National Care Planning Council
National Care Planning Council

Senior Services
from our Members

Books for Care Planning

    Long Term Care BooksFind books provided by the National Care Planning Council written to help the public plan for Long Term Care. Learn More...

Eldercare Articles

    Eldercare ArticlesThe NCPC publishes periodic articles under the title "Planning for Eldercare". Each article is written to help families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should have a long term care plan. Learn More...

Join the NCPC

Guide to LTC Planning

    Guide to Long Term Care PlanningFrom its inception, the goal of the National Care Planning Council has been to educate the public on the importance of planning for long term care. With that goal in mind, we have created the largest and most comprehensive source of long term care planning material available anywhere. This material -- "Guide to Long Term Care Planning" -- is free to the public for downloading and printing on all of our web sites. Learn More...

Community Health Care Support Services

Community Health Care Support Services

Free Health Care Programs

A variety of public and private organizations across the country offer free health care programs, including vision care, dental services, and more. An online search in your area will likely uncover these services. Here are some examples.

  • Free prescription drugs for qualifying individuals
  • State, county, and local medical clinics and providers will provide free medical care, including dental and mental health.
  • Walgreens free medical assistance
    Walgreens is offering free healthcare to its current and future patients who lose their job and have no health care coverage. The assistance is offered by Walgreen's Take Care clinics.
  • Federal Government Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
    This organization makes free or low cost health care available to Americans, even to those without insurance. You can get free checkups, prescriptions, treatment, and other medical assistance.
  • Free medical care from charities
    Many charities can also provide help, such as the Patient Advocate Foundation, Shepherd's Hope, Inc, and many others. Find both national charities, and charities that are located in your state.
  • State and federal government medical assistance programs
  • Many states and government agencies also provide free or discounted health care.
  • In-store clinics
    Retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart, offer quality health care at a low price. Some even provide free medical services.
  • Senior Centers can provide free health care services
    Senior centers offer a wide variety of services on how the elderly can save money on medical bills, and they can offer free checkups and medical care.

General Relief (GR)

The GR Program is a local program that was created to provide a variety of assistance, either emergency or maintenance, which can't be provided by any other means. The GR Program is financed through local grants and state funding. Components of the GR Program may include assistance for dental or medical bills, burial expenses, assistance for unattached children and also interim aid.

Health Insurance Counseling (SHIIP)

The Senior Health Insurance Information Program provides insurance information and counseling to older persons with disabilities regarding Medicaid, Medicare, and health care supplements.

Many elderly have difficulty understanding their Medicare coverage and many unscrupulous health care providers may be preying on the system by charging for services not actually provided. The elderly may also have questions about whether to buy Medicare supplement policies or buy into Medicare advantage plans. In the fall of 2005 Medicare introduced Part D, the new drug prescription program. The aging network has been given responsibility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to counsel the elderly about this program. The health insurance counseling services, typically coordinated at the state level, are designed to deal with these issues.

Senior Medicare Patrols

Administration on Aging grants to 47 states have provided seed money for volunteer programs to prevent Medicare fraud. Here is a statement from the site detailing the purpose for the program.

"The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that billions of dollars are lost annually from the Medicare and Medicaid programs due to improper payments through error, fraud, or abuse. While the vast majority of health care providers are honest, the efforts of a small number of unscrupulous individuals are causing our health care programs to lose hundreds of millions of dollars per year and reducing the quality of care provided to many older and disabled Americans.

Since 1997, the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) has worked in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration), the Department of Justice, community-based grantees, retired professionals, service and health care providers, AARP, and other interested individuals and organizations to address this serious national problem."

In the initial phase of this initiative, known as ORT, $23 was returned in improper payments, fines and settlements for every dollar spent on the effort. Today, AoA provides grants to community-based agencies in nearly every state to train volunteers how to educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and their families how to protect their Medicare number as they would their credit card, how to take a more active role in protecting their health care programs, and how to detect and report potential instances of error, fraud, and abuse.

Health and Wellness Services

Programs are designed to prevent some of the key health issues affecting older individuals. These programs include efforts to:

  • Prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse
  • Help with smoking cessation
  • Manage the many medications seniors often take
  • Guard against dangerous drug interactions and
  • Highlight the importance of remaining physically fit as a means of preventing the onset of chronic disease and maintaining good health.

A typical Senior Center provides these services as well as nutrition help options, health screenings, and health/nutrition education that delay and sometimes prevent the costs of institutionalized care.

Most seniors exhaust their own and their families' ability to fund care within one year of residence in a nursing home. The simplest way to reduce this ever-increasing financial burden is to delay, and if possible, prevent, the need for expensive care and the loss of independence. Here are some examples of preventive services offered in a typical Senior Center.

Health Screenings

Annual immunizations (influenza, pneumonia); an average of 27 types of medical tests per year, including screenings for hearing, vision, blood pressure, balance, cholesterol education, diabetes information; community organizations provide resource information. Footcare and foot massage services: Monthly by appointment.

Fitness Programs and Groups

Professionally staffed Life Strides Fitness Center (resistance-training and cardiovascular equipment); age- and ability-appropriate exercise programs (walking, stretching and aerobics).

Medication Management Program

"VIAL OF LIFE" - Medicine Review by a Registered Pharmacist; Medication Management Classes and physician referrals. This project is provided in partnership with CVS Pharmacy, Christian Pharmacy and local public safety offices.

Pedometer Walking Program

"STEPS TO HEALTHY AGING"- Promotes walking. Each senior receives a pedometer that counts the number of steps taken each day. Partnership with AARP.

Physical Fitness Testing

"FULLERTON FITNESS TEST" program- Upper and Lower body strength testing. A pre and post test is administered. Women begin with 2lb. Weights and men begin with 5lb.weights. Program is ongoing in 6 neighborhood senior centers.

Nutrition Education

Monthly nutrition education mailings to all senior centers by AAA Registered Dietitians; monthly nutrition programs at each senior center by Registered Dietitians and other "approved" Health Care Professionals.

ProHealth For Seniors Task Force

Committees of Health Care Professionals who meet to build community partnerships, share information and organize community-based activities to identify and help meet the health needs of mid-life and older persons. The subcommittees are Aging & Mental Health Task Force, Georgia Striders, Mayor's Walk, Atlanta Foot Care Coalition, And Multicultural Health Initiative.

Vision Screening Program

This is for individuals who do not have coverage for this type of care. The participants receive vision screenings, complete eye exam by a doctor, select frames and receive a complete set of new glasses within 2-3 weeks.

West Nile Virus Initiative

A public education program provided in conjunction with CDC, local Health Departments, Fulton County Office of Aging and Consumer Specialty Products Association. Insect Repellent containing "DEET" was distributed to senior centers and local senior high rise.

Service 2 Seniors

A partnership between Area Agency on Aging, local television station, Division of Aging Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Social Security Administration, community partners and sponsors. Informational fairs are held during the month of May to provide information to families about Medicare, social security, prescription assistance programs and Georgia Cares. Approximately 3,131 attended in the ARC region.

Pandemic Flu Committee

Aging Division Committee (with technical assistance to be provided by DHR-Office of Public Health) is working on an emergency communication plan to disseminate information to older adults in case of an emergency. Flyers and an emergency kit "check sheet" will be developed.

Live Healthy

The overall goal of this campaign is to develop, implement and evaluate community education interventions offered to older adults. The education interventions focus on increasing their knowledge regarding the importance of fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity, heart health and improving self-management of diabetes. Various Older Adults will be selected to participate in the annual education interventions.

Living Well Workshops

A Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) A 2.5 hour class per week for 6 weeks for 10-15 older adults with one or more chronic diseases. The class teaches techniques to deal with the symptoms of fatigue, pain, stress/anxiety, tense muscles, difficult emotions and shortness of breath. Action plans are used to find solutions to the medical, social, and emotional aspects of these symptoms. Stanford University trained 22 "Master Trainers" and 3 "Lay Leaders" who are certified to conduct "self management" workshops. In addition, "Master Trainers" will be able to train "Lay Leaders" to teach the program (Each class is facilitated by a pair of leaders).

SPARC (Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration)

ARC, in collaboration with local partner agencies, will implement a community-based model to increase the use of preventative health services by older adults. This partnership with community health organizations and healthcare is to promote disease prevention by delivering numerous services in one setting.

Help Paying Medical Bills

Sometimes you may realize how important your health is the hard way. Sadly, it may take a serious illness, maybe the illness of a loved one or an illness of your own, that causes someone to look at their own health.

Dealing with the hospital, medical bills, and prescription drug costs that will always follow an illness, and trying to find a way to pay them, is sometimes many times more stressful than the illness itself. If you need help, the good news is that yes, you can do something to control your healthcare costs and you can find help to pay medical bills and debts.

There are a couple of different paths you can take to get help with medical bills. You can take some steps yourself, or enlist other parties, such as medical billing advocates, websites, or other resources. Many of the other parties may offer some free services, or they may charge you only a percentage of what they save.

  • Eliminate medical debt;
  • Pay existing medical bills;
  • Free health care;
  • Free prescription drugs;
  • Hospital bill help;
  • Help from medical debt collectors.