Senior Resources in Ohio
Many seniors find they eventually need help accessing health care services, obtaining transportation, securing legal advice, and paying for senior care. The state of Ohio offers many resources to the elderly and their caregivers including information on Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans benefits, and more. This guide will provide information about some of the resources available in Ohio.
Ohio senior care options
Help with the activities of daily living usually includes eating, getting dressed, transferring to and from bed, and bathing. These services are usually available at assisted living facilities, nursing homes (for those who need medical care as well), or as a part of home care.
Home care services
An in-home caregiver provides a variety of services, including medical support, help with bathing and dressing, companionship, and other daily tasks.
PASSPORT is a Medicaid waiver program that helps low-income seniors access in-home care. Visit the website to find your nearest office or call (614) 645-7250.
Each area of Ohio also has an Area Agency on Aging. Call (866) 243-5678 to find the closest one. Additionally, Eldercare Locator is a national resource that can help seniors and caregivers find in-home care services.
Respite care is a service that helps family caregivers meet their own needs even when they are caring for an elderly relative. Because caregiving is often a 24/7 job, caregivers need to take breaks to attend to their own needs, go to work, travel, etc.
The local Area Agencies on Aging can help Ohio residents find respite care in their communities. The Ohio Department of Aging has resources devoted to caregivers, as well. In addition, the Arch National Respite Network offers information geared toward Ohio seniors and their families.
A national resource with local information is available at 211.
Adult day care
Seniors who need supervision or medical care during the day might benefit from adult day care services.
There are two types of adult day care centers: Some centers provide social programs and supervision, while others provide specialized medical care. Some centers provide day outings or specific activities — Ask when you call so you know what types of activities are available.
The local Area Agencies on Aging can connect caregivers with programs that offer day care services, including those that might be available for free or on a sliding scale. There are also these types of programs offered through the Home and Community-Based Services, which is administered by the Department of Developmental Disabilities. Call (800) 617-6733 to learn more about these services.
Senior centers are free or low-cost community centers that allow seniors to remain active and socialize with others. They often provide congregate meals, recreation, educational opportunities, opportunities for volunteering, and much more. The local Area Agencies on Aging have information on the senior centers available in each region.
Hospice and palliative care
Seniors should understand all of their options when it comes to end-of-life care, and that includes hospice care. Hospice care offers services to individuals of any age who have six months or less to live.
Hospice care provides people with services such as palliative care, which boosts quality of life by reducing pain and discomfort, counseling, social services, and services for caregivers. In most cases, treatments to prolong life are discontinued during hospice care support.
If you or your elderly relative has health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, hospice care will normally be covered. Most hospice providers will families to find grants and private funds available for these situations.
Find local hospice providers by contact Ohio’s Hospice through their website or by calling (800) 653-4490.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. One excellent resource you can use to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease is the Alzheimer’s Association. Visit their website or call the 24-hour helpline at (800) 272-3900. The local Area Agencies on Aging can also help you find local resources for seniors with dementia.
Alzheimers.gov, which is maintained by the National Institute on Aging, offers information on clinical trials, treatments, and more. Contact the National Institute on Aging by phone at (877) 696-6775.
Another resource for Alzheimer’s information and advice is BrightFocus, a nonprofit organization that supports research into brain and eye diseases.
Health care information
The Buckeye State is home to 168 hospitals as well as various other health care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living communities, medical centers, and others. You can check any medical provider’s license in Ohio on the state’s Professional Licensure page.
The AMA Doctor Finder can be used to learn about Ohio physician licensing, office hours, and insurance information. Seniors who are on Medicare can find providers who accept their plans by using Physician Compare.
The Golden Buckeye Card offers discounts to senior Ohioans at various doctors’ offices and many other places around the state.
For those who do not have prescription coverage, Ohio’s Best Rx program can help with discounts on prescription medications.
Healthy U is a program that offers workshops on various chronic illnesses that might affect seniors.
Finally, the local Area Agencies on Aging have a variety of resources available for seniors who are looking for information on managing illnesses or staying healthy and active.
Health insurance coverage is available to seniors, including those with low incomes, through the state. Those who are aged 65 or over, blind, or disabled might qualify for ABD Medicaid. Call (800) 324-8680.
Those who are eligible for Medicare can access free counseling about all of their options through the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP). Call (800) 686-1526 for more information.
If a senior cannot afford private insurance, they can apply for a subsidy through the Healthcare Marketplace. Enrollment periods can vary depending on someone’s specific circumstances. Visit Healthcare.gov or call (800) 318-2596.
Medicare is a combination of four separate health care plans available to seniors over the age of 65 who have worked for at least 10 years or have a spouse who worked for at least 10 years.
- Medicare A is free and covers hospitalization, some inpatient care, and some home health care
- Medicare B does come with costs — But how much each person pays depends on their income. Part B covers preventative care, ambulance costs, and durable medical equipment
- Medicare C (also called Medicare Advantage) covers vision and dental care, among some other things. It is only available in conjunction with Medicare A and B
- Finally, Medicare D covers prescription medications
Seniors can apply for Medicare up to three months before their 65th birthday at Medicare.gov. The Ohio Department of Insurance has information and resources on their website for individuals who need assistance or who have questions about Medicare. You can also call the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program at (800) 686-1578.
Medicaid can help cover Medicare costs for who can’t afford health insurance. There are Medicaid programs and waivers available to seniors in Ohio. Visit the Ohio Department of Medicaid or call (800) 324-8680 to learn about eligibility and the application process.
Veterans may be eligible programs that can help pay for senior care, including the Aid and Attendance program. Each county has their own Veterans’ Service Offices — Contact the local office to learn more.
Senior nutrition and fitness
Good nutrition and physical activity can keep a senior citizen healthy and fit as they go into their golden years. Ohio offers several programs to help those who might need assistance in obtaining high-quality, nutritious food. The state is also home to programs that can keep seniors physically active.
Many seniors feel lonely, particularly if they live alone. Local Area Agencies on Aging and senior centers offer congregate meals for seniors. These are meals served at various locations where senior citizens can go to enjoy not only nutritious food but also socialization.
Meals on Wheels is a program that brings nutritious meals to seniors at risk of not having enough healthy food. It mainly caters to those who are shut-in or otherwise not able to participate in congregate meals. Use the website to locate a program or call (888) 998-6325.
The Ohio Food Assistance Program can help low-income seniors afford the food they need to prepare at home. This program was formerly called SNAP or food stamps. Visit the website for eligibility and application information or call (614) 466-6282.
Finally, seniors can be eligible for a program called Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). This program allows seniors to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables providing them with coupons that can be spent at local farmers’ markets and roadside stands. Find the nearest SFMNP program in your area. Use this map to find your local contact agency that can help you apply for SFMNP.
Fitness and recreation
Ohio has a program called Steady U, which can help seniors avoid falls that can cause serious injuries.
One part of the program consists of Tai Chi classes; the program has a list of Tai Chi instructors that they recommend. Another part of the program is called A Matter of Balance. Consult the Steady U list of contacts for more information.
Look for additional fitness programs and classes on the Health and Wellness Calendar maintained by the Ohio Department of Aging.
SilverSneakers is a program that provides seniors with free access to a local gym. Check the map on their website to locate participating SilverSneaker gyms in your area.
AARP is an interest group that provides benefits to retirees. These benefits include discounts on travel, entertainment, and certain health services. The AARP also offers opportunities to volunteer and get involved in various community activities.
The National Park Service offers a reduced-fee pass $10 to seniors. The pass grants access to parks and public lands across the country. Contact the National Park Service at (518) 474-0456.
Tax preparation assistance
Tax preparation can become more confusing after retirement when social security payments and retirement funds become issues. Many seniors prefer to have their taxes prepared by a professional but might have trouble affording the services. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly are two programs that can help. Find out more at the IRS website.
Another popular program is AARP’s Tax-Aide for seniors who cannot afford tax preparation services. Visit the website or call (888) 687-2277 for more information on getting started.
Seniors who require legal assistance for matters like tenant law, discrimination, fraud, and other issues can contact their local Area Agencies on Aging to learn about nearby resources.
Statewide, the Ohio Attorney General can offer assistance with issues such as elder abuse, fraud, consumer complaints, foreclosures, and more. Visit the website or call (800) 282-0515.
For those who are residents of assisted living communities or nursing homes, the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman can act as an advocate or mediator should problems and disputes arise. Call (800) 282-1206 to access the help needed.
Many seniors are reluctant to give up driving, nervous they won't be able to access the transportation they need to get to the grocery store, appointments, and social engagements. The local Area Agencies on Aging can refer seniors to local resources when it comes to getting rides within the town, city, or county. You can also visit this page of Ohio Transit Links to find out what transit company serves your area and whether there are discounts or special services available.
The Ohio Department of Aging offers some information and resources pertaining to driving safety specifically for seniors.
Defensive driving courses for seniors can keep older drivers safe and (in some cases) even qualify them for a discount on car insurance premiums. Both AAA and the AARP offer defensive driving courses geared specifically toward seniors. Visit their websites to find more information.
Proximity of care is very important when considering options
Research care options that are nearby when thinking about the next step for your loved ones.
Leona J. Werezak RN, BSN, MN is a registered nurse and adjunct nursing professor. She has 24 years experience working in a variety of healthcare settings including such remote locations as the Arctic Circle. Her research in early stage dementia was published in the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research and re-published in their 40th anniversary issue which showcased exceptional research published since the journal began. Her work in dementia care has also been published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. She currently teaches surgical nursing care on a thoracic/vascular unit to baccalaureate nursing students. Her clinical work with nursing students involves extensive work with older adults who have multiple chronic health conditions.