Nebraska is located almost in the middle of the United States which makes it relatively easy to travel out to any of the other states. Living in Nebraska is inexpensive as there are not many big cities around. This also means the state has a low population density and there is enough space for everyone. The reduced population opens everyone up to a sense of community, boosting familiarity among residents. On the other hand, the weather can be quite harsh, with the summers being extremely hot and winter being very cold. Natural disasters like tornadoes are also very common. They put the elderly at risk, especially when they have financial constraints and are unable to get proper shelter. As the largest city in the state, Omaha is the best place for seniors to live. The city provides access to many resources without being too expensive.
State Resources for Seniors
The State Unit on Aging is a part of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. This unit administers funding programs to assist elderly residents who are challenged and unable to maintain their homes. The State Unit on Aging also partners with the Area Agencies on Aging to provide services at a lower, more direct level. Nebraska works with Aging State Plans that are active for four years at a time. These plans outline the objectives, services and targets to be provided or achieved within the activity period. Nebraska’s Aging State Plans are also managed by the State Unit on Aging. More information on this Unit, along with links to valuable resources for seniors can be obtained from https://dhhs.ne.gov/pages/aging.aspx.
Nebraska Mission of Mercy (NMOM) specializes in providing dental care to the less privileged in the state. Nebraska Mission of Mercy is staffed by dental professionals and other volunteers, and hosts clinics on specific days to provide free dental care services. The organization treats patients on a first-come, first-served basis, providing care to as much as 1,000 patients per day. NMOM focuses on the uninsured and underinsured, and for this reason, all seniors need to do is show up early. Knowing that the wait times can be very long, free breakfast and lunch is provided to patients waiting for treatment. Several services are provided, however some other dental services like braces, root canals on back teeth, crowns, and implants are unavailable. Clinic days are updated regularly and seniors can visit https://www.nebraskamissionofmercy.com/events to see the schedule.
OneWorld Dental is a community clinic that offers dental care services across several locations in Nebraska. OneWorld provides services like periodic dental examinations, dental hygiene, oral surgery, etc. The clinic treats anyone, regardless of income levels. For seniors who are uninsured, a sliding scale fee is charged based on their income. To help process this fee payment structure, the clinic requires a proof of income for at least one month. Seniors who want to book a dental appointment can call 402-932-7204 for scheduling. The scheduler works with a dentist to find the best available time. To further help elderly people who need dental care, OneWorld Dental provides transportation to the clinic sometimes. For more information, visit https://www.oneworldomaha.org/for-patients/services-programs/dental/.
Clinic With a Heart is another medical organization with dental care services. The clinic has volunteer dentists who carry out free dental examinations for seniors, along with medication when necessary. Clinic With a Heart does not, however, carry out any forms of surgical procedures. Rather, seniors are referred to cost-effective dental organizations after their examination. Seniors can visit https://www.clinicwithaheart.org/get-help/programs-services.html for more details.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) runs a program known as SHARING Clinics, which stands for Student Health Alliance Reaching Indigent Needy Groups. The Dental SHARING Clinic program is staffed by student dentists who provide free dental care to uninsured and underinsured seniors, under the supervision of expert dentists. This program brings affordable and comprehensive dental care to seniors in the state and boosts oral health. Information on the program can be found at https://www.unmc.edu/dentistry/outreach/sharingclinic.html.
Seniors over the age of 65 can get full and comprehensive dental treatment through Donated Dental Services. This is a program run by the Dental Lifeline Network to provide dental care to underserved residents. A wide range of services and procedures are available and treatment is free, including laboratory tests. In cases where the senior applying has some financial ability, they may be asked to pay for a part of the treatment costs. For more information, visit https://dentallifeline.org/nebraska/.
The North Omaha Area Health (NOAH) clinic provides free and low-cost medical services to residents of Omaha. Seniors can book an appointment and come in to get checkups and treatment for ailments and health issues. NOAH offers testing blood pressure tests, blood sugar tests, mental health assessments, among others. Seniors can visit https://www.noahclinic.org/ to schedule an appointment for treatment.
The Healing Gift Free Clinic offers free medical care to seniors in Omaha. The clinic provides basic medical services to meet the needs of uninsured seniors in the area, helping them maintain good health. Patients of Healing Gift Free Clinic can also get referrals to other programs that can help them overcome other challenges that they face. For more details, visit https://healinggiftfreeclinic.com/.
The Medicaid program is a health insurance program designed to meet the needs of low-income residents and seniors. Medicaid provides low-cost insurance cover for challenged seniors, helping them pay a portion of their medical bills when the need arises. Eligibility for Medicaid is usually determined by calculating the value of the income and assets of applicants. To expand coverage slightly, certain assets like the home and one motor vehicle are exempted from the asset valuation. Recipients of Medicaid may also get special non-emergency medical transportation services when going in for scheduled medical appointments. For more information on the operation of Medicaid in Nebraska and the eligibility criteria, visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Medicaid-Eligibility.aspx.
Charities and Organizations
People’s City Mission (PCM) is an organization that provides several charity and assistance services to seniors. The organization offers a homeless shelter, free food, a free clinic, transitional housing, etc. PCM’s clinic provides medical and dental care for seniors without medical insurance. Seniors can also pick up items like clothing and furniture for their homes. This charity plays an important role in caring for the underprivileged residents, serving as a support system for those in need. For more information on the activities and help offered by People’s City Mission, visit https://pcmlincoln.org/.
Catholic Charities is another charity organization that helps the elderly residents of Nebraska. This charity runs several programs to meet peculiar needs of the older population, ensuring a healthy life in a dignified environment. Seniors can receive food items, money for rent and utilities, etc. from Catholic Charities. The services provided help seniors maintain independent living, so that they age in place for as long as possible. Additional details on Catholic Charities can be found at https://www.ccomaha.org/.
The Salvation Army provides many supportive services for seniors going through trying times. Food pantries distribute shelf-stable food items that seniors can take home to prepare, while seniors who are unable to cook can come in to get cooked meals served to them at soup kitchens. Financial assistance is often provided to meet urgent needs like payment of rent and utility bills. For seniors who have already been evicted, the Salvation Army provides shelters to give a safe place of refuge. Another very important service available from the Salvation Army is the assistance provided to survivors of disasters. This can be very helpful for seniors whose lives have been adversely affected by storms or tornadoes. To get more information on how the Salvation Army helps the elderly, visit https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/western?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic.
Nebraska’s Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD) program provides financial assistance in the form of monetary payments to low-income seniors in the state. The program helps the elderly to get access to money that they can use to pay for proper housing, ensuring that they live in homes that are appropriate for their needs. In some cases, AABD provides money for the purchase of furniture and home appliances. AABD also provides medical coverage for seniors, helping them with a portion of their medical costs. This medical coverage is only available for older residents who are ineligible for Medicaid. More information on AABD can be found at https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Aged-Blind-or-Disabled.aspx.
At the federal level, the Social Security Administration provides financial assistance for seniors over the age of 65 in the form of Supplemental Security Income. This is money paid out to help eligible low-income seniors with funds to pay for their basic needs. Eligibility for SSI is determined by the current income and asset values of the senior applying for assistance. The amount of money awarded varies on a case by case basis and is calculated with consideration for individual needs. Seniors can find information on SSI at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/.
Food is an essential part of a healthy living. Access to proper nutrition can help prevent medical issues and ensure a stronger, more pleasant existence.
Congregate meals are available for seniors who require nutrition assistance. These are warm, cooked meals served in a group setting at a preapproved location. This arrangement allows the elderly to get access to healthy food that they cannot afford or prepare. The group setting also gives a chance for socialization and interaction, which can boost mental health.
Home delivered meals are similar to congregate meals in the sense of providing food to seniors in need. However, unlike congregate meals, the home delivered meals are taken to the home of the senior and delivered directly. This is helpful for those who have conditions that restrict their mobility, preventing them from making it to congregate meal distribution sites. In both cases, the meals are warm, freshly cooked items prepared by a dietician to meet the nutritional needs of the elderly recipients. Visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Social-Services-Aged-and-Disabled-Adults.aspx for details on the operation of these programs.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is another way that older residents Nebraska can get access to food. CSFP is not intended to provide complete nutrition or food for a time period; it is rather meant to augment the nutrient consumption of recipients. Under the program, food baskets are delivered monthly to seniors over the age of 60, containing nutrient rich foods like cereal, milk, fruits, meat, etc. These items can be consumed alongside other foods to improve nutrition. Seniors can visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Commodity-Supplemental-Food-Program.aspx for assistance.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides resources that can help low-income seniors purchase food items. SNAP beneficiaries receive monthly payments meant for buying approved foods from grocery stores and other authorized locations. Recipients receive their funds on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card which they can use like a regular debit card. More information on SNAP is available at https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/SNAP.aspx.
Nebraska also has several food banks and pantries that give out free food to seniors in need. To locate providers, visit https://foodbankheartland.org/.
Housing Assistance and Home Repair Grants
In a state like Nebraska where storms and tornadoes are frequent, the expenses on home repairs can be significant. grants and loans are available to improve safety and help provide better homes for residents.
The Section 504 Home Repair program provides loans to help seniors who need to carry out repairs on their homes. This financial assistancec is only available to those living in rural areas, assisting them live in safe housing. The assistance provided is used to get rid of health and safety hazards in the home, carry out structural repairs, make accessibility modifiactions, etc. Grants are also available for seniors who are aged 62 or older. Unlike loans, the grants do not have to be repaid to the government. The grants are restrcited to a maximum of $10,000, while loans may be up to $40,000. The loans have a repayment period of 20 years and a 1% interest rate. Seniors who receive grants are required to retain ownership of their home for at least 3 years. For further deatils, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/ne.
Habitat for Humanity offers Home Improvement Programs to help low-income residents make essential repairs and restore their homes. Some of the repairs covered include: roofs, windows, driveways, plumbing, heating systems, etc. Assistance is provided either as grants or as no-interest loans. Habitat for Humanity also serves as the contractor for these repairs, giving a 1-year warranty on the repairs carried out. More information can be found at https://habitatomaha.org/programs/home-repair/.
Reach Your Destination Easily (RYDE) Transit is a public transit system that seniors can use to get around in various counties. RYDE helps seniors who need to get to shopping areas, congregate meal sites, medical appointments, etc. The vehicles used have facilities to accommodate seniors with reduced mobility who need assistance. RYDE fares are low-cost, making this an affordable option for seniors. For more information, visit https://communityactionmidne.com/ryde-transit-public-transportation-program-reach-your-destination-easily/.
Nebraska Total Care provides rides to seniors to help them get to medical appointments. Emergency services are not provided and eligible seniors may get free rides. It is important to schedule rides at least 2 working days ahead to get a guaranteed ride to appointments. Rides can also be scheduled 60 days ahead. More details can be found at https://www.nebraskatotalcare.com/members/medicaid/benefits-services/transportation.html.
Seniors who receive assistance from the Social Services for Aged and Disabled Adult Program (SSAD) can receive transportation assistance to get to medical and non-medical appointments. For details, visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Social-Services-Aged-and-Disabled-Adults.aspx.
Help with Utility Bills
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) operates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Nebraska. This program helps eligible household pay for their heating and cooling bills. LIHEAP is a very important program in Nebraska as the weather can be very extreme. Seniors who qualify for LIHEAP will have payments made to their utility vendors on their behalf, allowing them have continued access to services. LIHEAP can also help with the repair and replacement of faulty heating or cooling units. More information is available at https://dhhs.ne.gov/pages/energy-assistance.aspx.
Assistance for Senior Veterans
Veterans in Nebraska can apply for the Nebraska Veterans Aid Fund (NVA) to get temporary financial assistance for their needs. NVA provides money to veterans experiencing hardship so that they can pay for urgent needs. The funds provided by NVA can be used for food, shelter, transportation, fuel, clothing, etc. More details on the Nebraska Veterans Aid Fund can be found at https://veterans.nebraska.gov/nva.
Other programs provided by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs meet specific needs of veterans in the state. Veterans who are in need of help can check https://veterans.nebraska.gov/.