Age is not without its difficulties. Mobility problems, lapses in strength and memory, a rising risk of medical issues, the need for extended periods of recovery, and a shrinking social circle can all happen to anyone. These issues compound when you are operating from a place of financial disparity. If you cannot afford to hire in-home help, worry about visiting the doctor and running up bills, or have difficulty paying for food, your health and general quality of life suffer.
That’s why the Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging (5A) has developed programs and services specifically for low-income seniors in Arkansas. Our agencies are dedicated to gathering and providing as many senior resources in Arkansas as possible.
Senior Resources in Arkansas
If you are concerned about your own or your loved one’s ability to perform everyday activities or access nutritional and health basics, contact your Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to find out which services you may qualify for.
You will be connected with one of our Information and Assistance Specialists, and they will connect you with the programs for which you qualify. If we are not able to provide services through our own programs, we will connect you with other programs in your area and help you apply. 5A has a wide range of services available for low-income seniors that we can help you with.
Services Available for Low-Income Seniors
Meals on Wheels
Nearly 9.5 million seniors are threatened by hunger in America. More than half of those people are considered food insecure or low food secure. Unfortunately, Arkansas ranks in the top five states for food insecurity among seniors. Any senior can suffer from hunger, isolation, and mobility issues, but financial insecurity makes matters tough.
Almost every regional AAA in Arkansas offers a home-delivery meal service. Whether it is through Meals on Wheels, a local church or non-profit, or the senior centers, options for low-income seniors who need help feeding themselves are available statewide.
If you or your loved one are mobile (able to drive or have access to transportation), senior centers provide hot lunches and other social activities. If you or your loved one are homebound, you can sign up for our home-delivered meal program. These programs are available at no cost to you and may include one to two meals a day.
All meals are developed based on the dietary guidelines set by the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program. Depending on the resources in your area, your meals may also be tailored to medical or cultural needs (i.e. vegetarian, kosher, halal, diabetic-friendly, reduced-sodium, etc.).
Meals on Wheels are provided at no cost to any qualifying senior who signs up for them. Those who are more financially stable may be asked to donate money to the program, but a senior will never be turned away because of their inability to pay.
In-Home Care Services
All of our senior resources in Arkansas strive to help keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible. Often this means part-time or full-time in-home care services to assist with personal tasks and activities of daily living (ADLs) such as housework, meal prep, shopping, medication assistance, and personal hygiene.
Many low-income seniors assume in-home care is not affordable. They may end up living in sub-par conditions or moving into long-term care facilities. Some services are considered out-of-pocket, but many programs are designed to help fill the gap and pay for at least partial in-home care services. Medicaid, the VA, and personal insurance programs often cover a set number of hours of in-home care per month.
Contact your local AAA to find out which programs or financial aid you may qualify for to receive help with in-home care.
Access to our senior centers is another service available to all senior citizens. The local community funds and runs these programs, providing a variety of classes, including fitness groups, Bible studies, and grief support. Many of our senior centers provide spaces for hobbyists to gather — quilting bees, book clubs, and crafting groups are just the beginning! Every senior center has its own calendar of events, so check with your local AAA about the programs available in your area.
Socialization is critical to a senior’s quality of life. Lack of socialization can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole host of health issues. Senior centers provide a safe space to meet and socialize with your peers while also enriching your life through fitness, creative pursuits, and new experiences. Most of our senior centers also offer a hot lunch program to ensure you receive the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
If you are unable to drive, many of our senior centers provide transportation to and from the senior center. Some centers may provide transportation from the senior center to other necessary locations like the hospital (non-emergency only), the grocery store, the shopping center, or doctor’s offices. All services provided by the senior center are dependent on the resources and funds available to them at the time. Check with your local senior center for information on the services they provide.
To find out about the services available for low-income seniors in your area, contact your local AAA. We employ highly knowledgeable and trained Care Specialists. Their job is to provide you with information to identify the services you are eligible for and assist you in applying for those you need or will benefit from.
Once you contact us, you will be assigned a dedicated Care Specialist. Their sole job is to help you remain as healthy and independent as possible. They will:
- Connect you with services,
- Help you navigate the application process for pertinent programs,
- Assist you in ordering necessary medical equipment, and
- Connect you with community or federal programs outside of our services.
Care coordination services are always available at no cost. Your Care Specialist is a single point of contact for the coordination and evaluation of your physical, mental, medical, and emotional needs.
Contact your local AAA to talk about having a Care Specialist assigned to your case as soon as possible. The sooner you have access to the help you need, the sooner your quality of life will improve.
For More Information
If you have questions about low-income senior resources in Arkansas, contact 5A or your local AAA today. We are here to help you stay healthy, happy, and independent for as long as possible, no matter your financial circumstances.