Q. How can I learn which Medicare Part D or other health insurance plan is best for my Elderly parent?
A. The SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) Program provides health insurance counseling services to elderly and disabled adults. SHINE counselors are trained to handle complex questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage, public benefits with health care components, Medicaid, prescription drug assistance programs, drug discount cards, and long-term health insurance. To be connected to your local SHINE counselor, please call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) press option #2.

Q. My Elderly parent is having difficulty preparing nutritious meals. Is there any program that could help with this?
A. Yes. The Elderly Nutrition Program is a federal and state funded nutrition program, administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs that supports the provision of nutritious meals to senior citizens by local elder service agencies. To find out about Nutrition programs such as the Home Delivered Meals and Congregate Meals Programs in your area, please call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) or visit the Meals and Nutrition section of our Portal.

Q. Is there any assistance available for my Elderly relative who is having difficulty bathing and dressing independently?
A. The Home Care Program is administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in coordination with local Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) located in communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Services provided by the program include personal care, which could be of assistance to your relative; homemaker, adult day care, home deliver meals, transportation and other community support services intended to help maintain an elder in his/her home. The ASAPs conduct comprehensive needs assessments to determine eligibility for programs and services as appropriate. An individualized service plan is developed with the elder and his/her family for implementation by subcontracted providers. Case managers, and nurses, as appropriate, reassess the elder's needs and monitor the services on an ongoing basis. To contact your local ASAP, please call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636 press option #3) or visit the 1-800-Age-Info website .

Q. What are the eligibility requirements for elder home care services?
A: The Home Care Program serves elders aged 60 or more who reside in a non-institutional setting in Massachusetts, whose income is within annually published parameters, and who are in need of assistance with activities of daily living. Staff at your local Aging Service Access Point (ASAP) can provide detailed eligibility information and assess your loved one's needs and eligibility. For those who do not qualify for publicly funded services (some of which are provided on a cost-sharing basis, depending on income), information about local sources of privately paid services is also available. To search for an ASAP in your area, visit the 1-800-Age-Info website.

Q. I am a caregiver for my elderly loved one who resides in a Nursing Facility. I am concerned about her care. Is there anyone that could visit her to ensure that she is being cared for properly?
A. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is a state and federally mandated program administered through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. It utilizes the services of certified volunteer Ombudsman. Ombudsmen visit the nursing and rest homes on a regular basis. When a resident, family member or friend expresses a complaint and asks the Ombudsman to intervene, the Ombudsman works with the resident and facility staff to resolve the problem. To learn more about your local Long Term Care Ombudsman, visit the Long Term Care Ombudsman section of our Portal.

Q. My elderly relative lives alone. I'm concerned that he will not be able to reach emergency personnel in the event of a fall or other medical emergency. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) is an electronic device that enables the user to contact help 24 hours per day by pressing a button on a pendant that is usually worn around the neck or wrist. This service can be purchased privately from a number of companies that offer these systems. It may also be subsidized by Medicaid or the Veteran's Administration, or may be included as part of an eligible elder's home care service plan.

Q. My Elderly Parent is seeking to downsize and move out of the family home. What type of housing options are available for Elders?
A. There are a variety of housing options available for elders in Massachusetts including: Community Elder Housing, Supportive Housing, Congregate Housing, Assisted Living, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Adult Foster Care. In making living arrangement decisions, all housing options should be carefully understood. Some of these options are market rate and others are subsidized. For more details on housing options visit the Housing section of our Portal.