Age Well Live Well: Be Informed

Even with the best planning we still may need support to age our best. Knowing about statewide and local services and programs can help you decide what is best for you.

Take time now to learn about the services, supports and programs that are available; who provides the services; and some basic eligibility information – that way if you or a loved one need support, locating it won't add to your stress. Explore the topics below and learn more about starting conversations with your loved ones about aging related issues at Texas Talks.

Learn about the Aging services provided by HHS.

Housing

It is estimated that by 2030, there will be 132 million older adults in the United States and there is not enough affordable housing to meet the needs of this growing population. Having access to stable, affordable housing is a key component to aging and living well. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has information on staying in your home, finding rental properties, and protecting yourself against scams and housing discrimination. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has a search engine that enables Texans to search for low-income housing.

Learn more about housing on the Aging Well Resources Order Form. Choose housing in the category box.

Long-term Care

Long-term care refers to a variety of supports designed to help people with daily living tasks such as bathing, dressing, personal care, housekeeping and preparing meals. The most common supports are:

  • home health care which are a range of health services that provide care to people in their own homes.
  • day activity and health services which provide daytime services to address the physical, mental, medical and social needs of participants.
  • assisted living which are 24-hour residential facilities that offers some assistance with daily living, such as laundry, medication and meals; staff are on-call 24-7.
  • nursing facilities which are 24-hour residential facilities that provide care for people with significant physical or behavioral health needs.

Medicare's Nursing Home Compare can help to identify long-term care options.

Learn more about long-term care by visiting the HHS Long-term Care page.

Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. There are several variations of Medicare, including:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital) –covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) –covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) –pays some of the health care costs that Medicare Part A & B do not cover.
  • Medicare Part C (Advantage Plans) –offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits. This type of plan also may provide drug benefits.
  • Medicare Part D –provides prescription drug coverage.

Area Agency on Aging Benefits Counselors can answer Medicare benefits questions, help you enroll and walk you through insurance questions. Call toll-free 800-252-9240 to find the AAA near you.

Learn more about Medicare by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or visiting medicare.gov.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a jointly funded federal-state health insurance program that covers more than 72.5 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, partners, older adults, people with disabilities and people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments. People who have both Medicaid and Medicare are called dual eligible, and in most cases all healthcare will be free to people who are dual eligible.

Learn more and apply for benefits at Your Texas Benefits.

Transportation

A 2017 report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute described the unmet needs and gaps in local transportation services for older adults. Without access to reliable transportation services, older adults face challenges receiving these critical health and community resources. Accessible transportation includes not only the means of transportation, but the environment to get a person to and from the transportation. Area Agencies on Aging may be able to assist you in finding transportation services. Call toll-free 800-252-9240 to be connected to your Area Agency on Aging. Older adults who are driving may find the AARP driver safety courses helpful, and the American Automobile Association website provides resources for older drivers, including self-assessments and training for improving performance.

Learn more about transportation on the Aging Well Resources Order Form. Choose transportation in the category box.

Employment

While some older adults keep working because they enjoy it or because they want to receive more benefits from a defined contribution retirement plan, many continue to work because they need the income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of people age 75 and older in the labor force will grow to 96.5 percent by 2030. Learn more at AARP's work page. Their opportunity to work depends on the local employment environment and workplace culture. While it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their age, it still happens. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Call the San Antonio Field Office at 800-669-4000 if you would like more information.

Learn more about age discrimination in the workplace or in the application process, contact the Texas Workforce Commission.

Legal Preparedness

Knowing what we should plan for legally can help relieve our fears and the fears of our loved ones. It's not always an easy conversation to have with your family members but developing a plan for addressing any legal issues is a good step to aging well. Issues like access to benefits, guardianship, age discrimination, estate planning and consumer protection can affect older adults' legal health. The Texas Legal Services Center provides legal services and resources to people with low-income and others who meet qualifying criteria. Call toll-free 800-622-2520. Texas Law Help provides information about the laws that affect older Texans.

Learn more about the rights of older Texans by visiting the Texas Attorney General’s site.

Explore all Age Well Live Well be informed resources on the Aging Well Resources Order Form. Choose Age Well Live Well in the program box.