There are literally hundreds of listings for elder care resources. The good news is we are quite fortunate to have so many options. The bad news, however, is knowing where to start and determining what services are the right fit for you. Your designated ASAP could help. An ASAP, or Aging Services Access Point, is just that…a Point of Access to available Aging Services. There are 26 ASAPs, covering every city and town in Massachusetts. These are private, non-profit, state-designated agencies under contract with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide seniors and caregivers with access to a variety of programs and services.
Trained Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists as well as Options Counselors are available, free of charge, to field calls. I&R Specialists ask questions to assess the callers’ needs. They aim to help the caller understand their situations and empower them to make informed decisions about possible solutions. They have a vast knowledge of available resources, as well as the cost and qualifying criteria associated with the services. They conduct preliminary screenings to determine eligibility for subsidized home care, family caregiver support, and/or home delivered meals. The caller will be asked questions about their age, physical limitations, diagnoses and income. If a caller is seeking more than a phone call, Options Counselors are available to provide a more in depth 1:1 phone or in person meeting.
After the initial call, a meeting is scheduled for an intake assessment. From there, the senior has a Care Manager who helps coordinate their service plan and is their go-to person if their needs change. At any point in the process, referrals to other agencies can be made, in lieu of or in addition to, ASAP services. Each ASAP researches and maintains a directory of reputable community resources and are able to guide callers in the appropriate direction. ASAPs subscribe to the “no wrong door policy” and assist individuals living with a disability by directing them to appropriate agencies.
To reach the Aging Services Access Point that serves your city or town, call 1-800-AGE-INFO or visit www.800ageinfo.com.
This article was submitted by Debbie Fradkin, Community Relations Manager, HESSCO, the ASAP covering South Norfolk County, and may be reached at 781-784-4944 or DFradkin@verizon.net