Over 2.8 million Ohio residents are seniors, accounting for a quarter of the total population. 12.0 of older adults aged 65 are living alone. Ohio has one of the highest concentrations of seniors in the United States. Even the percentage of citizens aged 50+ is higher than the national average by 2%. The state’s median age is also older than the U.S. average (39.5 years versus 38.5). How about the quality of life and affordability for seniors? Ohio is relatively more affordable than other states, and $578 can get you a one-bedroom apartment, which is lower than the U.S. average, of $825 per month. Let’s look at the resources available for seniors in Ohio.
Living Options for Seniors in Ohio
Seniors have a lot of options when it comes to senior living, which they can choose depending on their needs and circumstances. They include:
Independent Living: Independent living option is suitable for older adults who are active and healthy, enough to be able to thrive on their own without the need for constant care like in nursing homes. The elderly persons can either join 55+ or 65+, which means they get to live in the same communities as their age-mates. Meeting rooms, walking trails, workout rooms, and pools are some of the amenities residents of these facilities enjoy. Ohio has more than 600 independent living facilities, and they cost between $761 and $5,378 per month.
Assisted Living: Assisted living option is suitable for older adults in need of support with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, feeding, and assistance with medication management. These facilities are staffed with attentive caregivers and healthcare professionals to look after residents. Ohio boasts over 1,140 assisted living facilities, costing between $1,385 and $9,780. These facilities receive 24-hour staffing to ensure the residents are safe. Cleveland-Alyria metropolitan area has the costliest assisted living facilities. More affordable communities are found in the Mansfield area.
Memory Care: Memory care living option is designed to help older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and any other dementia-related illnesses to thrive. The purpose of these facilities is to help these seniors navigate through their daily frustrations whenever they suffer memory loss. Ohio has 791 memory care facilities, costing an average of $69,086 a year. These communities are staffed with caregivers and healthcare specialists who offer several services, including counseling to help the residents in their daily struggles. The most expensive facilities are found in the Cleveland and Elyria area, where the average monthly cost of memory care is $9,544, and $84,061 a year. More affordable facilities are found in Mansfield, boasting an average cost of $64,400 a year.
Nursing Home Care: Ohio has about 960 nursing home care facilities. The purpose of nursing homes is to care for seniors with chronic physical or mental health conditions by constantly providing skilled nursing care. The facilities must operate under state and federal rules and regulations to ensure the quality of care for the residents. They also provide personal care services to both patients being nursed and those who don’t require nursing care. The Bureau of Survey and Certification conducts on-site inspections and surveys to ensure that these facilities are complying with the rules set by the government to ensure all the residents are well cared for. Visit https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/nursing-homes-facilities/nursinghomesfacilities for more information. To acquire a private room in an Ohio nursing home, seniors and their loved ones should have about $8,213 per month. A semi-private room goes for $7,300 per month. Seniors still have choices here. They can choose to attend adult day care centers, where they’ll be given three meals every day, help with their medications, assistance with ADLs, and group activities to stay socially active and reduce chances of loneliness and boredom.
Seniors may also choose to join hospices, which offer a comfortable environment and guidance to terminally ill older adults. Hospice care doesn’t have to be offered at a facility. Some seniors may choose to receive hospice care services from their own homes. The hospice care facilities in Ohio are staffed with professionals who can help the residents with any queries about the Medicare program, Medicaid, or private insurance to help them cover their hospice care costs.
Respite care facilities also exist to help caregivers take a break and recharge. Respite care facilities are also suitable for seniors who’ve just come out of surgery. The average cost of respite care facilities in Ohio is $75,942 per year, but can be short-term, like a single day or a few hours a week.
Medicaid: Medicaid can help seniors with low income and limited resources by covering their long-term expenses, including the cost of assisted living facilities and home care.
Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) Medicaid: There are some programs that Medicaid offers to older adults and seniors disabled, and the blind to help them cover their medical bills. There is also a specific Medicaid program for the elderly and disabled, Medicaid Buy-in for Workers with Disabilities (MBIWD), that offers healthcare insurance coverage for senior disabled still in the workforce. Seniors must utmost above 64 to qualify for this kind of Medicaid. Other eligibility requirements include meeting the description of disability as stated by the Social Security Administration, Ohio Medicaid, or MBIWD. More information is available at https://medicaid.ohio.gov/families-and-individuals/citizen-programs-and-initiatives/aged-blind-disabled.
Ohio Medicare: Medicare is a health insurance program dedicated to supporting seniors aged 65+ and the elderly disabled at the same age. Older adults eligible for the Social Security disability benefits automatically qualify for Ohio Medicare. Medicare consists of different parts:
– Part A: Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance, which covers hospital stays, skilled nursing, lab tests, and hospice care.
– Part B: Medicare Part B is the medical insurance, covering doctors’ visits, home healthcare services, and preventative care, including cancer screenings, mental illness, and depression.
– Medicare Advantage (Part C): Medicare Advantage Plans can be an alternative to the Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Part C may include Part A and Part B, except they don’t cover hospice care services. Most of these services are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies, and their coverages can include dental care, vision care, and prescription medication. Some companies extend their services to gym memberships, transportation for medical appointments, and adult daycare services.
– Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Most Medicare Advantage plans come with Part D, automatically as part of their package. Seniors can also add prescription drug coverage to the Original Medicare. The Medicare program offers Part D to all beneficiaries, but those who don’t include it in their coverages when they are initially eligible may pay a penalty if they wait. Part D plans don’t cover the same prescription drugs or have the same cost for their policies.
More details are available at https://aging.ohio.gov/care-and-living/get-help/understand-your-benefits/medicare-1.
There are several housing options for seniors in Ohio. If having trouble conducting some research to find the housing program that works best for you, HUD-approved housing counselors may help out. The counselors may help you determine the best living arrangement based on your financial status, needs, and other circumstances. Find a HUD-approved housing counselor at https://apps.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.
Public Housing Program: The Public Housing Assistance program was created to enable low-income elderly Ohioans to obtain decent, safe, and affordable rental housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the program at the federal level and distributes funds to the local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), who then deliver housing assistance to eligible low-income seniors in Ohio. The eligibility for the program assistance is determined based on annual gross income, age among seniors (at least 60), U.S. citizenship or alien status, and Ohio residency. Income limits vary fromone place to another. Some of the information filled in the application form include the details:
- Gender, sex, date of birth, relationship to the family, of everyone living in the housing unit.
- Current address and phone number.
- Current circumstances, like poor housing conditions, etc. That may qualify the household during the approval process.
- Family characteristics, like whether either of the spouses was a veteran.
- Details of the previous landlords, including their names and current addresses.
- Income and sources of that income for the next 12 months.
- Details of employers, banks, and any other relevant information that would help determine eligibility for the program assistance.
Some of the documents needed at the time of application include birth certificates and tax returns to confirm if the details given in the application forms are correct. More information is available at https://www.hud.gov/topics/rental_assistance/phprog.
Housing Choice Voucher Program: The housing Choice Voucher Program is intended to help low-income seniors find safe, decent, and affordable housing. The elderly Ohioans eligible for this program support can choose a rental housing unit in the private housing market. The housing unit chosen must meet the HUD’s set safety and quality standards. After qualifying for support, seniors can contribute about 30% of their income towards rent, as the government pays the rest of the arrears. The vouchers are directly given to the landlords on behalf of the tenants. Visit https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/about for more information.
Home Repair Assistance
Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants in Ohio: Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants or the Section 504 Home Repair Program is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help senior homeowners in improving the conditions of their homes. The program issues grant of up to $10,000 to help the elderly remove safety and health hazards from their homes. To qualify for the program assistance, the seniors must meet the low-income limits, provide proof of homeownership and that they reside in the house, be at least 60, and are unable to acquire credit elsewhere. Grants must be repaid if the homeowner sells or changes the ownership of the property within three years of receiving assistance from the program. Find out more at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/oh.
Home Improvement Program (HIP) – Hamilton County: HIP provides financial assistance to senior homeowners to enable them to borrow money for home repair or remodeling. The loan is given at fixed interest rates of 3%, which is way below the normal rates that banks would offer. Seniors can qualify for up $50,000 at a term of only five years. Visit https://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/government/open_hamilton_county/projects/home_improvement_program for more details about the program.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP is a federal program dedicated to assisting low-income seniors with emergency food support at no cost. For more information, please visit https://jfs.ohio.gov/ofam/pdf/TEFAPmapApril2016.stm.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): CSFP is a nutrition assistance program offering low-income seniors a monthly box of food. The boxes come with food with nutrients that are perfect for the elderly. Some of the foods included in the food box include cheese, dry beans, peas, peanut butter, rice, pasta, canned meat, poultry, fish, canned fruits, and vegetables. Find out more at https://jfs.ohio.gov/ofam/CSFP-March-2018.stm.
Help with Utility Bills
Energy Assistance Program: The purpose of the Energy Assistance Program is to help low-income seniors with their heating bills during winter. The goal is to protect them from the harsh weather. The program also assists with energy-related emergencies, including disconnection or risk of disconnection from the energy source and defective heating equipment. The level of assistance depends on income and the type of energy the household is using. Grants are directly paid to the energy service providers on behalf of senior homeowners. For more information, please visit https://aging.ohio.gov/energyassistance.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): The purpose of WAP is to enhance energy efficiency in the homes of low-income seniors. The aim is to help reduce the energy cost for eligible elderly Ohioans. Services include upgrading the energy system, doing new insulations, and replacing/repairing defective energy equipment. Read more about the program at https://puco.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/puco/utilities/gas/resources/home-weatherization.
Ohio Household Water Assistance Program: Ohio Household Water Assistance Program works to help low-income homeowners and tenants with their water and wastewater bills. The program’s funding comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act and American Rescue Plan Act. To qualify for the program assistance, seniors’ incomes must not exceed 175% of the federal poverty guidelines, are disconnected, or are at risk of being disconnected from water or wastewater service. Participants of the Home Energy Assistance Program, SSI, SNAP, and TANF are automatically eligible for LIHWAP support. Visit https://development.ohio.gov/individual/energy-assistance/ohio-household-water-assistance-program for more information.
The local area agencies on aging help with transportation support to help seniors go for essential trips, medical appointments, shopping, and running errands. Find your local area agency on aging at https://aging.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/aging/find-services/local-office.
Public transit agencies also provide transportation services via public transit to elderly persons living with disabilities.
Ohio Mobility Management Program: This program work with mobility managers who matches seniors with transportation option available in their areas. Find out more at https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odot/programs/transit/transit-funding-resources/mobility-management.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT): NEMT helps Medicaid beneficiaries with non-emergency transportation assistance to receive healthcare services, including attending medical appointments. Read more at https://dodd.ohio.gov/waivers-and-services/services/non-medical-transportation.
Assistance for Senior Veterans and Disabled Seniors
The Specially Adapted Housing Grant: This is financial assistance given to veterans and service members with disabilities who suffered in the course of duty. The programs aim to help them be able to meet their housing needs by enabling them to buy or change homes. The program also intends to improve independence among elderly veterans in Ohio. To qualify for the program assistance, seniors must be planning to become homeowners and suffering from disability connected to their services as veterans or servicemen. Qualifying disabilities include:
- Loss or inability to use more than one limb.
- Loss or inability to use a lower leg along with lasting effects of a natural injury or disease.
- Blindness in both eyes.
- Severe burns.
- Loss or inability to use one foot or leg after September 11, 2001.
The current maximum funds one can receive from the SHA program is $109,986. Read more about the program at https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/.
Charities and Nonprofits’ Assistance
Aging Solutions Foundation: Aging Solutions Foundation supports the health and safety of vulnerable senior Ohioans and older adults with disabilities by helping them remain living independently at their homes. The organization offers case management services through the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging and emergency funding support for rental assistance, security deposits, utilities, food, prescription medication, safety repairs, and other services to help them thrive. More information is available at https://www.coaaa.org/cms/our-agency/aging-solutions-foundation.
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio: COA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life among seniors, the elderly and disabled, their families, and caregivers. The organization’s mission is to promote independence, dignity, and well-being among seniors and offer a wide range of support services to help them remain in their homes for as long as they can. More details are available at https://www.help4seniors.org/.
ProSeniors: Founded in 1975, ProSeniors works to improve the independence among older adults as well as their quality of life. The organization strives to achieve its mission by empowering them, advocating for their rights & interests, and helping them have access to the resources they need to thrive in their communities. The organization also offers Legal services. Their Legal Helpline is serving older adults aged 60+. They work with in-house attorneys who provide their help to seniors who may need assistance. Long-Term Care Ombudsman the organization works with Ombudsmen who advocate for the rights of residents of long-term care facilities. The Ombudsmen also connect them to local services or agencies that can offer support. More details are available at https://www.proseniors.org/.