There are Many Programs and Services Available for the Elderly

February 9, 2010

Planning for the care of an elderly parent or relative can be a very difficult and emotional process. Oftentimes people do not know where to turn when dealing with a situation where a family member may be in need of home or community based assistance. The State of Connecticut, under the Department of Social Services (DSS), provides a number of programs and services that are designed to help elderly persons who are no longer able to live on their own.

The first decision often surrounds the type of care someone is seeking for their family member. Would that person be more comfortable in a home care setting or an institutionalized care setting? These decisions are often determined by the condition of the person. The more severe, the more likely that nursing home care is necessary over the less restrictive home care option. But it is important to note that there are options.

One of the ways the state is trying to provide more options is through the federal Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. Under MFP, the federal government provides increased Medicaid funding for states to reduce the use of expensive institutional care for recipients. The goal according to DSS is to give individuals “maximum independence and freedom of choice regarding where they live and receive services.” Administered by the agency, this program allows hundreds of state Medicaid eligible nursing home residents, who may not be in need of being in an institutional setting, to transition into community based settings.

Also administered by the DSS is the Connecticut Home Care Program for the Elders (CHCPE), which is a home based program for people 65 and older who cannot function entirely on their own and are in need of assistance. Those eligible for the program receive in-home assessments from nurses and social workers who determine a plan of care. According to the DSS, these services could include adult day health, homemaking, companion and chore services, home delivered meals, emergency response systems, case management, home health services mental health counseling, home health aides, adult foster care and therapist services.

The state also provides Adult Day Centers to assist caregivers during the day. Located in all areas of Connecticut, these facilities provide specific programs to help with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and other disabilities. These facilities give such elderly persons a place to recreate, socialize and engage in other activities in an open and safe environment.

For those who cannot remain in their homes, nursing home care is an option. Residents of nursing homes require fulltime care and assistance with nearly all day to day life activities. Required by federal and state law, nursing homes must to provide all medical and social-recreational activities, which are designed to “promote and maintain residents’ highest level of physical, mental and psychological functions.”

The process of choosing what type of living arrangement might be best for your loved one can be confusing. For further information about services for the elderly visit the DSS’s website at, or call the agency at 1-800-842-1508. If you have any specific questions about these or any issues you may be concerned with, please contact me in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421.