Washington State Community Resources for Seniors
Navigating the world of senior care is challenging, especially for those new to long-term care services. Many caregivers don’t know where to look to find resources in their area. But that doesn’t mean those resources don’t exist. Elderly residents in the state of Washington have access to a number of programs provided by national and state agencies along with nonprofit organizations in the community. This page covers the local Washington resources for seniors and caregivers, including educational materials, respite care, financial assistance, legal expertise and more.
Washington senior care options
Home care services
Seniors who prefer to age-in-place may require home care services to maintain their health as they get older. Washington residents who need assistance connecting with home care service providers or seniors who have questions about what to look for in a quality home care service may use Senior Information & Assistance (I&A) as a free resource to find the answers they need.
Senior I&A encompasses many types of senior care, including in-home nursing care and personal care services. By contacting I&A for help, seniors can create a plan for their care and make the right decisions regarding their caregivers.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is a federal program dedicated to bringing quality, affordable home and community-based care options to seniors and disabled individuals. The main goal of the ACL is to help seniors receive the support and care they need to preserve their health, well-being, and independence without removing them from their community. As a result, thousands of seniors are able to access the care they need without relocating from their home or community.
Additionally, the National Age in Place Council (NAPC) offers a wide array of resources to educate seniors about their options for home and community-based care. The NAPC offers online tools designed to help seniors plan for aging-in-place, and seniors can find links to other informational resource centers where they can learn more about long-term care and living independently as they age.
Companionship services can play an important role in an individual’s life as they age. Social activity is a vital part of leading a long, healthy life, but many seniors are limited in their social options because of mobility or other health issues.
Seniors in Washington have access to companion services through the Senior Companion Program, which connects seniors with companionship services in their area. Over 170 companions work for the four divisions of the Senior Companion Program, assisting seniors with running errands, paying bills, or accomplishing other daily tasks.
With the assistance of a companion, seniors can stay independence longer, remain living in their own home, and maintain their mental health by socializing. To learn more, visit the Senior Companion Program’s website.
Additionally, seniors may access telephone companionship through a free service provided by the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC). The ADRC connects seniors with free or low-cost in-home care services, including telephone companionship and friendly visiting.
Telephone companionship can be an effective option for at-risk seniors who have not established a relationship with an in-person companion. The remote companion will call the person at pre-arranged times throughout the day, five times a week. The service is offered for free, and anyone over the age of 55 may apply to receive the service. Learn more by visiting the ADRC’s website, or email the ADRC program manager at Susan.Shepherd@dshs.wa.gov.
The Washington Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) offers dozens of resources to caregivers in the state of Washington to provide training, education, and support for individuals caring for the elderly. For example, the program hosts the Taking Care, Giving Care conference each year, dedicated to educating caregivers. Caregivers may also access any of the program’s informative pamphlets and brochures about caregiving on the website.
The Caregiver Action Network (previously known as the National Family Caregivers Association) offers reading materials and training resources to adults who serve as primary caregivers to a friend or family member. Caregivers can use the CAN’s website to discuss their questions or concerns with other experienced individuals, or they can use the family caregiver toolbox to self-educate themselves about elder care. All of the CAN’s resources are free and accessible to caregivers in all fifty states.
Additionally, the National Alliance of Caregiving (NAC) offers a wide range of training materials on their website for caregivers. The NAC was established in 1996 and serves as a nonprofit advocate for family caregivers throughout the United States. Using the NAC’s resources, caregivers can learn important information about their role and can learn new and improved ways to provide support for those in need.
Another popular resource for caregivers of seniors is the Eldercare Locator, provided by the federal government. The Eldercare Locator is a nationwide database of senior care providers, and seniors may locate nursing homes, in-home care providers, or assisted living facilities near them using the tool. Additionally, they may call their toll-free phone line to inquire about eldercare services in their community.
Finally, the American Red Cross offer caregiving classes to adults in many of the organization’s local chapters. They also offer online and in-person first aid classes. Visit the organization’s website to locate a chapter and learn more about the available classes online and in your area.
Respite care services
The Washington Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) is a free service for unpaid caregivers in the state of Washington. By participating in the program, caregivers can get access to caregiver support groups, counseling, caregiver training, and other helpful information. Caregivers can also access respite care services through the organization to give caregivers support when they need short-term caregiving support.
Most of the FCSP’s services are free, although others may require members to pay a small amount of money. For a caregiver to receive services through the FCSP, they must meet the program’s eligibility requirements, which may vary among communities.
To learn more about how the FCSP can provide respite care services, call your local FCSP branch.
Washington Residents can learn more about their options for respite care by using the ARCH (Access to Respite Care and Help) National Respite Network and Resource Center. By using the ARCH resources, seniors and caregivers can locate and review their options for respite care services in their area. The ARCH resource center works in cooperation with the National Respite Coalition (NRC) and the Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance Center (LRTAC) to create a comprehensive database of respite care services by
To find respite programs and providers in your community, visit the ARCH National Respite Locator available on the organization’s website.
The Washington State Association of Senior Centers (WSASC) is a statewide organization that connects seniors with services and activities to help them stay healthy and independent as they age. These services are offered at the program’s many senior centers, which are located in communities across the state of Washington.
To receive benefits from the WSASC, seniors must purchase a membership. Memberships are $30–55 and allow seniors to access group activities, meet other individuals in their age range, and gain access to the Washington State Senior Center Directory. Visit the WSASC website to learn more.
Hospice and palliative care
The Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (WSHPC) offers many resources to adults and seniors in order to enhance their end-of-life care. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1983.
Through advocacy and education, the WSHPC connects resources and caregivers with people who maintain terminal or life-threatening illness. These efforts allow people with terminal illness to determine which end-of-life options are
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) serves United States citizens in all fifty states who are nearing the end of their life. Founded in 1978, the NHPCO is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to bringing hospice services and palliative care to the dying. Thousands of individuals are able to access hospice services and quality end-of-life care as members of the NHPCO.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
The Dementia Action Collaborative Information and Resources (DAC) creates resources for families across the state of Washington to learn more about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. All resources offered by the DAC are free.
Caregivers can effectively prepare for their friend or family member’s journey with dementia by viewing the DAC's Dementia Road Map, or they may access any of the program’s other resources dedicated to spreading awareness for the disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association (AA) is one of the largest nonprofit advocates for Alzheimer’s research, care, and innovation in the world. Thousands of caregivers use the AA’s resources to learn more about caring for someone with dementia. While the AA operates on a national level, each state has its own branch of the organization which serves local communities. Caregivers may contact the AA directly for information, visit one of the AA’s local branches, or use the guides and information available on the organization’s website to learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s.
To find your local chapter, use the Alzheimer's Association locator tool.
Seniors have access to numerous health insurance options as they age, and it can be challenging for some to understand which options are best for them. Washington residents have access to Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor (SHIBA) services to learn more about which health insurance options are available to them.
By working with SHIBA, seniors can have their health care coverage needs
Washington residents make speak with a SHIBA advisor by:
- Locating a volunteer near them using the SHIBA online locator portal
- Contact SHIBA through the website
- Calling a SHIBA advisor at (800) 562-6900
The Federal Government offers numerous benefit programs to seniors to help them pay for their long-term care. These benefit programs also offer educational resources for seniors and caregivers who need more information regarding government-provided care. Over 55 million Americans receive health care benefits through the Medicare program. Medicare offers four plans to seniors and disabled adults, each with a primary focus on what it covers.
Medicare Part A
Also known as hospital insurance, this policy steps in when someone needs inpatient care at a skilled nursing facility or health care in their own home. Most Part A policy-holders are subject to copayments and deductibles, but many do not pay premiums for their coverage.
Medicare Part B
This policy offers medical more traditional medical insurance, and pays for durable medical equipment, visits to the physician, outpatient hospital services, and other medical services which are not covered by Medicare Part A. A Part B policy-holder will typically be charged a monthly premium for their plan, as well as copayments and deductibles for the medical services they receive.
Medicare Part C
The third policy, Medicare Advantage, operates differently than Parts A and B. Medicare Advantage allows Medicare policyholders to receive coverage from private healthcare insurance providers, which may allow seniors to receive services for a lower copayment than an Original Medicare Plan. Those enrolled in Part C may receive all of the benefits offered in Parts A and B, in addition to extra benefits unavailable through the other two plans, including prescription coverage.
Medicare Part D
The final Medicare policy offers prescription coverage to anyone with Medicare. Policyholders who enroll in Medicare Part D to pay for their medications must pay an additional premium to receive the benefits. As a result, they may obtain their prescription medications at a low cost.
By participating in any of Medicare’s programs, seniors may access the healthcare services they need without paying the entire out-of-pocket cost. Medicare is not restricted to low-income
While Medicare is operated federally, Washington state works jointly with the federal government to operate their Medicaid (known as Apple Health in Washington) program. Low-income seniors in Washington may participate in the state’s Medicaid program and receive benefits covering long-term care, prescription medications, and other
To receive Medicaid benefits, a person must meet the program’s financial requirements, and they must medically require the types of health care they want
low-income seniors who need financial assistance to pay for senior care may consider Medicaid as a resource. Medicaid is funded and operated both federally and by state, however, the federal government sets the general outlines for Medicaid eligibility. To receive health care benefits through Medicaid, a person must meet the program’s financial requirements and must be over the age of 65 to receive benefits for long-term care. Medicaid may pay for numerous health care services, including prescriptions, durable medical equipment, in-home assistance, and long-term care.
A Medicare policyholder may qualify to receive Medicaid in addition to their Medicare coverage, allowing them to save money on health care and receive more comprehensive coverage.
Seniors (or spouses of seniors) who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces may qualify to receive benefits — like the Aid and Attendance benefit — through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), depending on their membership status and their finances. The VA is operated on a national, state, and local level, and is available to veterans in all fifty states.
A person may be entitled to receive medical benefits through the VA if they maintain a service-related injury which causes them disability, their military service period falls within the VA’s guidelines, and they exhibit financial need. Seniors and disabled adults can learn more about the healthcare benefits available to them through the VA by contacting their local VA office and speaking with a caseworker.
Nutrition and Wellness
The National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging (NRCNA) is sponsored by Meals on Wheels as a means to educate seniors and caregivers about their nutritional needs. The NRCNA offers training for caregivers, nutritional programs to improve senior wellness, and hundreds of resources aimed at informing caregivers about wellness and nutrition. To learn more about what the NRCNA has to offer, visit the program’s website.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) operates the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which serves as a research program for elderly persons. The NIA’s mission is to learn which factors contribute to healthy aging, as well as to find solutions to diseases and afflictions which are commonly associated with old age. Seniors and caregivers can find hundreds of resources relevant to aging and health on the NIA’s website.
Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) is a program for seniors to increase their strength, balance, and overall fitness. By participating in SAIL, seniors can improve their mobility and reduce their risk of falls by establishing healthy exercise routines. There are no fees for seniors to participate in SAIL, and all Washington residents over the age of 65 may enroll.
- Active Choices
- Active Living Every Day
- Fit and Strong
- Healthy Moves for Aging Well
- Walk With Ease
Each program has its own focus, but each is dedicated to helping seniors stay healthy by exercising and maintaining an active lifestyle. By participating in any of the
Legal assistance for seniors
The Northwest Justice Project is a nonprofit organization offering legal services to low-income seniors at low cost. Each year, over 18,000 seniors receive legal assistance from the Northwest Justice Project. There are nine offices for the Northwest Justice Project in Washington, and residents statewide may receive assistance from the organization.
Seniors can begin to receive assistance from the Northwest Justice Program by participating in their toll-free intake program, known as CLEAR. Residents can access CLEAR by calling (888) 201-1014, which will allow the program to intake them as a client. Once onboard, clients can request legal information or be connected with a legal representative to discuss their concerns.
Seniors in Washington can get free transportation to and from medical appointments through their local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). To learn more about how a local AAA can connect seniors with free and affordable transportation services, locate your AAA and contact them for 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.