Continued independence of older adults in the state is facilitated by transportation services offered in their communities. Nearly 300 vehicles (from vans to mini-buses) take older adults where they want to go, whether to dental and medical appointments, shopping areas, senior centers, recreational areas, food stamp offices, social security offices or educational facilities. Transportation is provided by local civic or community groups and Area Agencies on Aging in coordination with programs funded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Information, Assistance, Outreach and Local Focal Points
Knowing where to turn for help is the first step toward getting it. That first step is made easier through information, assistance, outreach and local focal points designated by the Division of Aging and Adult Services or Area Agencies on Aging. These points for information and assistance usually are the Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, adult day care centers, or community action agencies. They link older adults to needed services and follow up as necessary to ensure that needs are met. Visit www.AoA.gov.
The Older Adult Nutrition Program (OANP) is more than a meal - a well-balanced meal which provides a minimum of one-third (1/3) of the nutrient-based Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for older adults and follows the food-based Dietary Guidelines for Older Americans. The OANP is, also, fellowship for the 29% of seniors who participate in the congregate program at senior center sites and help and hope for the 71% of frail elderly whose meals are delivered to their homes.
For those times when older adults need legal advice, consultation or representation, legal assistance may be obtained from lawyers or paralegals who have agreed to provide services to the state's elderly. Many of the services are available without charge from legal services programs. In other cases, private attorneys have agreed to accept reduced fees for referred elderly clients. Older persons with a legal problem should contact their Area Agency on Aging for more information about contacting a legal services office.
Mississippi Medicare Assistance Patrol Project (MsMAPP)
MsMAPP is a federally-funded project to provide information and outreach, educating seniors. SMP’s goal is to increase public awareness of the potential for health care error and abuse in the Medicare system; to prevent healthcare fraud; to prevent improper payments in Medicare programs; to preserve public health programs (Medicare/Medicaid) for future generations; and to recruit and train retired professionals and interested adults as dedicated volunteers who will educate Medicare beneficiaries, and their families, recognize and report discrepancies in their health care delivery that may be caused by simple error or by fraud, waste or abuse; and the importance of recognizing and reporting healthcare error, fraud and abuse (Protect, Detect, Report). SMP is volunteer-driven. Because expediency often requires face-to-face contact, SMPs nationwide recruit and train some 5,000 volunteers every year to help in the effort.
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
Adults 55 and above are working throughout the state through assistance from the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The program identifies employment opportunities for older persons whose incomes place them at or below the federal poverty level; who are unemployed or underemployed; or who have difficulty finding a
job. Adults in the program generally work an average of 20 hours a week, receiving at least minimum wage.
The frail elderly need special assistance to remain independent as long as possible. They receive it through case management - the planning, arrangement and coordination of appropriate community- based services. A network of public services is established, along with an informal support system of family members, friends, neighbors, churches, civic clubs and concerned citizens. Case managers identify the needs of frail elderly adults through a comprehensive assessment completed in the homes of clients. The assessment is followed by the development of a care plan, with the input of family members. The case manager arranges for appropriate services and does ongoing monitoring and adjustment to ensure proper care.
Many older adults get the help they need to stay in their homes through the In-Home Services Program. The Homemaker program gives older citizens the option of having homemakers perform the housekeeping tasks they can no longer do or need assistance in doing. Homemakers perform routine household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, mending, grocery shopping, laundry, consumer education, bathing, dressing, safety education and oral hygiene assistance. The amount of time spent in homes depends on the needs of the older adult and the availability of the homemaker service. This service is provided at no cost to the older person, although contributions are solicited to help expand the availability of the service. Home-delivered meals provide basic nutrition for the frail homebound elderly. In some areas home health and respite care are also provided in the home.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care centers specialize in supervised care for functionally impaired elderly adults. Their programs focus on health maintenance, prevention/intervention and rehabilitation needs of older adults capable of only limited self-care. The centers care for adults four or more hours a day while their family members work or enjoy a respite from their role as caretaker. Center services are individualized, based on a systematic evaluation of each person's needs and strengths. Care is guided by an individual plan which outlines long and short term goals. The plan is reviewed periodically with family members for refinement and adjustment.
The Ombudsman Program provides... A Voice for Residents. The ombudsman serves as a resident advocate and supports residents' highest possible quality of life and care and is responsible for investigating, and attempting to resolve concerns and complaints and by, or on behalf of, residents of long-term care facilities. Additional ombudsman services include answering questions and providing information and referral about long-term care residents; coordinating efforts with other agencies and organizations concerned with long-term care, while respecting the privacy and confidentiality of
residents. Ten (10) local ombudsman programs are located throughout the state in the 10 Planning and Development Districts. Within each local ombudsman program, a full-time certified ombudsman is responsible for program components. Volunteers are also an integral part of the ombudsman program.