/boise/care-services/in-home-care/senior-transportation.
Seniors in Idaho can apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program helps low-income residents pay for their utility bills and ensures efficient energy consumption. LIHEAP provides funding to settle the costs associated with heating the home during the cold winter months. Eligibility for assistance is determined by income levels and help is rendered on a first-come, first-serve basis. To help seniors get maximum benefits, applications are accepted from elderly residents a month before the regular process commences. Crisis heating assistance is also available under the program and helps prevent disconnection or restore services within 48 hours. For more details on LIHEAP in Idaho, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/financial-assistance/home-heating-and-utility-assistance/about-heating-assistance.
Customers of Idaho Power can also receive a one-time payment of up to $300 for their utility bills. This is made possible by Project Share, a program that provides financial assistance to low-income seniors in the state. Reconnection fees can also be paid for through this program, as well as arrearages. However, any bills turned over to a collection agency cannot be settled. This program is sponsored by the Salvation Army and all payments are made directly to the utility vendor. Further details can be gotten from https://www.idahopower.com/accounts-service/make-payment/help-paying-bill/project-share-works/.
Grants for Senior Veterans
Veterans in Idaho can receive a grant of up to $1,000 to assist with urgent financial needs. Assistance must be requested within 90 days of encountering an emergency situation. Tax breaks are also provided to ease financial burden on veterans. More information on the financial assistance available to veterans can be found at https://veteran.com/idaho-veterans-benefits/