(Mostly) Free Resources for Seniors in Los Angeles

Your 1+1 Team
July 7, 2021

For anyone looking for the resources available to senior citizens in the Los Angeles area, as well as other California locations, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of some fantastic resources that are free or almost free. Read on to see how you can improve the quality of life for your aging loved one, without bankrupting yourself.

Senior Centers

First off, never overlook the many senior centers that are dedicated to the health and happiness (and boredom prevention) of your loved one. Most large cities host senior centers to provide such services as social interaction, fitness programs, classes, trips, and more. A full list of available Los Angeles area Senior Centers can be found on the Parks and Recreation website.

County-Level Directory of Services for the Aging

County-level Directory of Services Local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) coordinates a wide variety of services for older adults, adults with disabilities, informal caregivers, and family caregivers. You can locate the AAA in your area by selecting your county on the Find Services in My County page of this website. For instance, clicking on the County of Los Angeles takes you to this page, where you can find contact and other information. However, be aware that not all the listed organizations are free or low-cost.

For aging adults who are focused on their personal health and independence, home and community services enable older adults to access services that support home and community services: healthy living and promote independence. Together, these services promote older adults’ ability to maintain the highest possible levels of function, participation, and dignity in the community.

A variety of services are available and vary by area. Services are either provided directly by AAA or partnerships with service providers. Services may include:

  • Caregiver assistance and help at home
  • Adult Day Health Care/Adult Day Care/Respite care
  • Assisted transportation
  • Transportation
  • Legal assistance
  • Telephone support
  • Care management
  • Information and Assistance

We’ll outline some of these services below:

Just for Caregivers

Are you providing care for an elderly relative? Are you balancing the needs of your parents and your children? Then you know how stressful it can be. The demands on your time, energy, health, and finances may be significantly increased. Often, this puts a strain on your other relationships—marriage, family, and career.

Fortunately, there are family and caregiver services that can help with caregiving options that can help lighten your load and make it easier for you to provide the best possible care for your loved ones.

The Family Caregiver Support Program addresses the unique needs of family members who provide care to a relative. The available services include:

  • Arranging for respite care, temporary in-home or out-of-home relief, so that you can have time to yourself to attend to other responsibilities or just to rejuvenate and recharge
  • Providing training to you and other family members who are responsible for frail, older adults

Medicare Counseling

Medicare Counseling is a very popular service for many aging adults in Los Angeles.

  • Wondering how to sign up for Medicare now that you are almost 65?
  • Confused about all the different parts of Medicare—do you need A, B, C, D?
  • Have questions on prescription drug coverage, co-pays, or eligibility rules?
  • Need help filing an appeal or challenging a denial?
  • Considering long-term care insurance?

HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education, and assistance to individuals and their families on Medicare, Long-Term Care insurance, other health insurance related issues, and planning ahead for Long-Term Care needs. HICAP also provides legal assistance or legal referrals in dealing with Medicare or Long-Term Care insurance related issues.

HICAP counselors are trained in Medi-Cal and Medicare and can help you understand the complex insurance options to find the best fit for you. You can also learn about Medicare or Medi-Cal by attending community presentations or conferences conducted by HICAP counselors.

Legal Services

Legal Services are available to assist older adults and adults with disabilities with a variety of legal problems concerning housing, consumer fraud, elder abuse, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Medi-Cal, age discrimination, pensions, nursing homes, protective services, conservatorships, and other matters.

  • California Bar Foundation – Legal Issues & Resources for Seniors This Guide provides California specific answers to frequently asked questions related to financial, housing, employment, health care, estate planning and many other important issues.
  • Bet Tzedek provides free legal services for low-income seniors and their families, including help with advance planning (such as wills and healthcare directives), public benefits, and housing protection.

Job Training

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based job training program for low-income, unemployed older adults. SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service activities at non-profit and government agencies. Participants work an average of 20 hours a week, and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wages. This training serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities for participants.
Federal Poverty Guidelines can be found at the following page: Training and Employment Guidance Letter – US Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration

Healthier Living

General Health Assistance

In addition to the AAA sponsored programs, the California Healthier Living Coalition website includes many evidence-based fall prevention and chronic disease self-management workshops offered by a variety of organizations, including health care providers. These workshops are often open to adults of all ages.

  • Need assistance preventing or better managing chronic conditions? Learn techniques and strategies to prevent or mitigate the effects of chronic diseases including osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Programs promote healthier living through alcohol and substance abuse reduction, smoking cessation, weight loss and control, stress management, fall prevention, and managing depression.

Nutrition and Exercise

Staying healthy includes nutrition exercise, too. CalFresh Healthy Living (SNAP-ED) is a program designed to assist individuals with leading a healthy lifestyle by providing nutrition education and physical activities. The CalFresh Healthy Living program are administered by participating

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) which coordinate activities that address the following:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle
  • Eating healthy on a budget
  • Maintaining a balanced diet

Fall Prevention

The mission of the Dignity At Home Fall Prevention Program is to reduce the number of debilitating falls suffered by older adults and persons with disabilities.

Each year, millions of older adults fall, about one out of four. Research has shown that one out of five falls result in serious injuries such as a broken bone, a head injury or even death. In addition, medical costs for falls cost more than 50 billion dollars each year. Research shows that many falls are preventable.

There are a number of risk factors that contribute to falling such as lower body weakness, poor vision, medications, foot pain and environmental trip hazards. Services are either provided by the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) or through contracted service providers.

Services may include:

  • Fall prevention information and education
  • Referrals and provision of fall and injury prevention resources
  • In-home environmental assessments
  • Home modifications
  • Instruction on behavioral, physical and environmental aspects of fall prevention
  • Purchase of injury prevention equipment, services, materials and labor costs

Alternatives to Institutional or Nursing Facility Placement

Multipurpose Senior Services Program

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) provides many services for free or almost free to Medi-Cal eligible individuals who are 65 years or older and disabled as an alternative to nursing facility placement. The MSSP is a source for both social and health care management services to assist individuals remain in their own homes and communities.

While most of the program participants also receive In-Home Supportive Services, MSSP provides on-going care coordination, links participants to other needed community services and resources, coordinates with health care providers, and purchases some needed services that are not otherwise available to prevent or delay institutionalization. The total annual combined cost of care management and other services must be lower than the cost of receiving care in a skilled nursing facility.

A team of health and social service professionals provides each MSSP participant with a complete health and psychosocial assessment to determine needed services. The team then works with the MSSP participant, their physician, family, and others to develop an individualized care plan. Services include:

  • Care management
  • Adult day care
  • Minor home repair/maintenance
  • Supplemental in-home chore, personal care, and protective supervision services
  • Respite services
  • Transportation services
  • Counseling and therapeutic services
  • Meal services
  • Communication services

Community-Based Adult Services

CBAS (Community-Based Adult Services) is a community-based day health program that provides services to older adults and adults with chronic medical, cognitive, or behavioral health conditions and/or disabilities that make them at risk of needing institutional care.

The CBAS Program is an alternative to institutional care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries who can live at home with the aid of appropriate health, rehabilitative, personal care, and social services. The Program stresses partnership with the participant, the family and/or caregiver, the primary care physician, and the community in working toward maintaining personal independence.
Each CBAS center has health professionals who assess each potential participant to identify and plan services needed to meet the individual’s specific health and social needs. Services provided at the center include:

  • Professional nursing services
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies
  • Mental health services
  • Therapeutic activities
  • Social services
  • Personal care
  • Hot meals and nutritional counseling
  • Transportation to and from the participant’s residence

Disabled Senior Services

Aging and Disability Resource Connection: A variety of supportive services are available — though currently not in all of the Los Angeles area. Currently services are available in these counties:

Services may include:

  • Enhanced Information and Referral Services – Comprehensive resource information, follow-ups, and referrals via “warm hand-offs.”
    Options Counseling – Assist in identifying goals and needs through person-centered counseling and coordinating access to public and private-funded long-term services and supports in the community.
  • Short-Term Service Coordination – Expedited access to services and supports for individuals at risk of institutionalization, generally for 90 days or less, until a longer-term plan is in place.
  • Transition Services – For people who are currently in a hospital, nursing facility, or other institution and wish to receive long-term services and support at home or in a community-based setting.

The resources listed above are a great starting place for free or almost-free services in Los Angeles for those who are aging and the families who care for them. Sign up for our mailing list to receive more information on these and other resources.

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