Many people who call our office are not aware of the local resources that exist to help both the elderly and those with disabilities. This is why I’ve decided to write this blog post. This blog post is not meant to be all-encompassing, but I want to lay out some of the major programs offered in Arizona. With a little bit of patience and further research, these resources can hopefully help in a major way
ALTCS is an acronym for Arizona Long Term Care System and is pronounced ALTECS. This is Arizona’s program for those who need a high level of care (usually at the nursing home level), but do not have the necessary funds to pay for that care. It is a state-administered program that combines federal Medicaid money with state and country contributions. It is a part of the larger Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, commonly abbreviated to AHCCCS.
ALTCS will pay for the entirety of long-term care costs for those who qualify for the benefit. Long-term care can be provided either at home or in a care home setting. The application process usually takes around ninety days. Although this program uses funds from Medicaid, there are different rules than the regular Medicaid application with very strict medical and financial requirements. Click here to see Arizona’s specific requirements for enrollment. Each state has different rules so if you’ve recently moved to Arizona, you will have to reapply, even if you had Medicaid long term care benefits in your previous state.
Community Waivers and Medicaid
Beyond medical insurance and long-term care services, Medicaid also offers community waivers. Home and community-based services, commonly abbreviated to HCBS waivers, include home health, adult day health services, in-home respite care, out of home respite care, medical alert devices, and more. HCBS waivers are meant to promote aging in place, meaning seniors and those with disabilities can safely live at home for a longer period of time.
In regards to the services above, in-home respite care usually assists with non-medical tasks. Professionals and volunteers can come into the home and provide companionship, recreation, or meals to give the caregiver a break. For out of home respite care, caregivers can find a participating group home, memory care facility, assisted living, or any other licensed residential facility. Once a home or facility is chosen, out of home respite care is meant to provide short-term professional care. Before receiving HCBS waivers, applicants must meet many of the same qualifications as those applying to ALTCS
Area Agencies on Aging
Depending upon which county you live in, your area agency on aging will differ, but all area agencies on aging are meant to help you find the best resources to meet your needs. Although it says aging in the title, anybody can use their services including those with developmental disabilities, TBIs, HIV, and even caregivers. As a donor-supported non-profit, area agencies on aging provide free counseling, free guidebooks containing resources, benefit application assistance, and help transitioning from one type of care to another. They can also help with job placement and training as they have partnerships with many private agencies and professional organizations. Of all the resources listed in this post, area agencies on aging can provide the most comprehensive help.
The SAIL Program
Specific to Maricopa County, the Senior Adult Independent Living (SAIL) program provides in-home services to residents who are disabled or over the age of sixty. The purpose of the SAIL program is to help people with their activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, dressing, and walking. Receiving assistance with ADLs allows people to remain within the comfort of their own homes longer. Case managers within the SAIL program help organize personal care, hot meal delivery, adult day health care, nursing, and minor home repair and cleaning services. To learn more or apply for the SAIL program call them directly at 602-264-4357.
Each situation is unique so some of these resources may not be useful for everyone. If, however, you think you or a loved one could use one of these resources it is best to call your local area agency on aging. With so much information out there, narrowing down benefits can understandably become stressful, but keep in mind there are people out there waiting to help.
Max Gottlieb is the content manager at Senior Planning and ALTCS in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2007, Senior Planning has provided free assistance to seniors and their families, helping them navigate the often-complicated process of long-term care planning.