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Help for Georgia’s Aging Population

October 18, 2016

Here’s a simple fact of life: We all get older.

And another fact: Our bodies and situations change as we do.

The Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services (DAS) is one of many state offices that recognizes the need to support older adults. Elderly people and their families and caregivers can find information from DAS on dementia, legal assistance, Medicare and much more.

Assistance Highlights

There’s so much available for elders in Georgia that digging through it all can quickly become overwhelming. Start your research here by looking at a few areas of need shared amongst many older adults.

Disaster Help

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, it’s vital that Georgians know what resources are available to them. Due to increased health issues and an often decrease in family and friend connections over time, the aging community is at special risk in times of disaster.

The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) recognized this need. Their joint Georgia Disaster Mental Health website addresses disaster-related problems specific to elders. The site covers everything from how to prepare for disaster — including special tips for people with dementia — to managing disaster-related stress and what elders can expect after a disaster occurs.

Medicare Open Enrollment

The Medicare enrollment period started last Saturday (Oct. 15), and runs through Dec. 7. DAS offers free counseling to Georgians to help them make informed decisions about their medical coverage. Call GeorgiaCares’ toll-free line at 866-552-4464 and choose Option 4 for your free Medicare counseling.

Living Options

Older adults and people with disabilities can maintain their sense of independence with the Community Care Services Program (CCSP). Services provided — such as emergency response support, home-delivered meals and more — allow people to stay in their home when they would otherwise move into a nursing home. Learn more about the CCSP from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

In some cases, the best option for an older person is to move out of their home into a long term care facility. Find information about specific nursing homes and Assisted Living Communities in Georgia with the Department of Community Health.

Veterans

Elders who are veterans may require special assistance. Find information related to veterans’ benefits assistance and nursing homes for veterans from the Georgia Department of Veterans Service.

Elder Abuse

Older adults are susceptible to abuse, neglect and exploitation. We’re especially aware of safety issues for elders during October, Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month. Learn about the signs of elder abuse and how you can report it in our blog post. If you perceive an immediate and serious risk, don’t hesitate to call 911.

How Can I Help?

One of the most important things you can do help older adults is to simply be available. Elders can often live in an increasing state of isolation as they retire and watch the people they love moving on with their lives or passing away. They need someone to talk to and ask for help. Even if you just play cards or watch a show together, you are providing much-needed interaction.

If you don’t have a direct connection with any elderly people but you’d like to help this community, check out the Department of Aging Services’ volunteer opportunities. Here you can find ways to get involved, resources and ideas to get started.

Holiday Gift Drive

Your help is needed now! You have the opportunity to sponsor an elder in the DAS’s holiday gift drive. You will be paired with a specific low-income person and shop for items that they need as well as items that they may want. The drive coordinators will work with you to find a match and gift size that you feel comfortable donating.

Act quickly! Items must be submitted by Nov. 2. Learn how to get started from the Department of Aging Services.

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On Georgia.gov, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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