For Older Adults able to live at home with some assistance, various types of supports are available in North Carolina. Although most in-home health care for seniors is not covered by government benefits, there are various programs to help with meals, transportation and support for family caregivers. Some of these programs are listed below.
Home Delivered Meals
Hot, nutritious meals are available for delivery to assist older adults who are unable to prepare their own meals, Monday through Friday excluding holidays. The program, often called “Meals on Wheels” serves those age 60 or over and homebound, and that person’s spouse regardless of age. In the Piedmont Triad, you can consult the Provider Directory on the website of the regional Area Agency on Agency to locate organizations offering meals deliveries in your community. The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services has a statewide North Carolina directory of contacts for home meals, too.
Congregate Nutrition provides a meal (typically lunch), in a group setting. For example, some senior centers offer this meal, supported by the Home and Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults. The meal provides one-third of the Recommended Daily Dietary Allowance to support nutrition for seniors.
Transportation assistance is available for seniors who can’t drive themselves, and no family or friend is available for trips to the grocery store or doctors. Generally each county’s transportation system serves both the general public and the county’s human service agencies. Many of these agencies have programs to help people get to services when they do not have access to a vehicle. For example, in Guilford County, the Senior Resources Center has a listing of transportation options, under its Pathways and Protocols directory. Each area has its own agency supported by the Home and Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults, which will have similar listings of available services. Some of these programs encourage a donation to contribute toward the cost of the rides, and eligibility may be limited to people age 60 and older.
If you are Medicaid-eligible, Medicaid can pay for your ride to Medicaid-covered services. To coordinate this, contact your social worker or call your county Department of Social Services. The local DSS may have other options available for transportation for low income adults who are not on Medicaid.
In-Home Aide Services
Limited in-home aide services are available through the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. For information, go to the NC DAAS in-home aide program summary page. The in-home aide services are intended to assist with essential daily activities in the areas of home management and personal care tasks for persons with functional/ physical and/or mental impairments, enabling them to live at home longer. There is also support available to provide assistance and respite to family caregivers.
Family Caregiver Support Program
Families and friends provide most long-term care in North Carolina. The Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) offers various services to support family caregivers.
Eligible family caregivers include:
- A caregiver of any age providing care for an older adult age 60 or older, or who is providing care for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease or related brain disorder.
- A caregiver (who is not the birth or adoptive parent), age 55 or older, either (a) raising a related child age 18 and under, or (b) caring for an adult with a disability.
The specific support services offered by the FCSP program vary by county. Typical services include:
- Information to caregivers about available services;
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services;
- Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and training to assist caregivers in the areas of health, nutrition, and financial literacy, and in making decisions and solving problems about their caregiving roles;
- Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities; and
- Supplemental services, on a limited basis.
These services supplement other State and Community-Based Services, to serve the caregivers. By helping to reduce caregiver stress, anxiety and depression, these types of caregiver support enable family and friends to continue providing care for a longer time. That allows the person live at home longer, and avoids or delays the need for costly institutional care.
Adult Day Care and Adult Day Health in North Carolina
Adult day care are a structured daytime program in a community group setting. The purpose is to support personal independence of older adults and promote their social, physical, and emotional well-being. Programs must offer a variety of activities designed to meet the individual needs and interests of the participants, including referral to and assistance in using other community resources. Further information about North Carolina Adult Day Care is available at the NC DAAS website adult day care summary page. Adult Day Health is also referenced, which provide some additional health care services to the participants.