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October 2011

Elders Helped With Health and Home Care

A Selfhelp Legal Advocate visits the home of an 86-year-old client who lives in Brooklyn. Selfhelp was able to get her full-time home care.

In these uncertain economic times, it’s more important than ever to help those who are hit the hardest and have no safety net, including many of our seniors.

If an elderly woman, who lives alone and on a fixed income, gets sick and has to pay for medication, she may be forced to choose between spending money on groceries, health, or home. While she may be eligible for government assistance, she might not know how to apply—or even know that it exists, often prompting a succession of unfortunate events, such as illness or eviction. Better information and one-on-one help can stabilize her situation.

SelfHelp Community Services helps seniors maintain their independence by providing legal services, with a focus on getting their health and home care needs met. With a $100,000 grant in 2008, SelfHelp was able to continue to provide legal services for seniors such as document preparation and full representation at legal hearings. They also educate seniors and their families on the intricacies of health care benefits for seniors, while advocating to change public policies that affect poor seniors adversely.

Two hundred elderly couples received financial assistance that allowed them to stay in their homes, rather than ending up in nursing homes and potentially separated. The program ran 20 consumer-education programs that were attended by approximately 700 elders. It provided lawyers for 380 elders who were denied Medicaid payments for home care. In this financial climate, our seniors need all the assistance they can get and with a new grant of $50,000, the people at SelfHelp will continue doing just that.

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