Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service
Senior Citizens: Administration, Programs and Services
O1 Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA)
One Ashburton Place, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Toll Free: 1-800-882-2003 (within Mass. only)
24/7 Elder Abuse Hotline V/TTY Toll Free: 1-800-922-2275 (within Mass. only)
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs is an administrative agency responsible for the planning and implementation of service programs for the elderly. It manages state and federally-funded programs which provide home care services, housing, meals, employment, and social, supportive, and protective services primarily through the state's Home Care Corporations and Area Agencies on Aging. The office is responsible for the fostering and establishment of Councils on Aging as well as the provision of technical supervision and assistance to community service agencies and the examination and review of other state agency programs related to the elderly. The office also oversees the Division of Medical Assistance Long Term Care Services. Information and referral to most services and programs are being directed by the next entry, 800-AGE-INFO.
Massachusetts Home Care Association
26 Crosby Drive
Bedford, MA 01730
Toll Free: 1-800-AGE-INFO (243-4636) (nationwide)
TTY Information and Referral Toll Free: 1-800-872-0166 (within Mass. only)
The partnership between the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Home Care
Association is designed to inform and offer referral services for programs and services for the state’s elderly population,
their families, and their caregivers.
Councils on Aging/Senior Center Programs provide social and health services, advocacy, information and referral services for elders at a local level. Councils on Aging are municipal agencies that receive information, technical assistance, and some funding under formula and service incentive grants from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs certifies Assisted Living Residences (ALRs). Assisted Living refers to a combination of housing and supportive services including personal care (such as bathing and dressing) and household management (such as meals and housekeeping). ALRs vary in size and style ranging from small apartments to larger family style units. Some serve fewer than 10 residents while others serve over 100 residents. Some ALRs are non-profit organizations, some have religious affiliations and some have units or wings to address the needs of special populations such as residents with Alzheimer's disease. While the majority of Assisted Living residents pay privately some facilities do accept Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) payments from Medicaid. For a list of the Assisted Living Residences, which accept GAFC, payments, contact the Division of Medical Assistance at (617) 210-5000
The purpose of the Assisted Living Ombudsman Program is to maintain or improve the quality of life for assisted living residents in the areas of health, safety, welfare or resident rights. The Assisted Living Ombudsman acts as a mediator and attempts to resolve problems and conflicts that arise between an assisted living facility and one or more of its residents. Assisted Living residents and their families may call the Assisted Living Ombudsman Program for information and assistance, to register a complaint or to have a complaint investigated. Complaints may be brought on behalf of a specific resident or on behalf of residents as a whole.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program was developed to assist residents of nursing and rest homes. Services include: complaint investigation and resolution; information and referral; and advocacy for change in the long term care system. Information on selecting a nursing home is available. The program works closely with the Department of Public Health's Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification in resolving issues and concerns. The Department of Public Health's Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification has developed a resource called Nursing Home Report Cards, to help consumers make educated and informed decisions about the availability of nursing home residency The SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) program was developed to meet the growing need for independent and accurate information about health care choices and coverage. SHINE is a volunteer network of health benefits counselors who provide information to elders about Medigap Insurance, Medicare, HMOs, public benefits, retiree health plans, individual insurance, prescription drug charge coverage, health insurance counseling, long term care insurance and other health insurance options. SHINE provides confidential and free health insurance counseling.
The Prescription Advantage Program is designed to provide Massachusetts elders and younger residents with qualified disabilities assistance paying for prescription medicines. Call or visit their website for further information. For additional information on prescription drugs at low or no cost see O3.
The Protective Services Program investigates and, when appropriate, intervenes in cases where there is evidence that an elder has been neglected, abused or financially exploited by someone in a domestic setting. The protective services system is anchored by a 24 hour, seven day a week emergency hotline. It is empowered by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 19A to take steps that ensure that elder victims of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation receive protective and supportive services. Unlike the Protective Services Program, the EAR program does not require the presence of an abusive or neglectful caregiver in order for services to be provided. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs contracts with agencies to provide guardianship services to elders who have been abused and a court has determined to be at risk or harm, and to lack decision-making capacity. The primary objective is to act as an adjunct to protective services when no other less restrictive means are available to protect elders who are lacking the capacity to consent to services. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs and regional Area Agencies on Aging may be able to refer seniors to legal assistance agencies that provide low or no cost legal assistance to people sixty years of age and older in civil matters.
The Nutrition Program is the second largest program operated by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Twenty-eight (27) nutrition projects, located throughout the Commonwealth, serve over eight million meals to elders each year. Meals are provided at congregate meal sites as well as to homebound elders.
The Home Care Program is administered throughout the Commonwealth through contracts with 27 private non-profit corporations called Aging Services Access Points (ASAP). The ASAPs provide case management services that include a comprehensive, interdisciplinary needs assessment and care plan. ASAPs contract with a variety of service providers to address the identified needs of eligible elders in the Home Care Program. These services may include: homemaker, personal care, transportation, home delivered meals, laundry service, grocery shopping services, adult day care, chore services, companionship, personal emergency response, adaptive housing, and emergency shelter. The Congregate Housing Program provides residences that offer a shared living environment where elders can maintain their independence and "age-in-place" in a home-like setting with supportive services. Jointly sponsored by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, there are currently almost 900 units statewide offering a model residential alternative integrating shelter and support services. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has extended the concept by arranging for extended service options through ASAPs.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs supports efforts to promote intergenerational programs and services to enhance quality of life throughout the life span. It is working with other state agencies and social service organizations to promote literacy programs and train volunteers. In addition, the office facilitates monthly meetings of the Massachusetts Grandparent Resource Network and offers a resource guide and information and referral services to all members of grandparent-headed families.
Senior Community Service Employment Programs (SCSEP) manages special purpose employment and volunteer programs for elders who meet age and/or income requirements. Seniors earn stipends as volunteers or hourly wages as part-time employees. Title IV-A funds the federal Administration on Aging and discretionary funds under the Title III of the Older Americans Act assists the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in providing in-service and short-term training programs. The office contracts with institutions of higher education and training organizations to provide courses and other training activities designed to meet the manpower and training needs of the staff of various public and private agencies engaged in the delivery of services to older persons and members of the general public interested in working on behalf of the elderly. Senior citizens 65 years or older interested in continuing education and meeting certain income requirements, may attend any state, regional, or community college including the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell without paying tuition. See E33 on page 61 for contact information. The Adult Day Care program is a community-based program designed to meet the needs of functionally impaired adults through an individual plan of care. The program is an alternative to institutionalized care. Individuals receive a variety of health, social, and related services in a protective setting during part of the day. Adult Day Health services are primarily paid for by Medicaid, although other state agencies such as the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and some private insurers also provide reimbursement for the program.
Senior citizens may be eligible for exemptions on their property tax or for deferral of payment of all or part of their property tax. There are stringent eligibility requirements for these plans, which are administered by the board of assessors in each community. Contact a local assessor's office, the Department of Revenue's Property Tax Bureau at (617) 626-2300. To look up the phone number to you town/city Assessors’ office you may visit: www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cistel/telidx.htm , or call Citizen Information Service at: 617-727-7030 or 1-800-392-6090.
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